Linkage, Leverage, and Authoritarianism: An Overview of the Collapse of Turkey's EU Membership Prospect

Cop B., Kılıçdaroğlu K.

SAGE OPEN, vol.11, no.3, 2021 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 11 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1177/21582440211040783
  • Journal Name: SAGE OPEN
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, ERIC (Education Resources Information Center), Directory of Open Access Journals
  • Keywords: leverage, linkage to the west, Turkey, authoritarianism, AKP, DEMOCRACY PROMOTION, GOVERNANCE
  • TED University Affiliated: Yes


The effects of the linkage and the leverage over countries that either go through a democratic transition or further advance on the democratization path have been widely discussed by comparative democratization scholars. Western leverage designates governments' level of vulnerability in the face of foreign pressure for democratization, while linkage is meant to be the intensity of the connections and the cross-border streams between a democratizing country and the Western world. It is generally acknowledged that the linkage is a more determinative factor than the leverage. On the contrary, the authoritarian shifts of many countries that took place during the first two decades of the 21st century challenged the optimistic and deterministic role assigned to linkage. Turkey is a noteworthy example in this regard since the intensity of its linkage to Europe could not compensate the negative effects of a declining leverage over Turkish democratization since 2006. The argument that linkage matters more than leverage does not apply to Turkey. The evolution of domestic political regimes in European Union candidate countries in parallel with their accession processes constitutes separate cases differing from one another. Turkey is not only a separate case for its part, but also a unique one.