The abortive coup of July 2016 in Turkey was only the latest episode in an intra-elite political conflict. While Turkey was one of the strongholds of the secular left in the developing world, an Islamist ruling party and the marginalization of the traditional left today define Turkish politics. This essay suggests that this development is based on a peculiar blend of marketization and economic inclusion, which I describe as “neoliberal populism.” Its main political consequence has been the atomization of the working class, while it intensifies the conflicts within ruling circles. The result is that politics in the region has become dominated by intra-elite conflicts, displacing the traditional, interclass axis of struggle.

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