Why do the armed forces sometimes intervene in politics via short-lived coup d’états, at other times establish or support authoritarian regimes, and in some cases come under the democratic control of civilians? To find answers, Yaprak Gürsoy examines four episodes of authoritarianism, six periods of democracy, and ten short-lived coups in Greece and Turkey, and applies her resultant theory to four more recent military interventions in Thailand and Egypt.
Based on more than 150 interviews with Greek and Turkish elites, Gürsoy offers a detailed analysis of both countries from the interwar period to recent regime crises. She argues officers, politicians, and businesspeople prefer democracy, authoritarianism, or short-lived coups depending on the degree of threat they perceive to their interests from each other and the lower classes. The power of elites relative to the opposition, determined in part by the coalitions they establish with each other, affects the success of military interventions and the consolidation of regimes.
With historical and theoretical depth, Between Military Rule and Democracy will interest students of regime change and civil-military relations in Greece, Turkey, Thailand, and Egypt, as well as in countries facing similar challenges to democratization.
“Between Military Rule and Democracy is a pioneering study in the sense that there exists no comparative-historical study of the same level of historical depth and theoretical sophistication which tries to uncover the complex trajectories of democratization and authoritarian reversals in the Southeastern periphery of Europe.”
—Ziya Önis, Koç University
“Between Military Rule and Democracy goes beyond many of the other treatments of militaries in politics by making a well-supported argument concerning factors that influence the actions of militaries in various situations . . . It thus makes an interesting contribution to the literature on democratization and authoritarianism as well as providing very well-documented case studies of the actions of militaries in two countries where they have played an important role over time.”
—Sharon Wolchik, George Washington University
“This is an authoritative work, both in its command of the theoretical literature on civil-military relations, regime changes, and democratic consolidation, and in its treatment of the case studies. It makes an important contribution to the field of comparative politics generally, and to scholarship on the recent political histories of Greece and Turkey in particular.”
—Sabri Sayari, Sabanci University, Istanbul