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RELATED RESOURCES: DEMOCRACY
Justice and Development Party (Turkey)
Established in 2001, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) in Turkey is arguably the most successful Islamically-inspired democratic party in the world. Strongly pro-Western, the AKP advocates Turkish membership in the EU and has made enormous efforts to conform to Western standards of liberty and democracy, such as easing restrictions on Kurdish cultural expression, increasing press freedom, and putting the military under civilian control. Though religiously very moderate, the AKP opposes Turkey's dominant paradigm of Kemalist secularism and supports women’s right to wear head scarves if they choose to do so; concurrently, it strongly favors the rights of women, including their right to play an active role in politics. Generally supportive of free-market economy, the party's economic policies have been very successful in controlling Turkey's hyperinflation and have earned it strong support among the middle class. Prime Minister Tayyip Recip Erdogan has been the AKP chairman since 2003.