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Between Military Rule and Democracy: Regime Consolidation in Greece, Turkey, and Beyond, Yaprak Gürsoy

Reviewed by Eva Bellin

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Why do some military coups succeed and others fail? Why do some armed interventions give rise to democracies, while others establish authoritarian regimes? These are two of the intriguing questions posed by Yaprak Gürsoy in Between Military Rule and Democracy. To answer them, Gürsoy undertakes a comparative historical analysis of Greece and Turkey—two countries rarely paired for comparison despite such important similarities as their shared Ottoman heritage and their common location on the political and geographic periphery of Europe and the Middle East. The Greece-Turkey comparison provides “4 periods of authoritarianism, 6 periods of democracy, 10 short-lived coups with different degrees of success”—in short, an abundance of regime and coup outcomes that together create a “natural laboratory” for the exploration of competing explanatory hypotheses regarding these phenomena (p. 4).

Gürsoy's theoretical inspiration is drawn from Robert Dahl's canonical work Polyarchy and his argument that democracy is most likely to emerge when elites calculate that the costs of tolerating the opposition outweigh the costs of suppressing it. Gürsoy embraces Dahl's logic but offers to improve upon it by folding in the role of another independent factor—the military and its procli

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