Conservative democracy

Conservative democracy (Turkish: muhafazakâr demokrasi) is a label coined by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of Turkey to describe Islamic democracy.[1][2][3][4][5] Forming as a modernist breakaway party from former Islamist movements, the AKP's conservative democratic ideology has been described as a departure from or moderation of Islamic democracy and the endorsement of more secular and democratic values. The electoral success and the neo-Ottoman foreign policy of the AKP that aims to broaden Turkey's regional influence has led to the party's conservative democratic ideals to be mirrored in other countries, such as by the Justice and Development Party in Morocco and the Ennahda Movement in Tunisia.[6][7][8]

In its broadest sense, the term conservative democracy highlights the compatibility of Islam with democracy, a Western-oriented foreign policy, neoliberal economics and secularism within government.[7][9] Since the view has been reflected in several economic, foreign, domestic and social policy initiatives, the term conservative democracy has been referred to as a floating signifier that encompasses a broad coalition of ideas.[10] In contrast, and because of its broad definition, the term has also been accused of being a red herring designed to conceal a hidden Islamist agenda but maintain public support.[11]

The main ideals of conservative democracy are best identified when they are compared to the Islamist ideology advocated by the AKP's preceding parties.[12] A substantial contrast between the two exist, for example, on their position regarding the European Union, Israel, the United States, economic policy, and to a lesser extent social policy.