Magazine September 26, 2016, Issue

Defining Democracy Down

Islamic Exceptionalism: How the Struggle over Islam Is Reshaping the World, by Shadi Hamid (St. Martin’s Press, 320 pp., $26.99)

On July 15, a cabal of rogue officers attempted to overthrow the Turkish government. Had the putschists been staunch secularists, the bloody fiasco would have confirmed the thesis of author Shadi Hamid’s new book: The failure of democracy to take root in the Islamic world is owing not to the election of Islamists but to the panic their ascent to power prompts among secularists, who react by staging coups.

But these coup plotters were not secularists — or, at least, no one in Turkey thinks they were. What precisely happened is still opaque, but Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, often described

Claire Berlinski — Berlinski is a journalist who lives in Istanbul. She is the author of Menace in Europe: Why the Continent’s Crisis Is America’s, Too, and There Is No Alternative: Why Margaret Thatcher Matters.

In This Issue



Books, Arts & Manners


Politics & Policy


The Wage-Floor Roof of the Working-Class Ghetto Helen Andrews’ review of Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir, by J. D. Vance, in the August 15 issue summarizes Vance’s effort to explain the factors ...
Politics & Policy

The Week

‐ Whoever used that hammer on Hillary’s phones should loan it to Huma Abedin. ‐ Acting as if it were an arm of the Clinton campaign, the FBI dumped the contents ...
Politics & Policy


A MEMORY OF FRANKLIN STREET Heaven surrounded us, all sweetness then, Bright sky and earth, so calm and more than fair; Warm and expansive, welcoming, so when We passed a building it seemed more ...


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