Political parties matter: Explaining peaceful and violent state-Islamist interactions in Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia and Turkey

Kurtoglu-Eskisar G. M.

JAPANESE JOURNAL OF POLITICAL SCIENCE, vol.9, pp.183-207, 2008 (SSCI) identifier identifier


What explains the breakout of violence following the repression of moderate Islamist groups in some Muslim countries? Part of the answer can lie in the political organization style of those groups, which can constrain or expand their long-term strategy choices in unpredicted ways. Using examples from Algeria, Egypt, Indonesia, and Turkey, this study suggests that organizing as apolitical party can initially restrict the means of action otherwise available to a moderate Islamist movement, while the loose framework of a political front reduces its organizational costs and lends remarkable flexibility to attract a wider range of followers. Later, paradoxically, the political party framework can enable limited access of an Islamist group into the political system otherwise completely inaccessible earlier, and help to enhance its power, while political fronts are exposed to attacks from both incumbent regimes and radical Islamists groups alike.