Energy privatisations, business-politics connections and governance under political Islam

Gül Berna Özcan, Umut Gunduz

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The changing connections between business and political Islam under liberalisation can best be studied through an analysis of moral justifications, political connections in business and institutional modifications. Our evidence on energy utility privatisations through a comprehensive analysis of party connections with firm and industry specific data demonstrates that Turkey's Justice and Development Party (AKP) reshaped industry structures to nurture a new breed of politically linked businesses. In order to build a patronage regime in energy markets, the AKP manipulated regulatory institutions, suppressed the media and advocacy groups, and immobilised the judicial process in response to allegations of misconduct. The highly personalised and opaque allocation of assets increased the power of business groups that enjoyed close ties with the prime minister and key party officials. Leading politically connected firms emerged as not only the major beneficiaries but also key supporters of authoritarian politics. Our findings have important implications for the analysis of political Islam, regulatory institutions and the vulnerabilities of energy privatisations in emerging economies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1714-1737
Number of pages24
JournalEnvironment and Planning C: Government and Policy
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015

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