This essay presents the findings of comparative research on democratic transitions by reforma in Greece, Spain, and Turkey but in a framework not previously used and one rather different from the one established in the now-classical study of democratic transitions set by Guillermo O'Donnell and Laurence Whitehead in the 1980s. The departing point of this comparative approach is a case unknown to many: the ill-fated 1973 Greek attempt at self-transformation, known as “the Markezinis experiment” after Spyros Markezinis, who assumed the task of bringing the country to democracy in the way Adolfo Suárez González would do in Spain four years later. The attempt stalled before it was ended by a coup organized by the regime hard-liners tacitly backed by the military as an institution. The cases compared include Spain and Turkey, which underwent similar transitions, but with very different outcomes: consolidated democracy and “difficult democracy,” respectively. The reasons are sought in the different regime natures and elite and counterelite choices.

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