This essay examines the impact of Turkey’s growing international links to China, Russia, and other non-Western powers on democratic backsliding by the administration of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The essay finds that China’s and Russia’s growing engagement with Turkey since the middle of the first decade of the 2000s, coupled with Turkey’s stalled bid for European Union membership, played an important role in deleveraging Western democratizing influence on Turkey. This shift in the international balance opened a window of opportunity for the Erdogan administration to engage in backsliding activities and proved to be a more significant driver for backsliding than other common predictors.

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