In 1993, Piotr Sztompka stated that some post-Soviet societies were doomed to suffer from “civilizational incompetence.” The key argument was that the vision of a golden past acts as a deterrence mechanism against the future. Modernization is resisted not because of its dangers but because there is an idealized (and ultimately utopic) past to which societies aim to return. Naturally, it is impossible to return to a state of affairs in which the current sociopolitical environment did not exist. The current essay attempts to prove the need for and utility of looking to the concept of civilizational incompetence to read Turkish contemporary affairs. In that regard, the hybridization of Recep Tayyip Erdogan's regime, which strengthens republican power at the same time as it captures and instrumentalizes Ottoman glamour, can be perceived as a symptom of civilizational incompetence.

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