Anti-populist coups d’état in the twenty-first century: Reasons, Dynamics and Consequences

Toygar Sinan Baykan, Yaprak Gursoy*, Pierre Ostiguy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is a burgeoning literature on how to deal with populism in advanced liberal democracies, which puts a strong emphasis on legalist and pluralist methods. There is also a new and expanding literature that looks at the consequences of coups d’état for democracies by employing large-N data sets. These two recent literatures, however, do not speak to one another, based on the underlying assumption that coups against populists were a distinctly twentieth-century Latin American phenomenon. Yet the cases of Venezuela in 2002, Thailand in 2006 and Turkey in 2016 show that anti-populist coups have also occurred in the twenty-first century. Focussing on these cases, the article enquires about the extent to which military coups succeed against populists. The main finding is that although anti-populist coups may initially take over the government, populism survives in the long run. Thus, anti-populist coups fail in their own terms and they do not succeed in eradicating populism. In fact, in the aftermath of a coup, populism gains further legitimacy against what it calls repressive elites, while possibilities for democratisation are further eroded. This is because populists tap into existing socio-cultural divides and politically mobilise the hitherto underrepresented sectors in their societies that endure military interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-811
Number of pages19
JournalThird World Quarterly
Issue number4
Early online date27 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2021

Bibliographical note

This is an Accepted Manuscript version of the following article, accepted for publication in Third World Quarterly. Toygar Sinan Baykan, Yaprak Gürsoy & Pierre Ostiguy (2021) Anti-populist coups d’état in the twenty-first century: reasons, dynamics and consequences, Third World Quarterly. It is deposited under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • Thailand
  • Turkey
  • Venezuela
  • civil–military relations
  • populism


Dive into the research topics of 'Anti-populist coups d’état in the twenty-first century: Reasons, Dynamics and Consequences'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this