NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- The Turkish stock market has had a difficult 2013 to say the least, but it could be downright rosy compared to 2014, as investors in Turkish stocks may be underestimating the potential for serious political shocks to the country.
"Although a meltdown on Egyptian lines is implausible, a transition to Islamic authoritarianism is not," writes Christopher de Bellaigue in the latest issue of The New York Review of Books.
Noting that "many Egyptian Islamists now associate democracy with pain, humiliation and death," and that "the prospect of a democratic Syria has in any case long since disappeared behind the blood and smoke," de Bellaigue argues Turkey -- the country where Democracy and Islam have done the best job of living side by side -- is under serious threat.
The writer points to widespread unrest earlier this year that began with protests over plans to turn Gezi Park -- a small public space in Istanbul -- into a shopping center. Three and a half million people, or more than 4% of the population, took part in 5,000 demonstrations. The culprit, according to de Bellaigue, a journalist who writes frequently about Turkey and spent several years living there, is prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The Turkish leader has shown less and less tolerance for dissent, jailing journalists with impunity and alienating the country's Alevi and Kurdish minorities.
De Bellaigue's article suggests Turkey will see increasing tumult ultimately leading to ever more severe crackdowns.
Most investors in Turkey presumably don't read The New York Review of Books, and it isn't clear they are giving enough thought to Turkey's politics.