Neither socio-economic development nor cultural enrichment, if taken in isolation, can guarantee the irreversibility of democratic regimes. Even when democratic values are deeply rooted democratic regimes cannot indefinitely withstand persistent failures in socio-economic performance. On the other hand, where such values are strongly implanted, the capacity to withstand socio-economic stress is higher. In the final analysis, it is both culture and affluence together that allow for the sustained and stable growth of democracy. This is why democracy is a rarity and a “miracle” that first took root in northwestern Europe, where culture was indeed enjoined to affluence. 1 What has been called a “miracle” in western Europe is called a “model” in the case of Turkey. In the context of the Middle East the success of secular democracy in Turkey is exceptional; from a western European perspective the record is checkered. How exceptional, then, is Turkish democracy if judged by its own standards?