During the Cold War, strategists often turned to game theory to explain deterrence and the concept of mutually assured destruction (MAD). The United States and the Soviet Union, for example, were cast as players in an open-ended PD game, whereby the two sides had an immediate incentive to defect, i.e. launch a first strike, but realized that defecting would invite a devastating second-strike. Thus, the consequences of a nuclear exchange outweighed the payoff associated with a first strike and the two sides opted to cooperate – i.e. not launch first.
In the context of the Erdogan – Gul relationship, I can’t help but think that the two men are locked into a long-term iterated PD game. To start, the AKP faces no political rival. And, in carving out such a large swathe of the electorate they currently face no real political opposition. Absent the threat of a military coup, the AKP…
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