Turkey is becoming increasingly liberal and democratic. In the past two years, Turkey has undertaken the most dramatic economic, political and social reforms since the years following the founding of the Republic in 1923. Motivated largely by the hope of joining the European Union, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government has used its overwhelming parliamentary majority to continue to pass major reform packages started by the previous coalition government. These have reduced the military’s influence in government, established strict laws against torture, abolished the death penalty, repealed curbs on free speech, and allowed Kurds and other ethnic groups to broadcast and set up education programs in their own languages. The AKP government has also expanded previous coalition initiatives to deregulate the economy, simplify the tax code, and put Turkey’s fiscal house in order.