The results of the 2002 general election in Turkey came as a powerful shock to multifarious circles both within and outside the country. There were deep concerns that the ‘moderate’ Islamic-oriented Justice and Development Party (AKP) might try to dismantle the very bases of the secular state. Fifteen years of AKP rule have displayed four distinctively different periods: (1) Normalization and reinstitution of civil governance (2002–2007); (2) Methodological transition (2007–2009); (3) Consolidation of power-base (2009–2011); and (4) De-secularization, de-democratization, re-securitization and shift to authoritarianism (2011–2016). Drawing upon the ‘competitive authoritarianism’ literature and the concept of ‘instrumentalization of democracy,’ this article will elaborate the above points as well as the intrinsic Islamist mindset of the AKP. Use of foreign policy as an instrument of legitimation of Islamist policies and anti-secular transformation will also be examined.