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This article draws attention to some surprising similarities between the recent political trajectories of Turkey and Thailand in order to argue that international norms strongly shape domestic cleavage formations. The timing and the manner of incorporation of particular states into the international system affects not only their political and economic development, but also the way various domestic groups see their mission, their identity, and their opposition. In both Turkey and Thailand, what development has brought is neither the opposition between traditional status groups and the market generated social forces, nor the tradition/religion-based opposition to modernization and democracy that is typically assumed to mark developing societies. What we find in both cases instead is a modernization-generated statist/bureaucratic social middle class that justifies its skepticism of democratization on the basis of norms upheld by the international society itself.