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National Elections in Turkey

People, Politics, and the Party System

F. Michael Wuthrich

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Sozialwissenschaften, Recht, Wirtschaft / Politikwissenschaft


What determines voting behavior in Turkey? At a time when the center-right, religious-conservative leadership of the Justice and Development Party has dominated government and the political scene in Turkey—so much so that the democratic credentials of the regime have come into question—many have sought to understand what undergirds this party’s success at the polls. While many scholars have argued that elections in Turkey over time can be effectively and simply explained by static social or cultural cleavages, Wuthrich challenges these assertions with a framework that carefully attends to patterns of strategic vote-getting behavior in elections by political parties and their leaders.
Using the campaign speeches of the political elite, election data at national and provincial levels, and careful observations of voter mobilization strategies across time, Wuthrich traces four distinct patterns that explain important shifts in electoral behavior. He covers the first free and fair multiparty election in 1950 and follows campaign strategies through 2011, highlighting and explaining the potential development of a new and more problematic paradigm emerging in the post-2007 environment.

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voter mobilization, Turkish studies, Middle East studies, politics