Insight Turkey
Insight Turkey
Challenging ideas
On Turkish politics and International affairs


Ali Çarkoğlu

Koç University, Turkey
Ali Çarkoğlu
Change and Continuity in Turkey’s June 2018 Elections
October 1, 2018
In this paper, we first present a background to the watershed elections of 2018, describing the context preceding the elections. In order to explain the changes and continuities in the geographic patterns of the 2018 elections, we present ballot-box and district level data from 2018 and previous elections. We refer to long-term ideological/cultural differences as well as short-term evaluations about security and the economy in shaping the 2018 election results. Even in the face of various important developments, radical changes in the geographic voting patterns do not appear to have taken place. The incumbent AK Party and its leader, President Erdoğan, continued to have an electoral edge over competitors in regions that mostly overlap with those observed in earlier elections.
Election Storm in Turkey: What do the Results of June and November 2015 Elections Tell Us?
October 1, 2015
This article analyzes the two general elections in 2015 that followed the local and presidential elections a year earlier. These elections illustrate how a predominant party builds its electoral base, loses, and then recovers votes to consolidate its support base. We demonstrate geographical patterns of voting across the country to illustrate how the electoral scene shifted in less than four months. We discuss the power and limitations of performance politics as a force that shapes electoral outcomes in contexts where security concerns override concerns about economic and social policy performance. We argue that lacking or diminished influence of performance politics is inherently harmful for Turkish democracy and given the divided nature of the electorate a consensus building approach to policy reform and constitution writing is more likely to succeed.
One Down, Two More to Go: Electoral Trends in the Aftermath of the March 2014 Municipality Elections
April 1, 2014
The March 2014 local elections in Turkey did not drastically alter electoral balances in Turkey. The AK Party maintained its predominant position, despite loosing some electoral support. The opposition gained some support but not enough to challenge the incumbent party’s tenure. Despite apparent gains for the CHP, it appears that the most significant vote increase was obtained by the nationalist MHP. Yet, both opposition parties remain far from imposing a credible challenge to the AK Party in future elections. These results are likely to lure PM Erdoğan into running for president. Such a decision is likely to further polarize the country and result in negative electoral campaigns for the presidential elections.
Turkey’s 2011 General Elections: Towards a Dominant Party System?
July 1, 2011
Since 2002, the Turkish electoral environment and the party system have been undergoing a significant transformation. The Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, AKP) has continued to increase its electoral support for a third time in a row. The declining volatility and fractionalization in the election results together with the expanding geographical base of AKP electoral support may be taken as signs of the emergence of a dominant party system in Turkey. This article offers a descriptive account of the election results and links those results to the literature on the dominant party system. A discussion on the implications of this new development for the evolution of Turkish party system, Turkish political landscape and future elections concludes the article.
Turkey’s Local Elections of 2009: Winners and Losers
April 1, 2009
This article presents a descriptive account of the March 2009 local elections in Turkey and offers a nation-wide and regional evaluation of trends in Turkish elections since 2004. The results of these analyses suggest that, although the AKP’s rise in support has stalled, it remains the dominant political party in Turkish politics. However, a regionally differentiated analysis shows that significant differences can be observed between the more developed western coastal regions, where the opposition parties received a lot of support, and the eastern and southeastern provinces, where parties that represent the ethnic Kurdish minority have seen rising support. In between these two areas, the AKP continues to dominate in the more conservative provinces, followed by the MHP. The article emphasizes the worsening economic conditions as the main factor that shaped these developments, and underlines the geographically advantageous positioning of the MHP which may mount a credible opposition to the AKP in the future.

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