The Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) more than 13 years rule has ushered in a debate as to whether the AK Party has become a “dominant party” and if so, whether Turkey is experiencing a new type of party system, a dominant-party system. In this article, we first attempt to denote the terms ‘dominant party’ and ‘dominant-party system,’ and to shed light on the distinction between these two terms by drawing on the works of Duverger, Sartori, Pempel, and Greene. This article will then analyse Turkey’s experience under the AK Party to determine whether the AK Party can aptly be categorized as a “dominant party,” and Turkey as having a “dominant-party system.” Relying primarily on Greene’s conceptual framework, we contend that it is safe to denote the AK Party as a dominant party and to designate Turkey’s political system as a “dominant party system.”
The context of and the meaning conferred upon the local elections led it to be fought in a referandum-like atmosphere. Prior to the March 30 local elections, various scenarios put forward both for the governing AK Party and the opposition parties, which largely remained unfulfilled on the elections day. As the local elections is over, a sound analysis of the election’s context, results, and possible implications is warranted. Despite the rapid and dramatic transformation that Turkey has undergone over the last decade, particularly since 2007, no such dramatic shift in the voters’ behaviors has occurred. This article argues that this is because of the dominance of the identity-politics, over all other issues, that shaped the content and context of the elections. It further claims insofar as this dominance continues to prevail over other concerns in the elections, no major change should be expected in the voters’ inclinations and behaviors.
Although a lot has been said about the Gezi protests, analyses of the events consistently failed on two particular issues. First, in their efforts to analyze the dynamics behind the protests, analysts failed to distinguish the immediate triggers of the demonstrations from the more rooted causes of discontent. Second, the diverse and transforming makeup of the protesters was overlooked. The underlying assumption was that Gezi protesters were a homogenous group even as the crowds increased during the course of the demonstrations. This article offers an alternative perspective in analyzing the makeup and the motivation of the protesters.
The Kurdish question in Turkey has a long history which was viewed within the framework of nation building, integration and underdevelopment until it was perceived as a security issue with the emergence of the PKK in the 1980s. During the 1990s, dominated by the security perspective, the scope of the question was reduced to terrorist acts alone under a state of emergency rule. A number of changes transformed the nature of question, such as the Kurdish political movement since the 1990s, forced migration, the capture of PKK leader Abdullah Öcalan in 1999 and the emergence of autonomous Kurdish government in northern Iraq. A permanent settlement of the Kurdish question must be based on developing new and alternative, strategies vis-à-vis existing policies. In this context, a comprehensive package of measures should include not only security measures, but more importantly democratic reforms and economic investments.