In the absence of a politically influential aristocracy and the entrepreneurial middle class, the political and economic transformations in Republican Turkey have been the handiwork of the political elites. Thus, late Dankwart A. Rustow talked of the cultural revolution of Atatürk, the democratic revolution of İsmet İnönü, and the economic revolution of Turgut Özal. The first two transformations were top-down revolutions and have not had a considerable impact on the social and economic stratification in the country. In contrast, with the Özal revolution a new entrepreneurial middle class began to flourish. Furthermore, during the current Recep Tayyip Erdoğan period, the peripheral social groups led by the entrepreneurial middle class have become influential players in Turkish polity.
The title of this book is a misnomer: the title should have been “The Republican People Party and Kemalism” for the book aims to unravel why this leftist political party in Turkey has consistently garnered a number of votes less than centre-right political parties have, and this failure is attributed to the party’s close relationship with Kemalism rather than with the genuine left.