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The Economic Context of Turkey’s June and November 2015 Elections

This article argues that the economic context of June 7th and November 1st general elections differed to a great extent. First, while the economy was central in the June elections, its prominence was shadowed in November by rising security concerns. Second, while Turkey’s macroeconomic indicators were pretty unpromising prior to the June elections, increasing growth figures before November, with the help of the AK Party’s presentation of it, revived the public’s optimism about the AK Party’s economic performance. Third, in the June elections, the opposition parties plied the electorate with positive economic messages. The AK Party avoided this trend in June but joined the populist camp after seeing the voters’ positive reactions to economic promises. These three differences between the economic contexts of the June and November elections made the AK Party more appealing to voters in November.

The Economic Context of Turkey s June and November 2015
A view from Yavuz Sultan Selim Bridge, the third Bosphorus Bridge, planned to be finished in 2017. AA PHOTO / UMUT ÖZGAN
 

Introduction 

The recent June 7th and November 1st general elections in Turkey let us witness a great change in the electoral decisions of the Turkish public in a time span as short as five months. The incumbent AK Party received 40.87 percent of the overall valid votes in the June elections –a 9 point fall 
compared to its performance in the previous general elections of 2011. With these results, the AK Party lost its privilege to form a single party government for the first time since 2002. The party had come to power with the 3 November 2002 general elections and had increased its votes for the following two general elections in 2007 and 2011. Hence, the June elections of 2015 were extraordinary for the public, who were used to seeing the AK Party’s easy wins in terms of the distribution of parliamentary seats and the consolidation of its dominant party position over time.1

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