In the months leading up to the local elections on March 30, 2014, Turkey’s political scene set the stage for an unusually intense debate. During this period, various anti-government media outlets expressed their firm belief that the country’s political landscape was on the brink of a major transformation. So strong was their conviction that opposition commentators had begun to speculate that the ruling AK Party government would have no choice but to call for early elections and possibly find itself removed from power. The elections, however, yielded unsurprising results as the balance of power between the political parties remained largely unaltered. Thus, it became clear that the glorified projections were more in line with wishful thinking and pipe dreams rather than real-life facts. As soon as the election results started flowing in, the opposition began sharing anecdotes about the late Aziz Nesin, a secularist writer and humorist who once famously claimed that 60 percent of Turkish citizens were idiots. Timeless classics such as how terribly ignorant the voters were and that the country indeed was suffering from Stockholm syndrome began to quickly circulate around social media outlets.
A Quick Glance at the History of Elections in Turkey
Generally speaking, two traditions – right-wing politics and the Left – have dominated Turkish politics over the years. This study aims to analyze historic election results in order to determine roughly how much popular support each political movement enjoys in the country. Starting from transition to multi-party system in Turkey, one can see the emergence of several ideologies, groups and political parties that appeal to various social classes. Although military interventions caused a rupture in the democratization of the country, there has been a lively political environment with dynamic party politics and elections. During the span of Turkish democracy, a number parties were established and closed. This article examines the trajectory of elections and party perfomances with a special emphasis on ideology and electoral base of the parties.
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