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Title: The emergence and consolidation of the AKP and its impact on Turkish politics and society
Author: Bermek, Sevinç
ISNI:       0000 0004 2748 9993
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis concerns the current ruling party, the AKP (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi - Justice and Development Party) in Turkey. Its aim is to examine the emergence and consolidation of the AKP, as well as to determine whether or not this has shaped the evolution of the party system in Turkey. This research draws on a qualitative research approach, through interviews with 36 key informants from political parties, NGOs, grassroots organizations and through gathering data in the literature produced by parties and other statutory and voluntary agencies, as well as through the collection of descriptive statististics related to socio-economic structures, migration, occupational categories, macroeconomic indicators and collections of election surveys. The finding reveal that the AKP did not emerge as an Islamist party, but because of its promises of economic stability and growth, and of further integration into the EU and USA-led global order. The thesis shows that more so than its religious discourse, the AKP’s electoral success was based on the party’s adapting a hybrid, progressive and pro-EU position during its first tenure in government. Second, this research demonstrates how the political conjuncture up to 2002 and long-term economic factors provided favourable circumstances for the AKP’s emergence. The study’s findings also reveal that the consolidation of the AKP is mainly attributable to its economic and social agenda, and the utilization of the public purse and other state resources (e.g. social and health care benefits) as a means of catering for its target constituencies. In addition, they demonstrate that once AKP’s consolidation was completed (2010) the party’s discourse gradually became more conservative and nationalist, giving way to more authoritarian policies. Nonetheless, as long as economic performance and conditions remain unchanged, the AKP continues to appeal to its social base. Consequently, this thesis demonstrates that the gradual drift in Turkish society towards moderate Islamic and traditional values was not the main factor in the AKP’s rise to power. Rather, this shift can be viewed as the feedback effect of the consolidation of the AKP process into societal structures and norms. Hence, this work highlights the AKP’s impact on the structure of the party-system and the role of its policies in transforming Turkish society. Lastly, this study contributes to the foundation upon which further research on Turkish politics and the party system can continue, by exploring the dual effect of the AKP’s ruling tenure: factors leading to the AKP’s emergence and its feedback into Turkish society and politics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: JQ Political institutions (Asia ; Africa ; Australia ; Pacific Area ; etc.)