Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

National Elections in Turkey: People, Politics, and the Party System

Academic journal article Middle East Quarterly

National Elections in Turkey: People, Politics, and the Party System

Article excerpt

National Elections in Turkey: People, Politics, a nd the Party System. By F. Michael Wuthrich. Syracuse: Syracuse University Press, 2015. 376 pp. $49.95.

Wuthrich of the University of Kansas presents a useful analysis of Turkey's democratic electoral history, which essentially began in 1950 after decades of oneparty rule under the Kemalist Republican People's Party (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi, CHP). For Turkey's opposition parties, whose votes seem more or less stuck in neutral since the Islamist Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi, AKP) came to power in 2002, his research is indispensable.

Wuthrich examines the rhetoric employed in contemporary campaigns, examining party election manifestos and campaign speeches as well as strategies deployed for collecting votes. He analyzes how today's political parties compete for votes and how the electorate is actually orienting itself within the current political environment. Without neglecting the importance of identity and in-group/out-group categorizations in voting, Wuthrich's research finds that those identities, including religious/secular, Turki sh/Kurdish, and Sunni/Alevi divisions, have often been secondary concerns for the general electorate; more important concerns are bread-and-butter economic issues, unemployment, or anything beyond "identity. …

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