Thursday, 06 August 2015

Mahçupyan: Renewal is Necessary if the AKP Does not Want to Become a Classic, Sunni Identity Party

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Etyen Mahçupyan in Akşam writes that the AKP’s main voters groups are two: The first consists of Sunni and nationalist, poorly educated, low-income men in the suburbs of the cities. These are categorically supportive of Erdoğan. The second section is the new middle class bourgeoisie of the medium sized cities. The two groups are roughly equal in size and can in total be said to make up thirty percent of society. On the other hand, if urbanization, the growth of the middle class, cultural mixing and the reformist character of the party is taken into account, we can measure that AKP’s potential reaches 55 percent. The thing is that this additional 25 percent is grouped around four different identities.  8 percentage points come from the Kurds, but with the recent election, these points seem to have gone down to 3 percentage points. The second section is the conservative nationalists, suspended between the MHP and the AKP, and accounts roughly for 5 points. However, the remaining 12 point section is maybe what AKP should concentrate on when it looks ahead into the future. We can assume that this group is divided into equal halves. The first section consists of urban, well-educated, mid-income (or above), white collar conservative families… The second section meanwhile is roughly made up of what we could call “democrats,” individualist intellectuals who have extra-religious identities. In this context, three notions come to the forefront: Rationality, legitimacy and ethics. If AKP does not want to become a classic Sunni identity party, it needs to accord due importance to these three criteria and renew itself in their light.

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The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.

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