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.

Hilal Kaplan in Sabah warns that the cadres of the AKP lack the experience of governing in a coalition. And besides, “inexperience” is not the only problem with the coalition alternative. The party stands to suffer more if it rushes into a coalition out of panic, combined with a feeling of having been bruised by the election result. The risk for the AK Party is that will become an “ordinary” party, if it tries too hard to convince the opposition parties to form a coalition. I’m very surprised by the commentaries in the AK Party friendly press these days; they are almost competing in telling us how good it was that the AK Party lost its majority. Is a coalition that would surprise us if it lasts six months what is going to do the AK Party good? If so, how exactly will it do the AK Party good? I would agree with this idea at least a little bit, if the prospective coalition partners – the CHP and MHP – happened to be opposed to the things that AK Party has been wrong about, and not the things that it has been right about. The CHP opposes the AK Party because it refuses to shake the hand of Syria’s Assad and Egypt’s Sisi. The MHP, meanwhile, is against exploring a peaceful solution of the Kurdish issue. The danger that awaits the AK Party is that it is going to enter a coalition with parties that are the very anti-theses of every one of its own theses, and that it will in the process become equalized with parties the biggest of which received 25 percent of the vote. Such a strategic mistake is going to lead voters looking at AK Party to say “you are now just like any other party.” When that day arrives, niceties like “global legitimacy, reconciliation, grand restoration” are not going to be of any use. 

Orhan Bursalı in Cumhuriyet (July 5) writes that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan does not have any patience whatsoever with enduring four years of a coalition government. Such a government is going to curtail his authority. It does not matter if it is formed with the MHP or the CHP. He is not going to be able to play as he wants with Turkey.  He cannot steer foreign policy. He cannot order the government to enact the laws that he wants. Now, a person who for the last thirteen years has transformed the whole system, including his own party, into a support base for himself, can never accept forfeiting his position as the sole decider. After a brief moment of confusion, he is now in the forefront again and busy planning to reverse the election. For this reason, at the first moment that RTE believes that he can win the elections, he is going to call a snap election. This requires most importantly that the attempts to form a coalition government are fruitless. Or, if a coalition is formed, it will need to be short-lived. Have no doubt; he is going to do absolutely everything in his power to ensure that outcome. A coalition that lasts for four years can only be a nightmare for him. He keeps bringing up the subject of an “election government.” He is warming the voters to the thought. He says that even a coalition with MHP can only be an election government. The question is, what does Davutoğlu think?

Abdülkadir Selvi in Yeni Şafak (July 8) reports that Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu recently hosted a meeting with a group of pro-AKP academics. Those who participated were Alev Alatlı, Professor Şükrü Hanioğlu, Professor Süleyman Seyfi Öğün, Professor Cemil Oktay, Halil Berktay, Professor Erol Göka, Professor Ömer Çaha, Professor Beril Dedeoğlu, Professor Berat Özipek, Professsor Atilla Yayla and Professor Mesut Yeğen. The prime minister pointed out that, as a party that gets votes from all across Turkey, the AK Party is Turkey’s backbone. He says, the AK Party is Turkey’s center party, and asks “What do we need to do in order to preserve its character of being a center party?” He says “We are going to enable a renewal in the AK Party, and renew our party.” One academic asks the prime minister “What did you do to the West to make them target you this much?”  ”We did not do what they wanted us to do,” answers Davutoğlu. Davutoğlu presents a perspective that illuminates his relations with President Erdoğan. He explains, in this context, why he has not provided an appointment to TÜSİAD (The Association of Turkey’s Industrialists and Businessmen) in a long time. “I had not been according a rendezvous to TÜSİAD, because they are attempting to cause a split between me and our president.” After this, he adds, “They will not succeed in causing a split between us and our president.” Davutoğlu makes it felt that Erdoğan is AK Party’s red line. 

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Joint Center Publications

Op-ed Halil Karaveli "The Rise and Rise of the Turkish Right", The New York Times, April 8, 2019

Analysis Halil Karaveli "The Myth of Erdogan's Power"Foreign Policy, August 29, 2018

Analysis Svante E. Cornell, A Road to Understanding in Syria? The U.S. and TurkeyThe American Interest, June 2018

Op-ed Halil Karaveli "Erdogan Wins Reelection"Foreign Affairs, June 25, 2018

Article Halil Karaveli "Will the Kurdish Question Secure Erdogan's Re-election?", Turkey Analyst, June 18, 2018

Research Article Svante E. Cornell "Erbakan, Kisakürek, and the Mainstreaming of Extremism in Turkey", Current Trends in Islamist Ideology, June 2018

Analysis Svante E. Cornell "The U.S. and Turkey: Past the Point of No Return?"The American Interest, February 1, 2018

Op-ed Svante E. Cornell "Erdogan's Turkey: the Role of a Little Known Islamic Poet", Breaking Defense, January 2, 2018

Research Article Halil Karaveli "Turkey's Authoritarian Legacy"Cairo Review of Global Affairs, January 2, 2018


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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