The evolution of conventional political participation in Turkey
Kalaycıoğlu, Ersin (2020) The evolution of conventional political participation in Turkey. In: Tezcür, Güneş Murat, (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Turkish Politics. Oxford University Press, Oxford, England. ISBN 9780190064891
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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780190064891.013.19
This chapter provides an explanatory framework of conventional political participation in Turkey. One core institution of democracy that seems to have withstood, to some extent, all the erosive influences upon it in Turkish politics has been the elections. Voters seem to be highly inclined to vote even when the standards of fairness of elections suffered in the last few years. Populist authoritarian practices of the 2010s in Turkey seem not to have diminished the importance of competitive elections, while the voter turnout continued to stay very high at over 80 percent in most elections, which is unprecedented among European, North American, and East Asian countries. At the same time, other forms of political participation, including contacting authorities and campaigning remain low. A comparative study of conventional political participation since the 1970s, promises to provide us insight into the nature of conventional participation in Turkish politics. Using statistical analyses, data collected through the Turkish Election Studies and International Social Survey Program annual surveys are analyzed to chart the evolution of different forms of political participation and the role of sociopolitical, cultural, and economic factors in shaping these forms. Survey research conducted since the 1970s indicate that under the influence of changing political opportunity structure and increasing political resources, not only voting turnout but also campaign related activism, mass–elite contacts, and participation in discussions to solve social, communal problems have also increased in the last four decades in Turkey.
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