Avoiding fallout from terrorist attacks: the role of local politics and governments

Arı, Emine and Bayer, Reşat and Kemahlıoğlu, Özge and Kural, Ece (2022) Avoiding fallout from terrorist attacks: the role of local politics and governments. Journal of Peace Research . ISSN 0022-3433 (Print) 1460-3578 (Online) Published Online First https://dx.doi.org/10.1177/00223433221126715

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Even though violent attacks resulting in civilian fatalities can be seen as constituting failure on the part of the incumbent party to provide security to citizens, governments are not always punished electorally. Rather, at times, they appear to gain votes following terrorist attacks. Here we argue that political parties that can take advantage of their local presence to frame and communicate their narrative in response to terrorism, can better manage to avoid blame and even to emerge victorious in times of violent conflict. The AKP in Turkey is one such important example. Our statistical analyses of municipality-level aggregate election results show that the party not only maintained national incumbency, but even strengthened its predominance in the political system in the face of growing security threats. In municipalities where AKP controlled the local government and hence municipal resources, the party did not lose votes following terrorist attacks. This finding remains even when we consider past voting, regional variations, competitive districts, and ethnicity. Our argument that incumbents can avoid punishment through their capacity to reach out to voters at the local level is also supported by individual-level survey data and the comparison with neighboring municipalities. As such, we highlight how local government control can be consequential for national politics, including periods when security dominates the national agenda.
Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: accountability; elections; incumbency; public opinion; terrorism
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Academic programs > International Studies
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences > Academic programs > Political Science
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Depositing User: Özge Kemahlıoğlu
Date Deposited: 09 Apr 2023 20:16
Last Modified: 09 Apr 2023 20:16
URI: https://research.sabanciuniv.edu/id/eprint/45322

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