With Recep Tayip Erdogan, the AKP has dominated the party landscape since 2002. It is a further development and separation of Islamist predecessor parties (e.g. Refah Partisi, Fazilet Partisi and Necmettin Erbakan). In the marginal districts of the big cities, they initially recruited their voters less through theological discussions than through pragmatic support and infrastructural improvements. You see yourself as a conservative party that combines democracy and religion. Her economically liberal, market-oriented orientation earned her a large following in religious business circles and the entire middle class. In the course of the first accession negotiations to the EU, extensive advances were made in relation to democratization and minority rights, for example achieved for Kurds and Christians. The reform engine is currently at a standstill, observers see fundamental rights of freedom of expression and freedom of the press severely restricted, the rule of law of the procedures in the wake of the coup and the flare-up Kurdish conflict increasingly critical. From the AKP’s point of view, these measures are indispensable for protecting the state and democracy. Long confessed AKP explicitly on Turkey’s entry into the EU. Today the political rhetoric is definitely in the direction of not pushing the admission any further. The discussion about the reintroduction of the death penalty is likely to put the negotiations to the test again.
Issues such as environmental protection and sustainability are less of a focus than the country’s economic growth. The economic prosperity has arrived in the general population, and therefore finds the ACP broad popular support.
Critics accuse the AKP of occupying all levels of administration and the state apparatus with their own followers. Furthermore, representatives of the Kemalist camp see the policy of the AKP as an affront to the state myth of Ataturk and thus as a leveraging of elementary principles. The restriction of the military’s powers is not seen as an act of democratic approximation to European standards, but as a method to undermine the secular foundation of the state and to clear the way for a transformation into a strongly religious state. Urban educated elites are bothered by the origin of the AKP leadership, who often come from simple, rural families with no academic educational background, by whom they do not want to see themselves represented.
According to dentistrymyth, the CHP is the oldest party in Turkey and was founded by Ataturk in 1923. She sees herself as the guardian of his legacy and his principles of “secularism and republicanism”. It has long been the driving force behind modernization and Europeanization. In the last few decades it has shown itself to be a reservoir for elites close to the state and pursued a policy of blockade against the ruling party. Democratic reforms initiated by the AKP, such as an initiative to change the centralized administrative system and greater participation of local structures, were boycotted in order to prevent AKP influence. The initiative to resolve the Kurdish question was seen as an attack on national foundations. The Alevit Kemal Kilicdarogluhas been its chairman since 2010 and replaced Deniz Baykal, who had to give up his post due to a scandal. With him a turn to social democratic issues such as democracy, freedom, solidarity, egalitarianism has taken place. This was shown in the 2015 election manifesto, which included topics such as the expansion of democracy as a condition for the transition to a knowledge society and raised efforts to strengthen social justice and fundamental rights.
The CHP is currently in a clinch with the ruling AKP. While it expressly condemned the coup and saw it as an attack on democracy, the CHP describes the mass arrests and dismissals as a counter-coup and means of repression by the state in order to eliminate opposition forces and unpleasant government critics.
In the 2018 presidential and parliamentary elections, she ran with Muharrem Ince as the top candidate. His charisma and rhetoric delighted the followers. A decision will be made about the next party chairmanship soon.
The HDP (Democratic Party of the Peoples) is a young party that first came into the general public eye across the country in the 2015 parliamentary election campaign. It has its roots and main issues in the southeast of the country and sees itself on the one hand as the political voice of the Kurdish question. On the other hand, it is also about a general democratization of the country. Thus, it has its voter potential not only in the Kurdish population, but also attracts votes from left camps and members of activist groups that have formed in connection with the Gezi protests. According to its statutes, it is a “party of all the oppressed and exploited, the marginalized, women, workers, LGBTs, intellectuals, writers and scientists”.
The chairmanship was formed by a dual leadership of Selahattin Demirtas and Figen Yüksekdag. The party list for the election consisted of 50% women and represented numerous minority groups such as Alevis, Syrian Christians, Kurds and the like.
Selahattin Demirtas was already running as a candidate for Recep Tayip Erdogan in the course of the election for president. There he achieved a respectable result. However, the party succeeded in the surprise coup in the June 2015 election when it overcame the 10% hurdle with just under 13% and now entered parliament. She also made it into parliament again in the November elections.
After a wave of renewed attacks by the PKK, immunity proceedings were suspended for numerous HDP members of parliament in May 2016. The accusation was a lack of demarcation from the PKK or support for a terrorist organization. Critics see it as a measure by the AKP to weaken the opposition and pave the way for a presidential democracy. In the meantime, 12 HDP MPs have been arrested, including the two chairmen Demirtas and Yüksekdag. In February 2018, Pervin Buldan and Sirri Süreyya Önder were elected as new chairmen.
The MHP was founded in 1969 by Alparslan Türkes, a general of the 1960 coup. It combines strong right-wing extremist and ultra-nationalist positions with anti-Western polemics. The West and the US are believed to weaken and humiliate Turkey. In 2002 the gray wolves moved. This is how its members are called, with a dedicated anti-EU membership program in the election campaign. Their followers are mostly male and come from a low level of education. Its current chairman is Devlet Bahceli. Attacks and assassinations, for example on Hrant Dink, the Armenian publisher of the Agos newspaper, are justified ideologically by the perpetrators with MHP slogans. The party headquarters does not call for violence, but it does not distance these atrocities either. The MHP entered into an electoral alliance with the AKP in 2018, and is considered a reliable partner of the ruling AKP on domestic and foreign policy issues.
The yi Parti was founded in October 2017 Meral Akşener. It is a split from the nationalist MHP after a falling out with Chairman Devlet Bahceli. The “good party” stands for hope, justice, courage, determination, information, civilization, future and wealth – so the rays of the sun from the party logo. Aksener spoke out in favor of maintaining the parliamentary system and insisted on the independence of the judiciary. She warned about freedom of the press, like lowering the threshold clause to 5% for entry into parliament.
If there had been a government participation, a negotiation of the Alevi demands for equality would have been the task as well as the clarification of the “East and Southeast Question ” – militarily and with development programs. This differs from the CHP. As a secular party, it distinguishes itself clearly from the AKP, but is less nationalistic than the MHP.