TWINS OR ENEMIES
Volume 6, No. 1 – March 2002
Twins or Enemies: Comparing Nationalist and Islamist Traditions in Turkish Politics
By Birol Akgun
In the last decade, fragile Turkish democracy has witnessed the rise of the two dynamic movements: Right-wing nationalism and religious revivalism. In a comparative perspective, this paper analyzes and explores underlying causes of increasing electoral support given to the Islamist Refah Party or RP (later succeeded by Fazilet or FP) and the right-wing nationalist Milliyetci Hareket Partisi (MHP). First origins, historical evolutions, and ideological roots of both Islamist and Nationalist traditions in Turkey are introduced. Then, the evidence associated with the rise of these parties is presented drawing on public opinion regarding significant political issues, socio-demographic characteristics, and information on geographical bases of these parties. Finally, an assessment is made regarding the future of right-wing parties and democratic consolidation in Turkey.
In recent decades, Turkey?s fragile democracy has witnessed the gradual and steady rise of two right-wing parties: The Islamist Refah or Welfare Party (RP), later succeeded by the Fazilet Party or Virtue Party (FP), and the right-wing nationalist Milliyetci Hareket Partisi or Nationalist Action Party (MHP). Although these two parties existed in the pre-1980 era and even took part in various coalition governments, they were then marginal and parochial political forces.
Scholars suggest that extremist parties become politically relevant when they influence the building of coalitions and majorities in the decision-making system.(1) It is hard, however, to find comparative studies on the political sociology of these parties in Turkish political literature.(2) This article?s objective is to document the emergence of Turkey?s two right-wing parties, the nationalist MHP and Islamist RP/FP, drawing on public opinion regarding significant political issues, aggregate data, socio-demographic characteristics, and the geographical bases of the radical vote.
Four basic questions will be addressed:
- Where are these parties located? (i.e., the electoral geography of the parties)
- Why are they so located? (i.e., the aggregate characteristics of the geographical locations)
- Who are the likely supporters of these parties, and why? (i.e., the social characteristics and issue positions of supporters)
- Finally, from whom do these parties receive support? (i.e., the political origins of voters)
In the 1987 parliamentary elections, RP and MHP garnered only 7.2 and 4.3 percent of the vote, respectively. The two parties formed an electoral alliance in the 1991 election to surmount the ten percent national electoral threshold. This “holy alliance,” as some named it, gathered 17 percent of the popular vote and sent 62 MPs to the Turkish Grand National Assembly (which has a total of 550 seats).
In the 1994 local election, Refah registered a dramatic victory by winning elections in 28 major municipalities including Istanbul and Ankara, the capital. The following year, RP?s vote surged to 21.4 percent making it the largest party in the Turkish National Assembly. Although MHP was left out of the Assembly due to the 10 percent electoral barrier in 1995, its vote doubled to 8.7 percent. In the election of April 18, 1999, the nationalist MHP made a surprise showing by more than doubling its share of the vote (18 percent) and entered parliament as the second-largest party, only six members less than the largest one, the Democratic Socialist Party (DSP). The new Fazilet, successor of the ex-Refah (which was banned in January 16th 1998 by the Constitutional Court), lost some votes in 1999 elections. Nonetheless this party still commanded 15 percent of the vote and fared even better in the municipal elections (18 percent). Thus the combined support of the MHP and FP reached 34 percent of the total vote and 44 percent of MPs in the Turkish parliament.
Nationalists and Islamists in Political Context
At the outset, it must be made clear that scholars who study right-wing parties point to the lack of a generally accepted definition of “right-wing extremism,” even though the term is used by a large number of people.(3) Hartmann uses the term for all “progress-hostile forces.”(4) Some qualities and interests often associated with right-wing parties include nationalism, racism, xenophobia, anti-democracy, and a strong state. Falter and Schuman define ten features of right-wing extremist thinking: extreme nationalism, anti-communism, ethnocentrism, anti-parliamentarism, anti-pluralism, militarism, law-and-order thinking, a demand for a strong leader and/or executive, anti-Americanism, and cultural pessimism.(5)
Not all right-wing parties express or share all the core features listed above. Many of them, however, display hostility toward modernity, a hatred of political divisions and a search for social harmony, an exaltation of natural community and hostility towards foreigners, and a faith in hierarchical structures.(6) Sartori refers to such parties as “anti-system parties,” because they do not share the values of the political order within which they operate.(7) In this study, we accept a broader definition of far-right parties: any party that openly displays anti-pluralist political attitudes and beliefs, or is viewed so by the scholars and the public at large, can be seen as a member of the extreme right party family. In Turkish politics the National Action party and the ex-Refah (Virtue) party are placed within this category.
Drawing on the accumulating literature regarding Western European right-wing extremism, first we will attempt to draw a picture of the geographical appearance of the MHP and ex-Refah, then using aggregate level data, examine correlates of the two parties? electoral support. In the second step, the individual level survey data gathered during the period of increasing electoral support for the far-right parties (i.e., in 1998) will be utilized. A profile of the individuals and groups more likely to be associated with the MHP and FP will be extracted.
History, Origins and Ideologies of the MHP and the FP
The history of the MHP and Refah-Virtue movements dates back to the late 1960s. Although MHP?s roots can in fact be traced back to the old Republican Peasant Nation Party, (CKMP), founded by the former general chief of staff Marshal Fevzi Cakmak, it was only after Alparslan Turkes?s election to the leadership in 1965 that the CKMP embraced an ultra-nationalist ideological stance and gained mass support.(8) During most of the 1950s and 1960s, the CMKP remained a marginal party that drew only very limited support from inner-Anatolian towns for its conservative and populist platform. Turkes, a former army colonel who played an important role in the 1960 military coup, reorganized the CKMP and changed the party?s name to Milliyetci Hareket Partisi (MHP), or the Nationalist Action Party, in the 1969 party convention. Turkes himself was declared Basbug (commander, leader) and a new party program was formulated reflecting the new leader?s ideology. The Dokuz Isik Doktrini (Nine Lights Doctrine), the essence of which was “communitarian nationalism,” became the official party program.(9) The rejuvenated MHP with new leadership and ideology fared relatively well in the 1969 general elections with its 3 percent of support increasing slightly to 3.4 percent in the 1973, and 6.4 percent in the 1977 general elections.
In the late 1960s, however, another conservative right-wing movement based on religious mobilization against the communist threat and monopoly capitalism was also taking root among the Islamically conscious circles. Having failed to gain a nomination from the center-right Justice Party, Necmettin Erbakan, a professor of mechanical engineering from Istanbul Technical University, launched a political initiative to run for the Turkish Assembly together with his similar-minded friends before the 1969 election. The movement did better at the polls than MHP. The movement gathered 5.6 percent of the vote and gained 13 seats, effectively becoming the fourth group in the parliament. In the following year, under the leadership of Professor Erbakan, the Milli Nizam Partisi (MNP), or National Order Party, came into existence.
The context in which the two far-right parties emerged can be better understood if we know how social, economic and political conditions evolved in Turkey in the 1960s. After the transition to multiparty politics, in the 1950s and 1960s, the Turkish economy experienced a great expansion generating considerable wealth. As a result of intense industrialization and mechanization agriculture in rural areas, a new working class emerged in the urban centers by the late 1960s. Moreover, the 1961 constitution introduced a liberal political environment that expanded freedoms of speech and encouraged associational life. In this milieu, socialist ideas and movements began taking root in the society especially among Turkish intellectuals, academicians, journalists, school teachers, and university students. In 1965, an openly socialist party, Turkish Labor Party (TIP), participated in elections, and for the first time it gained 15 seats in the Turkish Assembly. In response to this militant socialism, the centrist Republican People?s Party (CHP) also moved to the left out of the electoral concerns, and defined itself on a social-democratic platform.
The center-right Justice Party (AP), which had been considered a representative body of the conservative majorities since the 1950s, failed to address effectively the growing concerns of the people in the face of a rising communist threat. In addition, the AP over time became closely associated with big business interests, which alienated some segments of its constituency. The traditional middle classes (artisans, craftsmen, small merchants, etc.) saw monopoly capitalism as a threat to their economic prospects and were concerned as well with the rapid socio-economic modernization and cultural westernization of the country.(10) Thus, the emergence of the nationalist MHP on the basis of anti-communism and Erbakan?s Islamic MNP (later MSP) on the basis of religious conscientiousness can be interpreted primarily as political responses of the conservative groups to the rising communist ideology as well as to the rapid socio-economic modernization taking place throughout the country.
From the outset, both parties met with harsh criticism from the Turkish establishment and were accused of being “fascist” (MHP) and “reactionary” (Islamist MSP). The ruling political class saw them as threats to their hegemony since they had not come from the established Kemalist elites who had been running the country since the early days. Intellectuals and the mainstream media always questioned these parties? legitimacy in the political system in the pre-1980 era, an attitude that has not yet entirely changed. These parties have been seen as alternative power centers organized by rising new elites who do not share the Kemalist vision of the Republican elite. In response, both parties sought to prove that they are pro-system, loyal opposition parties, and that they support democracy and uphold the constitutional parliamentary government.
Despite their efforts, Erbakan?s first Islamic party (the National Order) was considered to be in conflict with the secular foundations of the Turkish state and was totally banned from political activity after the 1971 military intervention. The same Islamist circles, however, regrouped as the Milli Selamet Partisi (the National Salvation Party, MSP) in 1972, which became unexpectedly successful in the 1973 general elections (See Table 1). The MSP?s 11.8 percent popular support and its 48 seats made the party the third political force in the Assembly after the CHP and AP. Since neither of the latter parties could win the majority of seats in the parliament, the MSP played a key role in forming coalition governments. The Islamist MSP allied with the Social Democrat CHP in an unlikely coalition government in 1973, which provided much needed legitimacy for the Erbakan?s party, a development that then leader of the CHP, Bulent Ecevit, lamented as “a historical mistake.” The MHP, meanwhile, benefited from the CHP-MSP government by continuing to enlist alienated voters.
Table 1: Electoral History of Nationalists and Islamists in Turkey
|Election Years||Nationalist Tradition||Vote in %||Number of MPs||Islamist Tradition||Vote in %||Number of MPs|
Notes: (*): Local elections. MHP: Nationalist Action Party. MCP: Nationalist Worker Party. Ind. Mov.: Independents? Movement of Erbakan. MSP: National Salvation Party. RP: Welfare Party. FP: Virtue Party. The RP and MCP entered the 1991 election in an electoral alliance under the RP label. Nineteen MPs out of 62 that the alliance won later returned to the MHP.
Source: Cakir (1994), and Bora and Can (1994).
Despite their leadership and ideological differences, electoral support for both MHP and MSP came from the same societal sources. Yet a trade-off existed between the two parties? popular support from the very beginning. At the grass roots level, nationalist-conservative masses voted for the party that was stronger in their regions. In fact, the surge of the MHP?s vote in 1977, from 3 percent to 6.4 percent, was mainly accounted for by analysts as a massive shift from the MSP (whose support diminished to 8.6 from 12 percent) to MHP due to the former party?s collaboration with the leftists in coalition government.(11) Such voter volatility between closely-related parties is consistent with Western European party systems. As will be discussed later, the vote-swing from RP to MHP was instrumental in the unexpected electoral victory of the MHP in the 1999 election.
A Comparison of Nationalist MHP and Islamist FP
Looking back at their three decades of historical evolution in Turkish politics, a brief contrast and comparison can be made with regard to the Nationalists? and Islamists? ideological roots, priorities, and political orientations. At first glance, both traditions appear to converge on many issues; however, as one looks more closely, one discovers that there are fundamental disparities.
At the very heart of the divergence between the two traditions lie in their worldviews. While the Islamic ideology originates from what are held to be the sacred teachings of God (Vahy), and therefore from immutable truths, the worldview of the Nationalists emanates from human intellect and is based on an individual?s philosophical conviction that his nation is superior to others, a secular outlook in essence. The nationalists glorify the nation and commit themselves to the service of the Turkish state that must be unconditionally loved and obeyed. One of the slogans commonly used by the MHP in the 1990s reads “either love it, or leave it.” In the last party convention (November 5, 2000) the MHP used the slogan, “We love this county unconditionally.” As long as their religious beliefs are respected, Islamists, too, obey and sanctify the state, since the Koran states that believers should obey God, His Messenger, and their own rulers.(12) In practice, neither Islamists nor Nationalists display any contempt for the state. They blame incumbent authorities, not the state, if their rights are violated.
Yet for different reasons, the attitude of unquestioned submission to the state seems to have changed on both sides. When the armed forces intervened in politics in 1980, the military government did not differentiate between the leftist militants and the nationalist “idealist” groups, who believed that they were fighting on the state?s side against communism. However, “the state” put them in the same prison cells with the communists and prosecuted them regardless of their ideological beliefs or goals. As Bora and Can have argued, as a result in the 1980s the “Idealist Community” questioned their pre-1980 strategies and re-thought their position vis-Ã ÂÂ¶is the state.(13) Islamists, too, had to contend with state authorities in the 1980s due to the headscarf ban at universities and public offices. It seems that both Islamist and Nationalist attitudes toward the state have been evolving from an unquestioned deference to a more liberal understanding of state-society relations.
In both traditions, organic understanding of society and the nation is commonly accepted. As with corporatism, the nation is seen as a body and the individuals as its cells. National unity, integrity, and solidarity always come before the rights and freedoms of individual citizens. In the party organizations too, a top-to-bottom hierarchy has been maintained and free debate within the parties is discouraged. Party leaders assume a greater role than what can be assumed in a democratic party. They are considered as chiefs, heroes, saviors, or commanders rather than just party chairmen elected by the party delegates.(14)
In the MHP, it has been long held axiom that “leader, organization and doctrine” should not be questioned. As a result, Alparslan Turkes, the legendary leader of the MHP, had been given a free hand in the decision-making process because of his status as the Basbug of the Idealist Community (Ulkucu Camia) until his death in 1997. Similarly, in the MSP-Refah tradition Erbakan or Hoca (imam, leader, wise man) has remained an unchallenged chief of the Islamist movement since the 1970s. In party meetings his followers would often chant “here the army, here the commander.”(15) Neither Erbakan nor Turkes?s leadership was ever challenged in party conventions, and their charismatic authority has only deepened over time among their followers. Only very recently have leadership changes taken place in both parties, due to Turkes?s sudden death in 1997 and Erbakan?s involuntary retirement from the active politics by a constitutional court decision in late 1997.(16)
Table 2: A Summary Comparison of Nationalists and Islamists
|Ã√?‚??√?‚??Â||NATIONALISTS (MHP)||ISLAMISTS (FP)|
|Ideology:||Turkish nationalism. Pan-Turkism||Islamic revivalism. Pan-Islamism|
|Definition of national identity:||An ethnocentric, Turkish first, definition of national identity. Individuals constitute an organic body; loyalty and service to the Turkish state must be the ultimate goal. Islam is an important component of the national culture. Glorification of both Islamic and pre-Islamic Turkish history.||First Islam, then nation. National identity is defined primarily by Islamic values and by the Islamic past of the Turkish nation. Glorification of Turks? Islamic past, but ignorance of the pre-Islamic period. Service to the community and state highly praised.|
|Attitude toward the state:||State is sacred. Must be loved and obeyed unconditionally.||Very much respected and strongly supported, but can be criticized if individuals? rights and beliefs violated.|
Religion in public life:
|Religion is considered to be a private issue. Headscarf must be allowed at the educational institutions, but can be banned at public places for civil servants. Religious education should be free and available to pupils.||Religion is considered to be a private issue. Headscarf must be allowed at the educational institutions, but can be banned at public places for civil servants. Religious education should be free and available to pupils.|
|Strongly oppose any discussion and compromise with the Kurdish movement.||Defend national unity, but support granting cultural rights including education and TV broadcasting in native language.|
|Support existing relations with the western powers and NATO. Demand revision in the custom union agreement between the EU and Turkey. Will give priority to the improvement of relations with Turkic speaking nations in Central Asia and the Balkan countries. Advocate a common market and custom union with Turkic nations. Critical of American hegemony. Support Turk-Israel politico-military relations.||Reluctantly support existing relations with the west, but accept NATO security arrangement. Oppose joining EU on the basis of culture. Demand a revision in the custom union with the EU. Will give higher priority to integration with Islamic nations under the leadership of Turkey. Defend a common market and an Islamic-NATO among Muslim nations. Oppose American influence in the region. Strongly criticize Turk-Israel relations.|
|Use of Violence in the Past:||
Some affiliated groups actively involved in street fighting against leftist groups in order to protect the Turkish state against communist threat.
|Some marginal groups (Akincilar) rarely used violence and mostly for self-defense purposes. Abstained from active fighting with communists.|
|Use of Violence Recently:||Occasionally engaged in violent confrontations with extremist-leftist groups on university campuses. Organized and participated in demonstrations against pro-Kurdish groups.||Involved in street demonstrations in protests against the banning of Islamic dress of female students (headscarf issue). Occasionally confront the police.|
|Highly structured, hierarchical and leader oriented. Centralized decision-making. Limited within-party democracy.||
Highly structured, hierarchical and leader oriented. Centralized decision-making.
Limited within-party democracy.
|Highly active and effective on university campuses. Organized within the Idealist Clubs (Ulku Ocaklari) controlled by the party, although not organically related. Branches are open throughout the country.||Moderately active in universities. Organized within the National Youth Foundations (Milli Genclik Vakiflari) throughout the country, which are unofficially controlled by the party.|
On key policy issues, the MHP and the FP?s views both disagree and converge. The MHP has never openly accepted the existence of a distinct ethnic Kurdish population in Turkey, let alone a Kurdish problem. Their official view is that they (Kurds) are Turks as much as we (Turks) are Kurds. The issue is raised by foreign powers in order to divide and weaken our national unity. Therefore, the party strongly opposes discussion of the issue and any compromise with the Kurdish movement. Unlike nationalists, however, Islamists accept the notion that the Kurdish people constitute a distinct ethnic entity and thus they should be able to use their language freely in the public, including in education and radio-TV broadcasting. Any partition, or political autonomy, however, is opposed strongly by the Islamists too. They believe that Islamic brotherhood between Turks and Kurds will provide a common ground for both to live within the Turkish Republic as a single nation.
A key point of divergence is secularism–separation of state affairs from religious beliefs and doctrine. The Refah-FP tradition has always argued that secularism in Turkey is often misinterpreted, that public authorities must be more tolerant to the religious beliefs, and that religion-based claims could be the basis for political demands from public authorities. The state must provide compulsory religious education in the schools, and the wearing of headscarf must be allowed both for students and civil servants. The MHP, too, defends headscarf for students at schools but not for civil servants. The party, however, primarily sees religion as a private issue and while it supports religious education in the schools, it opposes the politicization of religious beliefs.
Regarding the use of violence, the pre-1980 MHP had a legacy of extensive violent acts. Paramilitary groups affiliated with the party have been involved in street fighting for the sake of the protection of the Turkish state from communist attacks.(17) Idealist groups have occasionally been involved in confrontations with leftist groups on university campuses, and against pro-Kurdish activists across the nation. Islamists, too, engaged in violent confrontations, although rarely, with leftist groups before the 1980 military coup. Some Islamic groups including the Virtue supporters have been heavily involved in demonstrations against the headscarf ban at schools and universities.
In the foreign policy area, MHP accepts Turkey?s traditional foreign policy outlook with some reservations. It aims to improve relations with Turkish-speaking nations of Central Asia. The Islamists, on the other hand, only reluctantly support existing relations with the West but accept the NATO security arrangement. The party gives a higher priority to integration with Islamic nations (under Turkey?s leadership), and defends a common market and an “Islamic-NATO” among Muslim states. The new virtue however, revised some of its foreign policy priorities and openly supported Turkey?s bid for a full EU membership. Whether this new policy stance represents a genuine ideological transformation of the Islamists or simply a pragmatic response to the growing pressure from Turkish establishment remains to be seen.
Electoral Geography: Past and Present
Both the Islamist tradition and Nationalist movement have a fairly long electoral history in Turkish politics. With some interruptions during the early 1980s, MHP and Refah Party participated in almost every general and local election without restrictions. As shown in Table 1, they were represented in the Turkish Assembly before the 1980 era, and both Erbakan and Turkes had an opportunity to serve in coalition governments in the 1970s. Professor Erbakan?s MSP was supported by some 1,265,771 voters (12 percent) in the 1973 election and four years later its vote increased by only 4,000. But due to high electoral turnout and an increase in registered voters, the party?s overall proportion of support declined to 8.6 percent, and its parliament group decreased by half from 48 to 24.(18) In the case of the MHP, the strongest support came in the 1977 elections during the time of intense ideological and political conflict between the left and right wing groups. The party?s electoral base expanded from 3.4 percent to 6.4 percent between 1973 and 1977, mostly at the expense of the Islamist MSP, and it won 16 seats in the Assembly.
The backbone of the electoral support of the two right-wing parties in the early period (1970s) came from relatively less developed Anatolian provinces where traditionally conservative Sunni Turks lived side by side with Alevi (a more liberal Islamic sect whose followers always identified with the left wing parties) population. Thus both parties? electoral constituencies were concentrated in Central and Eastern Anatolia, and in the northeastern part of the country. In addition, from the outset the Islamist MSP found a fertile ground in the religiously conservative southeastern Turkey Kurdish populated region. Neither party, however, could generate sizable support in the economically developed western provinces where the center right (AP) and the social democrat (CHP) parties dominated elections.
Due to the 10 percent electoral barrier introduced by the military council in order to prevent small-extremist parties from entering the Assembly, the newly-created MCP (successor to the MHP) and Refah were shut out of the parliament in the post-1980 period. After the 1991 election, however, voter support for these radical parties increased. The evolution of both parties from parochial and marginal status to nationwide political movements in the 1990s should be examined within both domestic and international contexts.
Comparing both parties? support across the provinces during the 1970s and 1990s reveals enormous stability in their electoral bases. Where the Islamist MSP fared well in its first appearance as a political party (in 1973), its successor Refah received its highest vote after two decades in the 1995 election. The core of support is to be found in the central region (Konya, Corum, Kayseri, Sivas), the eastern provinces (Erzurum, Elazig, Malatya), and the southeast (Diyarbakir, S. Urfa, Adiyaman, Bitlis, Siirt, Mardin). These provinces constitute the traditionally conservative and economically stagnant parts of the country, at least until very recently. Over time Islamist Refah also made some inroads into the industrialized centers in the northwest (Izmit, Sakarya, and Kutahya), as well as in the two largest metropolitan areas (Istanbul and Ankara). It appears that the party built up a coalition among the three distinct groups.(19)
The backbone of the party is the middle-level Anatolian merchants, small business owners (esnaf ve tuccar), mid-and-lower level bureaucrats and professional elites (engineers, doctors, lawyers, etc.). Some scholars particularly emphasize the role of the “rising” counter-elite as carriers of Islamist ideology.(20)
The second group consists of those conservative elements that may not have an Islamist political vision, yet they support cultural conservatism (family values, education, TV broadcasting, etc.).
The third group has nothing to do with Islamist ideology but represents those groups who are frustrated with the established parties and who want to express their discontent. They support them to voice their demands for jobs, health care, education, social welfare, and a more equal distribution of the wealth. Moreover, as Yavuz pointed out, the pragmatic policy of the Islamists in addressing local grievances provides the party with an opportunity to project different images in different regions.(21) Islamist politicians present a pro-Kurdish image in the southeast; they become conservative-nationalists in the Central Anatolia to appeal Sunni Turks; and take a Muslim social democrat stance in the big cities to attract working class voters. The glue among these social categories is a search for “justice and equality” for everybody and opposition to the corrupt socio-political system.
The Refah party?s experience with power sharing in a coalition government after the 1995 election, however, seemed to have alienated some of its constituencies. Drawing on this frustration, the MHP attracted many of the ex-Refah party supporters in the 1999 election. Voters, who were dissatisfied with Refah?s performance and its confrontation with the army, switched their votes from the Islamists to the Nationalist MHP, particularly in the Central and Eastern regions. As one observer aptly stated “the conservative masses who cherish nationalist views and support moral values have now found themselves a new address.”(22)
As a result, in the late 1990s, electoral geography of both parties largely converged outside the Kurdish-populated southeast region where the MHP has the weakest support. Traditionally, the core of MHP support was found in the Central and Eastern provinces. Surprisingly, the party made strong gains along the Mediterranean coast (Icel, Adana, K. Maras, Antalya) and moderate gains in the Aegean region. The party is still weak, however, in the largest cities of the northwest region, particularly in Istanbul.
Table 3: Correlates of the MHP and FP Vote
|Per Capita GDP in (US$, 1997)||.05Ã√?‚??√?‚??Â||-.13||-.22*||-.31**|
|Pop. Growth Rate (1990-97)||-.40**Ã√?‚??√?‚??Â||-.27**||.15||.10|
|HADEP Vote (1999)||.-61**Ã√?‚??√?‚??Â||-.33**||-.08||-.06|
|Education (11 years)||.13Ã√?‚??√?‚??Â||-.10||-.23*||-.25*|
|Left Vote in 1995 (CHP+DSP)||.04Ã√?‚??√?‚??Â||-.10||-.55**||-.6**|
|Share of Commerce in GDP||.30**Ã√?‚??√?‚??Â||.25*||-.06||-.08|
|FP Vote (1999)||.24*Ã√?‚??√?‚??Â||.28*||–||.87**|
Notes: (*): p<. 05. (**): p<. 001. The data collected by the author from official Turkish Statistic Institute (DIE) publications. All entries are Pearson Correlation. Infant mortality: Death per thousand. Kurdish population: Measured as a ratio of Kurdish and Zaza speaking people to overall population (taken from 1965 census). Education: Percentage of High School graduates in provinces. The GDP in provinces is composed of basically industrial, agricultural and commercial activities. Source: State Institute of Statistics, The Yearbook of Turkey, (1970, 1996 and 1997 editions).
Some province-level indicators correlate with right-wing party support. As presented in Table 3, Islamist Refah-FP support appears to be correlated with socio-economic developmental indicators (infant mortality, educational level, and per capita income). The MHP vote in both 1995 and 1999, however, does not correlate significantly with the developmental indicators, but shows a strong negative correlation with the Kurdish population and HADEP support (a pro-Kurdish party).
The correlation between population increase (reflecting mostly internal migration from rural to urban areas) and MHP support is an interesting finding. One interpretation is that the intense Kurdish migration from the terror-ridden southeast to the coastal towns and major urban centers in Mediterranean and Aegean provinces might have generated an awareness of national identity and feeling of insecurity among the city dwellers. As Husbands pointed out in the French electoral context, the increasing visibility of foreign immigrants in their neighborhoods has created “contact racism.”(23) The growing Kurdish population in the western cities might have generated similar feelings among ethnic Turks.
The moderate correlation between the MHP and FP vote (.24 in 1999, and .28 in 1995) suggests that both parties drew their support from the same areas. The left-wing parties? support (tapping the left-right ideological cleavage) does not correlate with the MHP vote, but is strongly associated with the Refah-FP vote. Given the lack of correlation with the developmental level indicators and ideological variables, it can be said that the MHP?s electoral base displays more diversity than the FP. It might also imply that the latter party is leaning toward lower class constituencies.
The single most important factor that seems to contribute to the MHP?s success is rising nationalistic feelings against the Kurdish separatist movement (anti-Kurdish sentiment). Thus, perhaps the MHP can be described as a “single issue” movement.(24) While it was the rising communist wave that gave rise to this party in the late 1970s, now it has been replaced by a new-found enemy, Kurdish separatism. The Kurdish separatist movement has generated fear and insecurity that is shared by many ordinary citizens in relation to Turkey?s national identity and territorial integrity. The examination of individual level data below will shed more light on the sociological bases of right-wing parties and sources of protest voting in Turkey.
A Profile of the Right-Wing Party Supporters in Turkey
The lack of systematically collected and reliable survey data on the sociological bases of Turkish parties in the 1970s prevents us from comparing today?s extremist party supporters with those of the earlier period. Therefore, in this section we will present the findings of a nationwide representative survey data that was conducted by the VERI research group in March-April 1998 by following a systematic sampling method including 1800 subjects from the electoral age population (i.e., 18 year and older) in Turkey. The sub-samples of MHP (N=178, 9.9 percent) and FP (N=259, 14 percent) voters will be compared with the entire Turkish electorate in terms of their sociological characteristics, issue positions, ideological orientations and political origins.
Table 4: Social Characteristics of Supporters of the MHP and FP
Nationalist Action Party (MHP) 9.9% (N=178)
Virtue Party (FP) 14.4% (N=259)
|18 to 20 years||+4.5||+1|
|21 to 24 years||+3.9||+1.3|
|25 to 39 years||+2.5||+2.8|
|40 to 54 years||-1.3||-4.3|
|No formal education||12.8||+1.1|
|Primary (5 years)||+15.2||+2.2|
|Secondary (8 years)||*||+1.5|
|High School (11 Years)||*||-2.7|
|Blue collar worker||+9||*|
|White collar workers||-2||-1.9|
Notes: Entries are percentage point differences from the full sample (N=1800). (*): No percentage point difference (lower than 1 point). The figures are calculated by the author from the raw data.
Source: Veri Research Group, 1998.
The sociological profile of the MHP and FP supporters notably differs, in some aspects, from that of the entire population as well as from the each other. As has been reported by the students of the extreme right in Europe,(25) males are disproportionately represented in both the MHP and FP electorate. The gender bias is much more noticeable in the ranks of the MHP electorate (25 percentage points) than the Islamist FP (7.4 points). Age is another factor, which distinguishes the far-right electorate in Turkey: the younger age cohorts are more likely to support the Nationalist MHP. The FP also appears to be supported by the lower age cohorts, especially those between 25-to-39 years. Conversely, the MHP is markedly under-represented among the older age groups (55 plus) while the FP is less likely to be supported by the 40-to-54 age category.
These age differences can be explained with socialization theory. While older voters experienced the pre-1980 years that marked with intense left-right ideological conflicts, younger age groups who came to voting-age in the 1980s were exposed to different sets of values and ideologies. Some scholars suggested that nationalistic propaganda and introduction of compulsory religious classes in the elementary and high schools have socialized the younger generations to the authoritarian values.(26) Moreover, the reemerging parties in the post-1980 era failed to serve as socializing agents to align the new voters. Finally the crises of political party system in the center (personal rivalry, corruption) created new opportunities for the energetic right-wing parties. Thus, with their well-defined ideology, discipline and emphasis on group solidarity, far-right nationalist and religious parties attracted many of the new voters.
The educational and occupational status variables are of major interest due to their implications for the class composition of support for these parties. The MHP appears to draw from all educational categories, but finds stronger support among those with only a primary school diploma (15.2 points). FP supporters also happen to be less educated than the entire sample, and only marginally represented in well-educated groups. This finding supports the aggregate level results reported in Table 3. In terms of occupation, MHP voters display considerable similarity with their Western European counterparts. A significant number of working class (blue collar) voters (a 9 point bias), and self employed small businessmen groups (11.8 point difference) consisting of merchants, shopkeepers and artisans (Esnaf ve Zanaatkar) disproportionately support this party as well as the FP. In contrast, however, the housewives and white-collar voters tend to be less supportive of right-wing extremism at the ballot box.
Finally, small farmers seem to associate themselves mostly with the Islamist FP, rather than secular nationalist MHP in the elections. This does not change the fact, however, that the MHP draws its majority of support from the rural settlements (9.2 point). As the electoral geography of the MHP suggests, the nationalist MHP fared well in the small to medium size Anatolian towns in the 1970s as well as in the 1990s. Similar tendencies have been observed with the FP supporters with less marked differences (1.5 point), a finding that might be compared with this party?s significant presence in some big cities. The social-class composition of the MHP and FP is consistent with the findings of West European research on far-right party support and suggests that the support given to these parties might be a reaction of the discontented traditional middle-classes voters and lower educated blue-collar workers.
Table 5: Political Beliefs and Issue Positions of the MHP and FP Voters
Political Beliefs/Issue positions
Nationalist Action Party (MHP)
Virtue Party (FP)
Shariat (Shari?a, Islamic rules)
|Yes, want to see an Islamic gov.||+4.4||
|No, oppose an Islamic gov.||+3.6||-28.6|
|No answer (don’t know)||-7.8||*|
Evaluation of country?s situation
|Things are getting better||-5.5||-6|
Things are getting worse
|The most important problem||Ã√?‚??√?‚??Â||Ã√?‚??√?‚??Â|
|Inflation, high cost of living||-2.2||
|Democracy and human rights||+1||
|Headscarf and education||*||+3.7|
|Relations with Europe||Ã√?‚??√?‚??Â||Ã√?‚??√?‚??Â|
|Turkey must join EU||+2.2||-12.4|
|Turkey must not join EU||+4.1||+11.1|
Notes: Entries are percentage point differences from the full sample (N=1800). (*): No percentage point difference (lower than 1 point).
Source: Veri Research Group, 1998.
In Table 5 it can be inferred that Orthodox Islamists, those who believe that the governmental rules must be based on Islamic principles (Shari?a), constitute a large majority of the FP voters with a margin of 29 percentage points, while the Nationalist MHP draws an equally strong measure of support from both Islamist as well as secularist groups. Both parties are less likely to be supported by the leftist voters, and are overwhelmingly supported by the “rightist” individuals.
The frustration of voters with the socio-political system?s performance can be read in their responses to the question of “are things getting better or worse?” It seems that resentful voters give greater support to the radical right-wing parties. Among the “pessimist” voters, MHP and FP have 13.3 and 10.2-point margins of support, respectively. Dissatisfaction of the extremist voters, however, seem to stems from various specific concerns such as those characterized by responses to “what is the most important problem facing the nation.” While MHP voters are mostly concerned with the ethnic separatist movement of the PKK, and with poor economic performance (e.g., economy, unemployment, etc.), the Islamist FP voters appear to be obsessed with political and religious issues (democracy and human rights, headscarf and religious education). This result reflects their deep resentment against the military?s pressure on the ex-Refah party leadership, which ended the Erbakan-led coalition government, and subsequently resulted in the Refah Party?s total ban from politics. Concerning foreign policy, despite the latest conciliatory messages from the new party leadership, FP voters still oppose Turkey?s participation in the European Union. Among the supporters of the MHP, too, opponents of EU membership are marginally greater than proponents.
Recent studies on the Turkish electorate suggest that the discontent of voters with the established parties is increasing while their trust in political institutions and politicians is declining. As such, it can be hypothesized that a relationship exists that those frustrated voters–especially voters who fall into a certain socio-economic profile– switch their allegiance to radical parties. In Table 6, we can follow the sources of MHP and FP growth. The nationalist MHP seems to be getting support from the previous center-right voters (18 percent), new voters (19), and ex-Refah supporters (6.2). The FP is apparently recruiting new supporters from only the first-time voters. In fact, the switch of ex-Refah party supporters in the Central Anatolian provinces, as well as the swing of DYP voters on the Mediterranean coast and in Aegean provinces to the MHP were said to be instrumental in the party?s 1999 electoral success.(27) Moreover, a significant number of new voters who became eligible to vote prior to the 1999 election (2.5 million) contributed to the upsurge of the MHP?s vote from 8.5 percent to 18 percent. One researcher argued that as much as 1.3 million new voters supported the MHP in the last elections.(28)
If we examine the ethnic-religious identity of the extremist voters, it is obvious that the ultra-nationalist MHP may potentially expand its base of support given the party?s margin of support among the “Sunni Turks”, who constitute the majority of the Turkish population. As expected, the party?s support is very weak among those who identify themselves as “Alevi” or “Kurd.” In contrast, however, the Islamist FP supporters are underrepresented among those who see themselves as “Turks” (-10.8 ), while the party finds greater support among those who define their identity in the religious terms “Sunni” (+11.8) or “Muslim” (+4.2). “Kurds” also vote for the FP, while the “Alevi” population shies away from Islamic politics.
Table 6 Political Origins and Ethnic-Religious Identity of the Voters
Nationalist Action Party (MHP)
Virtue Party (FP)
Previous vote (1995 election)Ã√?‚??√?‚??Â
|Center Right (ANAP + DYP)||18 (in %)||1.5 (in %)|
|Center Left (CHP + DSP)||3.4||.8|
|First time voters||19.1||15.4|
Party orientation (party ID)
|Center right (ANAP+DYP)||3.9 (in %)||5.4 (in%)|
|Center left (CHP+DSP)||1.7||1.2|
(% point difference)
Notes: Previous vote (1995), and the party orientations of voters are the percentage of voters who have voted for the respective parties.
Source: Veri Research Group, 1998.
Discussion and Conclusion
In spite of the fact that both ultra-nationalist MHP and Islamist FP in recent years have made greater efforts to transform their public image of being “extremist, totalitarian, non-democratic” political parties, the mainstream Turkish media, the powerful ruling elites, as well as influential intellectuals have not yet fully acceded to their legitimacy in the democratic system. Their electoral success raises concerns, their activities are closely scrutinized, and their participation in the local or central governments creates suspicion.
The Refah?s electoral victory in the 1994 municipal elections was presented as a “political shock,” an “earthquake,” and a “revolution” by Turkish newspapers. A secularist journalist even predicted that “Istanbul would become Tehran.”(29) In the coalition formation process after the 1995 elections, the Turkish establishment exercised enormous pressure on the pro-system parties (DYP, ANAP, DSP, CHP) to leave the RP out of political power. When the DYP leader, Tansu Ciller, decided to form a coalition government in later months with this party, she was declared as a “traitor.” In a somewhat similar approach, the surprise showing of the MHP in April 1999 polls was again interpreted as a challenge to the established order. While a leading poet expressed his frustration, saying it was as if “he was living in Nazi Germany,”(30) deputy chairman of the left wing DSP, which later participated in the coalition government with the MHP, accused the MHP leaders of being “the bloody killers who did not repent of their crimes.”(31) Very few of them, however, asked the fundamental question: what does the electoral success of radical parties in Turkish politics mean?
Basically, the appearance of the extremist parties (MHP and FP) in electoral politics in the early 1970s can be explained by Lipset?s “relative deprivation” hypothesis.(32) According to Lipset, “the process of economic and societal modernization causes economic deprivation of individuals or certain groups that are likely to be attracted by extremist right-wing parties.” (33) Especially old middle-class voters (self-employed small business people, farmers, artisans and craftsmen) tend to be radicalized by the general process of concentration and centralization, and by specific economic crisis. Ahmad maintained that Erbakan?s movement “defended Anatolian petty bourgeoisie with an Islamic disguise,” and that the MSP represented those who “were not fully integrated culturally and economically into the modernist centers.”(34) Similarly, Bora and Can pointed out that the MHP movement had been an electoral channel for those “modernization losers” who felt threatened by monopoly capitalism, the invasion of western cosmopolitan culture, and the spread of socialist ideology in the society.(35)
Although the relative deprivation hypothesis and modernization theory can be illuminating in understanding the first time emergence of both Islamist and Nationalist movements in Turkey in the 1970s, their endurance over time and stronger reappearance in the 1990s needs to be carefully analyzed.
To start with, the radical parties? electoral strength depends on traditional sectors of society, which are located in the Central and Eastern Anatolian provinces. In addition, MHP benefited from the politicization of Alevi-Sunni sectarian divisions in the late 1970s, while the MSP attracted the ethnically Kurd, but religiously Muslim, southeastern population?s vote.(36) That after three decades both MHP and FP reasserted their strength in the same areas demonstrates that over time they created a core of followers in these regions and that they are not surge-and-decline “flash” parties but hold the allegiances of a considerable population.
The recent rise of Islamism and Nationalism in Turkey, however, may not be adequately accounted for by the persistence of the partisan attachment of voters. Some important socio-economic and political developments in and around the country helped these parties. In the domestic arena, Turkey has passed through a period of neo-liberal reforms in the 1980s, which transformed the country?s state-dominated economy to a semi-liberal, market capitalism. As some scholars argued, market-oriented reforms inevitably create winners and losers.(37) The reform process becomes more painful in a developing country because per capita incomes are lower and a state?s ability to provide welfare and protection for the poor (the losers) is much more limited compared with industrialized states.(38)
The negative result of liberalization reforms in Turkey manifested itself in the rise of unemployed people, the deterioration of education and health services, and a deepening income gap between the rich and poor. Accompanied by chronically high inflation, corruption scandals, and political crisis, these developments created a widespread distrust and cynicism on the part of voters against the established parties. The distributional consequences of this economic restructuring process might in part explain the vote shift among blue-collar workers and younger generations toward the extremist parties in protest against the centrist parties.
A second explanation is ideological and symbolic. In recent decades Turks had to reconsider their place in the world and intensely discussed the future of Turkish identity. The common themes in Turkish media in recent times have been national unity, terror, political scandals (corruption), justice, and relations with EU. On the one hand, European countries? constant criticism of Turkey on the basis of its poor human rights record and democratic credentials, on the other hand their demands for a political solution for the Kurdish movement while rejecting Turkey?s full membership application to the EU rekindled the old debate of where Turkey?s place must be in the future. Moreover, the prolonged Kurdish insurgency inside Turkish borders, and wars in the Balkans (Bosnia and Kosovo) and Caucasus (Azerbaijan-Armenian conflict and Russian-Chechen wars) have intensified the debate over “national identity,” and awakened nationalist-religious feelings which undoubtedly helped the MHP and FP.
Simply because they were the only parties that offered some historical, psychological and cultural explanation for changes in the international politics and presented a vision that may be denoted as neo-Ottomanism, while all the mainstream parties promoting globalization (understood as Europeanization) policies. Consequently, as the data show, those who support an Islamic government in Turkey and those who oppose Turkey?s EU membership are over represented within the ranks of both parties. In other words, Islamists and nationalists in Turkey exploited ordinary citizens? fear and insecurity in face of both cultural and socio-political globalization process that intensified in the 1990s. In a sense the rising support for these parties in Turkey may be interpreted as a protest against globalization, and thus can be considered as evidence supporting the “Jihad Versus MacWorld” thesis, as argued by Barber.(39)
Finally, the collapse of communism–rather than removing a major cause of right-wing extremism–has instead facilitated its growth.(40) The convergence of the social democratic parties? policies with that of the conservative parties created a political vacuum. Hence proponent of right-wing extremist nationalist and religious parties have an opportunity to provide one of the few alternatives to the prevailing order available to alienated and discontented segments of the population.
Our analysis in the second part of this article provides some clues about the profiles of right-wing extremist voters. The typical MHP voter is a relatively young man with a low education, who is self-employed or a blue collar worker (if not unemployed) living in small towns or rural areas of the Central and Eastern provinces, who is more likely to identify himself as “Turk or Sunni” and has a strong feeling against the Kurdish movement, who is either a new voter or formerly supported one of the right-of center parties.
The typical FP voter is also likely to be younger man with a humble educational background. Most usually, he is involved in farming or small business and lives in rural areas or recently migrated to a city thus becoming an unskilled worker. Usually he identifies himself as “Muslim, Sunni or Kurd” and takes a defiant stance against Europe believing that Islamic rules are superior to western democracy. Apart from their approach to the Kurdish question and the role of religion in public life, the supporters of MHP and FP may agree on large policy areas.
To speculate on the future of the right-wing politics in Turkey, it can be argued that the appeal of the radical right-wing parties have stemmed in a large part from the fact that the major political formations (ANAP, DYP, CHP and DSP), “the gang of four” to borrow from Safran?s depiction of French parties,(41) has been hampered in its ability to address some of the most important policy concerns of ordinary Turkish citizens: inflation, political corruption, the Kurdish movement, unemployment, and the role of Islam in government and society. As long as the structural economic problems persist and corruption scandals remain in the news, the prospects for established parties seem bleaker.
The new leadership changes in the Islamist front as well as MHP promise some hope that they both may move toward a centrist position on basic policy issues. However, it may take some time to reconstruct their public image and convince the Turkish establishment. Finally, a vote for an extremist party is as much a vote against the established parties. Thus, their future inversely depends on the established parties? ability to redefine their role and reconsider their policies (including their leadership cadres) in a way to become more responsive, more responsible, and morally respectable.
1. Ekkart Zimmermann and Thomas Saalfeld, “The Three Waves of West German Right-Wing Extremism,” in Peter H. Merkl and Leonard Weinberg, (Eds.), Encounters with the Contemporary Radical Right, (Boulder: Westview Press, 1993), pp. 55-75.
2. For the studies on the Islamist parties in Turkey see, Ali Yasar Saribay, Turkiye?de Modernlesme, Din ve Parti Politikasi: MSP Ornek Olayi, (Istanbul: Alan Yayincilik, 1985). M. Hakan Yavuz, “Political Islam and the Welfare (Refah) Party in Turkey,” Comparative Politics, Vol. 30, No. 1 (1997), pp.63-82. Ahmet N. Yucekok, Turkiyede Orgutlenmis Dinin Sosyo Ekonomik Tabani, (Ankara: SBF Yayinlari, 1971). Nilufer Narli, “The Rise of The Islamist Movement in Turkey,” MERIA, Vol. 3, No. 3 (September 1999). Sencer Ayata, “Patronages, Party, and State: The Politicization of Islam in Turkey,” Middle East Journal, Vol.50, No.1 (1996), pp.40-56. Rusen Cakir, Ne Seriat Ne Demokrasi: Refah Partisini Anlamak, (Istanbul: Metis Yayinlari, 1994). M. Naci Bostanci, “RP?yi Anlamak (understanding the RP),” Turkiye Gunlugu, No. 38 (1995), pp.67-71.
For the studies on the Nationalist tradition in Turkey see, Tanil Bora and Kemal Can, Devlet, Ocak, Dergah: 12 Eylul?den 1990?lara Ulkucu Hareket, Third Edition, (Istanbul: Iletisim Yayincilik, 1994). Burak Arikan, “The Programme of the Nationalist Action Party: An Iron Hand in a Velvet Glove,” Middle Eastern Studies, Vol.34, No. 4 (1998), pp.120-134. Mustafa Calik, MHP Hareketi: Kaynaklari ve Gelisimi, 1965-1980, (Ankara: Cedit Nesiyat, 1995).
3. Cas Mudde, “The War of Words: Defining the Extreme Right Party Family,” Western European Politics, Vol.19, No. 2 (1996), pp. 225-248.
4. Cited by Mudde, 1996.
5. Jurgen W. Falter and Siegfried Schuman, “Affinity towards right-wing extremism in Western Europe,” West European Politics, Vol.11, No. 2 (April 1988), pp.96-110.
6. Mudde, 1996, p.227.
7. Giovanni Sartori, Parties and Party System, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1976), p.133.
8. For the history of the MHP see, Bora and Can, 1994.
9. For the ideology of the MHP see, Arikan, 1998.
10. See Yucekok, 1971; Feroz Ahmad, The Turkish Experiment in Democracy, 1950-1975, (London: C. Hurst & Company, 1977). Ergun Ozbudun, Social Change and Political Participation in Turkey (Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1976).
11. Rusen Cakir, a journalist specializing in political Islam in Turkey, points out that the vote switching occurred especially in the area known as “Alevi region” where the followers of the Alevi sect constitute an important part of the population. See Cakir (1994), p. 217.
12. See the Koran, Sura 4:59.
13. Bora and Can, 1994, p. 235.
14. See Cakir, 1994; Bora and Can, 1994.
15. Cakir, 1994, p. 156.
16. The charismatic leaders of these parties were in a sense great assets for both MHP and Refah parties. After Alparslan Turkes?s death, potential MHP leaders were involved in factional fighting in their first party convention that ended in a violent conflict. Although three months later they elected Devlet Bahceli as a new leader, some senior party members left the party and formed a new party under the leadership of Turkes?s own son, Tugrul Turkes. In the Virtue party too, Erbakan?s remote control caused discontent and criticism among younger generations of the party leadership led by former Istanbul mayor Tayyip Erdogan. As a result, following the FP?s closure by the constitutional court, a new party, Justice and Development Party (AKP), was formed under Erdogan?s leadership, while old guard Islamist regrouped under the Felicity Party (SP).
17. See Arikan, 1998, p.125.
18. For the electoral statistics see, State Institute of Statistics (SIS), Statistical Yearbook of Turkey (SIS: Ankara, 1997).
19. Bostanci, 1996: Yavuz, 1997.
20. Michael E. Meecker, “Turkiye Cumhuriyetinde Yeni Musluman Aydinlar”, in Richard Tapper (ed.), Cagdas Turkiye?de Islam: Din, Siyaset ve Laik Devlet, (Istanbul: Sarmal Yayinevi, 1991), pp. 261-299. Nilufer Gole, “Secularism and Islamism in Turkey: The Making of Elites and Counter-elites,” The Middle East Journal. Vol.5, No. 1 (1997), pp. 46-58.
21. Yavuz, 1995.
22. Ilnur Cevik, “Editorial,” Turkish Daily News. April 20, 1999.
23. Christopher T. Husbands, “The support for the Front National: Analyses and Findings,” Ethnic and Racial Studies, Vol.14, No. 3 (1991), pp. 382-416.
24. Omer Laciner, “Forward,” in Bora and Ocak. Devlet, Ocak Dergah, (1994).
25. Merkl and Weinberg, 1993; Husbands, 1991.
26. Ayata, 1996.
27. Kemal Balci, “Rebirth of the Gray Wolves,” Turkish Daily News, (April 20, 1999).
28. Tarhan Erdem,”MHP Oylari” (MHP Votes), Radikal, (19 April, 1999).
29. The reaction of the Turkish media to the RP?s victory in the 1994 local election has been collected in a book by Mehmet Ali Soydan in Dunden Bugune Turkiye?nin Refah Gercegi. Erzurum: Birey Yayincilik. 1994.
30. See poet Can Yucel?s comments about the April 1999 election results. “Yucel: Nazi Almanyasi Gibi” [Yucel: Like in Nazi Germany], Milliyet,(24 April, 1999).
31. While the DSP leader Bulent Ecevit was working out a coalition deal with the MHP leadership, his wife and the number two person in DSP, Rahsan Ecevit, slammed the MHP community because of their alleged involvement in street fighting and assassinations against leftist groups in the pre-1980 era. The talks were suspended for a while but later with the help of President Suleyman Demirel the new government under the leadership of Bulent Ecevit (with MHP and ANAP) was successfully concluded. See Milliyet (5 June, 1999).
32. For these lines of the arguments see, Yucekok, 1971; Ozbudun, 1976; Ahmad, 1977; Bora and Can, 1994
33. Seymour M. Lipset, Political Man: The Social Bases of Politics, (Garden City, New York: Doubelday, 1960), pp. 131-134.
34. Ahmad, 1977, p. 382.
35. Bora and Can, 1994, p. 62-64.
36. Ergun Ozbudun, “Turkey” in Myron Weiner and Ergun Ozbudun, (Eds.), Competitive Elections in Developing Countries, (Duke University Press, 1987), pp.328-365.
37. Luiz C. B. Pereira, Jose M. Maravall, and Adam Przeworski, Economic Reforms in New Democracies, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), p.2.
38. Onis, 1997, p.760.
39. Benjamin R. Barber, Jihad vs. McWorld: How Globalism and Tribalism are Reshaping the World, (New York: Times Books, 1995).
40. Merkl and Weinberg, 1993, p.10.
41. William Safran, “The National Front in France: From Lunatic Fringe to Limited Respectability,” in Merkl and Weinsberg 1993, pp. 19-49.
Birol Akgun is an assistant professor in the Department of International Relations at Selcuk University in Konya, Turkey