The Erdoganization of Turkish politics and the role of the opposition

Selcuk O., Hekimci D., Erpul O.

SOUTHEAST EUROPEAN AND BLACK SEA STUDIES, vol.19, no.4, pp.541-564, 2019 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 19 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/14683857.2019.1689902
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.541-564
  • Keywords: Personalization, political parties, content analysis, opposition, Turkey, PERSONALIZATION, PRESIDENTS, TURKEY
  • Middle East Technical University Affiliated: No


This article examines the personalization of Turkish politics during Recep Tayyip Erdogan's third term as prime minister. While many studies focus on the prime minister's growing personal domination of the executive branch, we consider how leaders of the opposition reflected and reinforced that trend. To test our hypotheses on this 'Erdoganization,' we employed a content analysis to consider Kemal Kilicdaroglu and Devlet Bahceli's speeches at weekly parliamentary group meetings of the CHP and the MHP. Our findings reveal that, over time, both leaders increasingly referred to the prime minister in proportion to the ruling party. Between the June 2011 parliamentary elections and the August 2014 presidential elections, Kilicdaroglu and Bahceli more frequently targeted Prime Minister Erdogan with personal insults such as 'separatist', 'dictator', and 'thief.' Specifically, we show that during the PKK Peace Process, the Gezi Park Protests, and the Corruption Scandal, Erdoganization reached its peak levels. The article's conceptual framework and empirical findings have implications for the broader literature on the role of opposition in personalized settings.