Polarization in Party System and the Case of the Turkish Party System

Kiris H. M.

AMME IDARESI DERGISI, vol.44, no.4, pp.33-67, 2011 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 44 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.33-67
  • Süleyman Demirel University Affiliated: Yes


The purpose of this study is to explain the developments in Turkish party system by using the polarization variable. The concept of polarization refers to the grouping of opinions around two extremes. Despite the existence of polarization in each two or multi-party systems, the increase in polarization in a party system points to deep differences between the political parties in terms of discourses and policies. The polarization of parties in Turkey has been basically formed on the political structure inherited from the Ottoman period. This effect has been discussed by approaches such as center-periphery and historic bloc. Nevertheless, especially the end of single party rule in 1950, a new constitutional system established after the coup in 1960, transformations in the world and Turkey in the post-1980 have also become a decisive influence on the party system. The 2000s have been marked as the period, during which identity- based polarizations prevailed in Turkey. The Secularists-Islamists, Turkish Nationalists-Kurdish Ethnic Nationalists and Alevis-Sunnis have come into prominence as the main identity-based polarization.