Turkish elections this Sunday

Turks head to the polls this Sunday for general elections. According to a recent Pew survey, there doesn’t seem to be any reason to suspect broad dissatisfaction with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). 

For those who are interested, The Economist has a good guide here, but it’s in Flash.

My own research suggests that Turkey is developing a non-elite political culture that is quite happy with the AKP. Ryan Kennedy, my mentor at the University of Houston, and I wrote a couple of papers earlier this year analyzing public opinion in Turkey with respect to foreign policy attitudes by party (under review, abstract here). The final paragraph:

The refutation of axis theory suggests that Turkey is not allying with the US’s primary geopolitical competitors. Greater antipathy towards the US and the EU, however, is not unproblematic, even if it does not mean greater support for Iran or other actors. Indeed, contrary to rosier analyses, it seems that the attitude that “A Turk has no friends other than a Turk” still carries currency (Aktay 2010). Similarly, greater nationalism may still lead Turkey to distance itself from NATO or abandon its elusive quest for EU membership, much as Gaullism led France to abandon NATO (Taşpınar 2011b). Even with these risks, the policy recommendations of axis theory supporters, to marginalize Turkey as punishment for recent actions, would likely be counter-productive. Given the broad cohesiveness we observe in the Turkish electorate, it is likely that Turkish foreign policy will continue on a trend toward autonomy no matter which party wins a plurality of votes in the upcoming elections in June.