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Attitudinal Orientation to Party Organizations in Turkey in the 2000s

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The Turkish party system experienced a serious blow in the early 1980s, when the military government in power closed down all the former legal political parties. Therefore, little evidence of strong psychological ties between voters and the political parties they supported at the polls is expected. This essay draws upon existing literature on voting behavior to develop four hypotheses to explain partisan affiliations of Turkish voters. Each of the hypotheses is then put to empirical tests, using data collected by means of a nationally representative survey. The four independent variables used in the four hypotheses are the role of parents' party identification (socialization), ideological orientations, economic expectations, and the ethnic identities of voters. Socialization emerges as a major determinant of partisan affiliation with the relatively older Republican People's Party (CHP) and Nationalist Action Party (MHP), while identifiers with the governing Justice and Development Party (AKP) take few cues from their parents and pay more attention to the economic performance of that party in government. Ideology seems to play a major role in determining the psychological orientations of those who feel attached to the CHP versus the AKP or the MHP but little role in differentiating AKP from MHP voters. Ethnicity only plays a role in partisan affiliation with the MHP.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Political Science, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, Sabancı University, Istanbul, Turkey

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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