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The 2007 Elections and Parliamentary Elites in Turkey: The Emergence of a New Political Class?

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This essay analyzes the impact of the 2007 elections in Turkey on the structure of the parliamentary elites. The article begins with an examination of the recent trends in turnover rates. The electoral earthquake of 2002 resulted in the highest turnover in modern Turkish politics. In 2007, the turnover rate declined to 59.3 percent as a result of the relative stabilization of party competition. In the subsequent sections of the essay, the data on the social backgrounds of the deputies with respect to age, gender, occupation, education, and knowledge of the Arabic language are examined. The analysis reveals some notable differences as well as similarities between the political parties that entered the Grand National Assembly in 2007. Of particular importance is the fact that 73 out of 341 AKP deputies know Arabic, presumably as a result of their training at the Imam-Hatip schools. The essay concludes with the observation that the AKP's decisive electoral victories in 2002 and 2007 have facilitated the rise of a new political class of parliamentary elites in Turkey.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Sabancı University, Istanbul, Turkey

Publication date: June 1, 2008

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