Explore the evolution of Turkey’s politics during times of uncertainty with these insights published by Carnegie.

The November 2015 Parliamentary Election

On November 1, more than 48 million Turkish citizens headed to the polls to cast their votes to choose the members of the Turkish Grand National Assembly for the second time in five months. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) won an overall majority of seats, allowing it to form a single-party government.

  • Strategic Europe
    Judy Asks: Can Democracy Be Rescued in Turkey?
    November 4, 2015

    Since the Gezi Park protests that erupted in May 2013, Turkish democracy has faced big challenges. For Turkey’s democratic renewal to succeed, the country desperately needs a push from the EU.

  • Strategic Europe
    How Will the EU Deal With Postelection Turkey?
    Marc Pierini November 3, 2015

    Turkey’s future will depend to a large extent on President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who remains the towering figure of the country’s politics.

  • Newsweek
    What the AKP’s Resounding Victory Means for Turkey’s Foreign Policy
    Sinan Ülgen November 3, 2015

    Backed strongly by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the AKP won the November parliamentary election. This victory will have significant repercussions for Turkey’s foreign policy.

  • Project Syndicate
    Erdoğan’s Second Chance
    Sinan Ülgen November 2, 2015

    The lesson from Turkey’s June and November elections is clear: the country’s voters want a strong, stable government, but not one that runs roughshod over its opponents.

    Media Call: Turkey’s High-Stakes Vote
    Marc Pierini and Sinan Ülgen November 2, 2015

    Carnegie Europe hosted a media call with Marc Pierini and Sinan Ülgen to discuss the outcome of the November 1 election and the possible scenarios for the country’s future.


The Road to the November 2015 Parliamentary Election

Turkey’s June 2015 parliamentary election failed to produce a clear result. Following a series of failed coalition talks led by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, on August 24 President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan called a fresh parliamentary election, which was held on November 1.

  • Q&A
    Turkey Votes, Again
    Marc Pierini, Sinan Ülgen October 27, 2015

    On November 1, Turkey held its second parliamentary election in just five months. As in the previous contest, the outcome proved tricky to predict.

  • Strategic Europe
    The Ankara Bombing Will Shift Turkey’s Foreign Policy Priorities
    Sinan Ülgen October 16, 2015

    The October 2015 terrorist attack in Ankara is likely to have major ramifications for both the domestic and the regional policies of the Turkish government.

  • Strategic Europe
    Judy Asks: Can the EU Do Business With Erdoğan?
    Judy Dempsey October 7, 2015

    Ten leading experts, from Turkey and elsewhere, examine whether Turkey and the European Union (EU) can work together.

  • New York Times
    Turkey Can’t Be Europe’s Gatekeeper
    Judy Dempsey October 1, 2015

    Turkey cannot be the solution for the European Union’s inability to act collectively to address the refugee crisis and develop policies to share the burden.

  • Strategic Europe
    Erdoğan’s Delicate Visit to Brussels
    Marc Pierini September 29, 2015

    The Turkish president’s October trip to the EU institutions came at a critical time for the international community, for the EU, and for Turkey.

  • Al Jazeera
    Would New Elections in Turkey Serve AKP?
    Sinan Ülgen August 19, 2015

    As Turkey headed toward a new election, Erdoğan bet on revived support to his Justice and Development Party (AKP). But wasn’t that a gamble?

  • Strategic Europe
    Two Crucial Tests for Turkey
    Marc Pierini July 22, 2015

    Ankara faces two major challenges in the months ahead: forming a new government and participating effectively in the fight against the self-proclaimed Islamic State militants.

  • New York Times
    Turkey at a Democratic Crossroad
    Sinan Ülgen June 17, 2015

    The prospect of a coalition government offered Turkey an opportunity to overhaul its political culture and inch the country toward becoming a genuinely liberal democracy.

  • Hürriyet Daily News
    After June 7, Is Turkey Closer to the EU?
    Marc Pierini June 15, 2015

    With the Turkish electorate overwhelmingly rejecting Erdoğan’s hyperpresidential style of politics, is it safe to say that Turkey is moving closer to the European Union?

  • Strategic Europe
    Turkey’s Postelection Future
    Marc Pierini, Sinan Ülgen June 9, 2015

    Turkey’s June 7 parliamentary election delivered a surprise result, with losses for the ruling party and gains for the main pro-Kurdish party. What happens next?


The June 2015 Parliamentary Election

On June 7, 2015, Turkey held an election to choose the 550 members of its parliament. The ruling AKP gained the most seats in the legislature but failed to secure an overall majority due to the success of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).

  • Sada
    What the HDP Success Means for Turkey
    Burcu Ozcelik June 11, 2015

    Turkey’s general elections showed the HDP had successfully broadened its voter base, but it was unclear how this would affect negotiations to form a parliamentary coalition.

  • Project Syndicate
    Turkey’s Critical Election
    Sinan Ülgen June 2, 2015

    Turkish elections have been boring since the AKP came to power in 2002. But the June 2015 vote was different: the outcome was unpredictable, and the stakes could have hardly been higher.

  • Q&A
    Turkey’s Game-Changing Election
    Sinan Ülgen, Marc Pierini May 29, 2015

    Turkey’s parliamentary election marked a pivotal moment for the country’s future. Yet for the first time in over a decade, the outcome was clouded in uncertainty.

  • Sada
    Kurds’ Electoral Gamble
    Mustafa Gurbuz February 24, 2015

    Kurds will benefit from the HDP’s decision to run as a party in Turkey’s parliamentary elections, but the party will bear most of the risk.


The August 2014 Presidential Election

Turkey held a presidential election on August 10, 2014. Following changes to the constitution enacted in 2007, the head of state was elected for the first time by direct national vote rather than by the members of the Turkish parliament. The AKP’s Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, previously Turkey’s prime minster, was elected president.

  • Hürriyet Daily News
    The West and President Erdoğan
    Marc Pierini August 14, 2014

    Now that Erdoğan has won the Turkish presidency, the question is how he will restore Turkey’s relationship with its allies and what the future of Turkish foreign policy will be.

  • Financial Times
    Erdoğan Is the Victor but He Is Not Yet Almighty
    Sinan Ülgen August 11, 2014

    Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s transition to president of Turkey was a turning point in the nation’s politics. Looking ahead, down which path will he lead the country?

  • National Interest
    Sleepless in Ankara: The Post-Erdoğan Government’s Big Challenges
    Sinan Ülgen August 4, 2014

    Turkey directly elected a president for the first time in its history. Will the new government be able to pull Turkey out of its slump and mend relations with the West?

  • World Policy Blog
    Race for the Turkish Presidency
    Bayram Balci July 3, 2014

    By choosing Ekmeleddin Ihsanoğlu as its joint presidential candidate, the Turkish opposition has shown that it can offer hope and appeal to the broader Turkish population.

  • World Policy Blog
    Turkey Faces Possible Erdoğan Presidency
    Bayram Balci June 6, 2014

    Erdoğan will have enough political votes and support to win Turkey’s presidential election, but not enough legitimacy to run an incredible dynamic and diverse Turkish society.

  • Strategic Europe
    Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: Turkey’s President-in-Waiting?
    Marc Pierini May 7, 2014

    What sort of head of state will Recep Tayyip Erdoğan be?


The March 2014 Local Elections

On March 30, 2014, Turkey held local elections to choose mayors and members of district councils. The ruling AKP won the greatest share of the vote and the highest number of mayors and councillors, yet Erdoğan came under increasing scrutiny.

  • Strategic Europe
    What Next After Turkey’s Local Elections?
    Sinan Ülgen April 4, 2014

    The result of the municipal elections in Turkey was a clear endorsement of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s leadership. But the vote also raises a number of tough long-term questions.

  • Project Syndicate
    Erdoğan’s Pyrrhic Victory
    Sinan Ülgen April 3, 2014

    After winning the local elections, Erdoğan may opt to lower the political temperature at home in the hope of repairing the country’s frayed relations abroad.

  • Strategic Europe
    Victory at Home, Estrangement Abroad
    Marc Pierini April 1, 2014

    The local elections in Turkey were a big victory for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on the domestic scene, but they have dented his standing internationally.

  • Financial Times
    Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Shallow Version of Democracy Will Falter
    Sinan Ülgen March 27, 2014

    Turkey’s local elections on March 30 were a contest between two visions of democracy. The outcome will have serious implications for the future of democratic freedoms.

  • Strategic Europe
    Judy Asks: Is Erdoğan Abandoning Democracy?
    Judy Dempsey March 26, 2014

    Seven experts look at political trends in Turkey to determine whether or not Erdoğan has been moving away from democratic principles.


This page was last updated on November 6, 2015.