Following Turkey’s November 2015 parliamentary election, four political parties are represented in the Turkish legislature: the Justice and Development Party, the Republican People’s Party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party, and the Nationalist Movement Party (see figure 1).
Justice and Development Party (AKP)
The Justice and Development Party is a socially conservative political party. It advocates for a liberal market economy and a foreign policy that prioritizes Turkey’s regional role. The AKP favors a strong centralized leadership for the country and advocates a presidential system of government.
The AKP was established in 2001 by a number of politicians including Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s current president, who was prime minister from 2003 to 2014. The party came to power following a landslide win in the 2002 parliamentary election. The AKP held an overall majority of seats in the Turkish parliament from November 2002 to June 2015 and has done so again since November 2015. The party has 317 members of parliament.
The leader of the AKP is Ahmet Davutoğlu, who has been prime minister of Turkey since 2014. He previously served as minister of foreign affairs from 2009 to 2014.
Republican People’s Party (CHP)
Established in 1923, the Republican People’s Party is a social-democratic political party. It is Turkey’s oldest party and currently the main opposition in the Turkish parliament, in which it has 134 seats. The center-left CHP stresses its close ties to the era of Turkey’s first president, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, and aims to defend the fundamental Kemalist values of republicanism and secularism.
The CHP’s party leader is Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who was elected to office in May 2010. He has been a member of parliament since 2002.
Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP)
Established in 2012 as the political wing of the Peoples’ Democratic Congress, a union of left-wing political organizations, the People’s Democratic Party is situated on the left of the Turkish political landscape.
The party represents in particular the interests of Turkey’s Kurdish minority. The HDP centers its election program on minority rights and on support for the Kurdish peace process. The HDP describes itself as an environmentalist and anticapitalist party that opposes nuclear power and vows to improve workers’ rights. It stresses the importance of equality between men and women.
The HDP has 59 seats in the parliament. The party’s leadership is composed of two co-chairs, Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP)
Established in 1965, the Nationalist Movement Party is a far-right political party. The MHP has become slightly more moderate in recent years but remains particularly nationalist. The party does not support Turkey’s possible membership in the European Union. The MHP is extremely critical of Kurdish demands for further autonomy and opposes the peace process between the Turkish government and the insurgent Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
The MHP has 40 seats in the Turkish parliament. The party has been led since 1997 by Devlet Bahçeli, who has also been a member of parliament since 2007. He previously served as deputy prime minister from 1999 to 2002.
In the November 2015 parliamentary election, a total of twelve parties fielded candidates but failed to secure representation in the legislature.
This page was last updated on November 6, 2015.