Turkish Politics I (POLS 352)

2022 Fall
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
Political Science(POLS)
Berk Esen besen@sabanciuniv.edu,
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SPS101 SPS102
Formal lecture
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This course will focus on the problems of consolidation of democracy in Turkey. It will begin with an historical background and then delve into analyses of the structure of the parliament, political parties, the bureaucracy, the military, and the civil society.


The primary objective of the course is to enable the students to understand and analyze better the diversities and vicissitudes of political life, institutions and processes in Turkey. An equally significant aim of the course is to provide the students with the theoretical background and analytical tools to assess Turkish political development in the context of the field and discipline.


  • Identify concepts, issues and developments in Turkish politics.
  • Identify main institutions, political forces and groups, and parties, which interact in the Turkish political system.
  • Describe the relationships between governmental agencies, branches of government, constitutional and regime characteristics of Turkish politics.
  • Use the relevant literature, and follow the developments in the pertinent research areas.


1. Understand the world, their country, their society, as well as themselves and have awareness of ethical problems, social rights, values and responsibility to the self and to others. 4

2. Understand different disciplines from natural and social sciences to mathematics and art, and develop interdisciplinary approaches in thinking and practice. 2

3. Think critically, follow innovations and developments in science and technology, demonstrate personal and organizational entrepreneurship and engage in life-long learning in various subjects; have the ability to continue to educate him/herself. 2

4. Communicate effectively in Turkish and English by oral, written, graphical and technological means. 4

5. Take individual and team responsibility, function effectively and respectively as an individual and a member or a leader of a team; and have the skills to work effectively in multi-disciplinary teams. 1

1. Develop knowledge of theories, concepts, and research methods in humanities and social sciences. 4

2. Assess how global, national and regional developments affect society. 4

3. Know how to access and evaluate data from various sources of information. 5

1. Analyze global affairs from international relations and economics perspectives. 2

2. Demonstrate theoretical and practical knowledge of the international affairs. 2

3. Compete for increasing opportunities in careers within the newly emerging global institutions. 2

4. Evaluate the international political events and present their views and positions on international affairs with advanced oral and written skills. 1

1. To analyze national and global events from various social science perspectives. 3

2. To demonstrate theoretical and practical knowledge on political science and international relations and to state views and positions with advanced oral and written skills. 3

3. To compete for increasing career opportunities in national and global institutions. 3

4. To (be able to) understand and follow the changes in political behaviours, opinions and structures. 4

5. To gain the ability to make logical inferences on social and political issues based on comparative and historical knowledge. 4

1. Understand and follow changes in patterns of political behavior, ideas and structures. 4

2. Develop the ability to make logical inferences about social and political issues on the basis of comparative and historical knowledge. 5


  Percentage (%)
Final 35
Midterm 30
Term-Paper 20
Participation 15





Week 1: Introduction: Ottoman Legacy

Kalaycıoğlu, Ersin. (2005). Turkish Dynamics: Bridge across Troubled Lands, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan): pp. 15 - 43.
Zürcher, Erik J. (2005). ?How Europeans adopted Anatolia and created Turkey?. European Review 13 (3): 379-394.
Meper, Metin. (1985). The State Tradition in Turkey. North Humberside: Eothen Press. Ch. 1 & 4.
Akgu?ndu?z, Ahmet. (1998). ?Migration to and from Turkey, 1783?1960: Types, numbers and ethno?religious dimensions". Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 24 (1): 97-120.

Week 2: Single Party and Kemalist Reforms

Karpat, Kemal. (1991) ?The Republican People?s Party: 1923-1945?, in M. Heper and J. Landau (eds.), Political Parties and Democracy in Turkey (London: İ.B. Tauris). Ch. 4.
Esen, Berk. (2014). ?Nation-Building, Party-Strength, and Regime Consolidation: Kemalism in Comparative Perspective?. Turkish Politics. 15 (4): 600-620.
Kalaycıoğlu, Ersin. (2005). Turkish Dynamics: Bridge across Troubled Lands, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005): pp. 45-66.
Metinsoy, Murat. (2011). ?Fragile Hegemony, Flexible Authoritarianism, and Governing from Below: Politicians? Reports in Early Republican Turkey?. International Journal of Middle East Studies 43 (4): 699-719.

Week 3: Multiparty Competition (I)

Karaömerlioğlu, Asım. (2006). ?Turkey?s Return to Multi-party Politics: A Social Interpretation?. East European Quarterly 40 (1): 89 -107.
Sunar, İlkay. (1990). ?Populism and patronage: The Democrat party and its legacy in Turkey? Il Politico anno LV (4): 745-57
Kalaycıoğlu, Ersin (2005). Turkish Dynamics: Bridge across Troubled Lands, (New York: Palgrave Macmillan): pp. 67-90.
Week 4: Multiparty Competition (II)
Zürcher, Eric J. (2004). Turkey: A Modern History (I.B. Tauris), pp. 245-277.
Esen, Berk. (2021). ?Praetorian army in action: a critical assessment of civil?military relations in Turkey?. Armed Forces & Society 47 (1): 201-222.
Karpat, Kemal. (1967). ?Socialism and the Labor Party of Turkey?. Middle East Journal 21 (2): 157-172.
Levi, Avner. (2016). ?The Justice Party, 1961-1980?. in Political parties and democracy in Turkey (Routledge), pp. 134-151.
Aytürk, İlker., & Esen, Berk. (2021). ?The Far Right, Labor Unions, and the Working Class in Turkey since the 1960s?. The Middle East Journal 75 (4): 511-531.

Week 5: Post-1980 Politics (I)

Kalaycıoglu, Ersin. (2005). Turkish Dynamics, Bridge Across Troubled Lands, (Palgrave Macmillan), pp.125-137.
Cizre-Sakallıoğlu, Ümit. & Yeldan, Erinç. (2000). ?Politics, Society and Liberalization: Turkey in the 1990s? Development and Change, 31(2): 481-508.
Eligür, Banu. (2010). The mobilization of political Islam in Turkey. Cambridge University Press. Ch. 3.

Week 6: Post-1980 Politics (II) AKP Years

Aytaç, S. Erdem; Öniş, Ziya. (2014). ?Varieties of Populism in a Changing Global Context: The Divergent Paths of Erdoğan and Kirchnerismo? Comparative Politics, 47 (1): pp. 41-59.
Esen, Berk., & Gumuscu, Sebnem. (2016). ?Rising competitive authoritarianism in Turkey?. Third World Quarterly, 37 (9): 1581-1606.
Baykan, Toygar. (2018). The justice and development party. In: Turkey: Populism, personalism, organization. Cambridge University Press. Selected pages.
Karataşlı, Şahan S., & Kumral, Şefika (2022). ?Crisis of capitalism and cycles of right?wing populism in contemporary Turkey: The making and unmaking of Erdoğanist hegemony?. Journal of Agrarian Change. pp. 1-25.


Week 7: Civil-Military Relations and Military Coups

Sarigil, Zeki. (2014). ?The Turkish military: principal or agent?? Armed Forces & Society 40 (1): 168-190.
Yagci, Alper (2018). ?The Political Economy of Coups D?etat: A General Survey, and a Local Theory for Turkey,? Turkish Studies 19:1, 72-96.
Waldman, Simon., & Caliskan, Emre. (2020). Factional and unprofessional: Turkey?s military and the July 2016 attempted coup. Democracy and Security, 16 (2), 123-150.
Ozpek, Burak Bilgehan (2021). ?Civil-military relations in Turkey: patterns and Possibilities? in Jongerden, J. (Ed.). (2021). The Routledge Handbook on Contemporary Turkey. Routledge.

Week 8: Kurdish Politics

Ocakli, Feryaz. (2017). ?Politics in the Kurdish periphery: clan networks and local party strategies in a comparative perspective?. Middle Eastern Studies, 53 (4), 571-584.
Tezcür, Günes. (2015). ?Violence and nationalist mobilization: the onset of the Kurdish insurgency in Turkey?. Nationalities Papers, 43(2): 248?66.
Yeğen, Mesut (2021). Kurdish Nationalism in Turkey, 1898-2018. In: The Cambridge History of the Kurds, edited by Hamit Bozarslan, Cengiz Gunes, and Veli Yadirgi. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 311?33.
Tezcu?r, Gu?neş Murat and Gu?rses, Mehmet. (2017). ?Ethnic Exclusion and Mobilization: The Kurdish Conflict in Turkey?, Comparative Politics, 9 (2): 213-234.
Somer, Murat. (2008). ?Why aren't Kurds like the Scots and the Turks like the Brits? Moderation and democracy in the Kurdish question?. Cooperation and Conflict, 43(2), 220-249.

Week 9: Turkey's Struggle for Democratic Consolidation

Heper, Metin., & Keyman, Fuat. (1998). ?Double?faced state: political patronage and the consolidation of democracy in Turkey?. Middle Eastern Studies, 34(4), 259-277.
Arat, Yesim., & Pamuk, Şevket. (2019). Turkey between democracy and authoritarianism. Cambridge University Press. Selected pages.
Turan, İlter (2019). ?Turkey?s never-ending search for democracy?. In Özerdem, A., & Whiting, M. (Eds.). (2019). The Routledge handbook of Turkish politics. Routledge. pp. 27-36.
Kubicek, Paul (2020). ?Faulty Assumptions about Democratization in Turkey?, Middle East Critique, 29:3, 245-257.
Esen, Berk., & Gumuscu, Sebnem. (2021). ?Why did Turkish democracy collapse? A political economy account of AKP?s authoritarianism?. Party Politics, 27(6), 1075-1091.

Week 10: Political Economy of Development

Güven, Ali Burak. (2019). ?Political Economy.? In The Routledge Handbook of Turkish Politics, eds. Alpaslan Özerdem and Matthew Whiting. London: Routledge, pp.151-162.
Keyder, Caglar. (1979). The political economy of Turkish democracy. New Left Review, (115), 3-44.
Yadirgi, Veli. (2021). ?The Kurdish question in contemporary Turkey: A political economy perspective?. In The Routledge Handbook on Contemporary Turkey (pp. 282-296). Routledge.
Bugra, Ayse., & Candas, Aysen. (2011). ?Change and continuity under an eclectic social security regime: The case of Turkey?. Middle Eastern Studies, 47(3), 515-528.
Aytaç, Selim E. (2020). Economic voting during the akp era in Turkey. New York: Oxford University Press.

Week 11: Party System and Party Politics

Wuthrich, Michael. (2013). ?An Essential Center-Periphery Electoral Cleavage and the Turkish Party System.? International Journal of Middle East Studies 45 (4): 751?773.
Yardımcı-Geyikçi, Şebnem. (2018). ?Party system institutionalisation and democratic consolidation?. Party Politics in Turkey: A Comparative Perspective. Ch. 12.
Kalaycioglu, Ersin. (2019). ?Elections, Parties, and the Party System?. In Alpaslan Ozerdem and Matthew Whiting (eds.) The Routledge Handbook of Turkish Politics, London and New York: Routledge, pp. 83-102.
Sayarı, Sabri. (2018). ?The study of party politics in Turkey?. In Party Politics in Turkey (pp. 10-26). Routledge.
Massicard, Elise. (2021). ?Parties and politics in Turkey?. In The Routledge Handbook on Contemporary Turkey (Routledge): pp. 103-116.

Week 12: Religion, Conservatism and Islamist Politics

Cizre-Sakallioglu, Ümit. (1996). ?Parameters and strategies of Islam-state interaction in Republican Turkey?. International Journal of Middle East Studies, 28 (2): 231-251.
Gumuscu, Sebnem. (2010). ?Class, status, and party: The changing face of political Islam in Turkey and Egypt?. Comparative Political Studies, 43(7): 835?61.
White, Jenny. (2011). Islamist mobilization in Turkey: A study in vernacular politics. University of Washington Press. Selected pages.
Gumuscu, Sebnem. (2016). ?The clash of Islamists: The crisis of the Turkish state and democracy?. Contemporary Turkish Politics, 6, 6-11.
Aytürk, İlker., & Esen, Berk. (2021). ?The Far Right, Labor Unions, and the Working Class in Turkey since the 1960s?. The Middle East Journal, 75(4): 511-531.

Week 13: Migration and Urbanization

Erman, Tahire. (2021). ?Migration from rural Anatolia to metropolitan cities?. In The Routledge Handbook on Contemporary Turkey (Routledge): 347-359.
Içduygu, Ahmet. (2000). ?The politics of international migratory regimes: Transit migration flows in Turkey?. International Social Science Journal, 52(165), 357-367.
İçduygu, Ahmet., & Aksel, Damla. (2013). ?Turkish migration policies: A critical historical retrospective?. Perceptions: Journal of International Affairs, 18 (3): 167-190.
Kirişci, Kemal. (2007). ?Turkey: A country of transition from emigration to immigration?. Mediterranean politics, 12 (1): 91-97.

Week 14: Conclusion: quo vadis Turkish Politics

Esen, Berk. (2022). ?The Opposition Alliance in Turkey: A Viable Alternative to Erdoğan?? SWP Comment. https://www.swp-berlin.org/publikation/the-opposition-alliance-in-turkey-a-viable-alternative-to-erdogan
Esen, Berk. (2022). ?Post-2023 Election Scenarios in Turkey?. SWP Comment. Forthcoming