Does housing create votes? Explaining the electoral success of the AKP in Turkey

Marschall M., Aydogan A., Bulut A. T.

ELECTORAL STUDIES, vol.42, pp.201-212, 2016 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 42
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.electstud.2016.02.010
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.201-212
  • Karadeniz Technical University Affiliated: Yes


In this paper we examine the rise and consolidation of the Justice and Development Party (Adelet ye Kalinma Partisi, AKP) by analyzing its success in local elections. Our examination of the durability of the AKP takes into. account existing explanations of Turkish electoral politics such as economic voting, center-periphery relations, and traditional party cleavages, as well as the clientelistic tendencies of Turkish parties. We argue that the intensification of neo-liberal economic policies encouraged the AKP to seek alternative sources for distributive politics, which it found in Turkey's Mass Housing Administration (TOKI). Using political, economic, and socio-demographic data for 900 municipal districts in Turkey, we empirically analyze the relationship between TOKI financed housing projects and the AKP's success in the three mayoral elections between 2004 and 2014. Our results show that while traditional explanations of Turkish party voting account for some of the AKP's success, distributive politics in the form of TOKI housing projects is a stronger predictor of the party's durability. (c) 2016 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.