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Policy Analysis

Policy Notes 25

Can Erdogan Stay at the Helm?

Soner Cagaptay

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May 2015


Turkey's next parliamentary vote is set for June 7, and if predictions hold, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) will continue a run of dominance that began in 2002.

Important issues remain, nonetheless. If the Kurdish nationalist Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) crosses the 10-percent electoral threshold necessary for parliamentary representation, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's quest to transform Turkey into a presidential system could become complicated. Other unknowns surround the fate of the conservative Nationalist Action Party (MHP) and the leftist People's Republican Party (CHP), which has made some progress in recent years but failed to outpoll the AKP.

In his latest Policy Note, Soner Cagaptay examines the shifts in Turkey's political landscape that facilitated the AKP's rise and discusses the challenges that await Erdogan. For context, he compares Turkey's dominant-party system to similar cases in Mexico and Japan, among others. Moreover, he recommends steps for Washington, given Turkey's regional importance and its role in helping the United States defeat the Islamic State.

THE AUTHOR

Soner Cagaptay, the Beyer Family Fellow and director of the Turkish Research Program at The Washington Institute, is the author, most recently, of  The Rise of Turkey: The Twenty-First Century’s First Muslim Power (Potomac Books), named by the Foreign Policy Association as one of the ten most important books of 2014.