Embattled ballots, quiet streets: Competitive authoritarianism and dampening anti-government protests in Turkey

Date
2022-09-16
Advisor
Supervisor
Co-Advisor
Co-Supervisor
Instructor
Source Title
South European Society and Politics
Print ISSN
1743-9612
Electronic ISSN
1360-8746
Publisher
Routledge
Volume
26
Issue
4
Pages
489 - 515
Language
English
Type
Article
Journal Title
Journal ISSN
Volume Title
Series
Abstract

Mass protests frequently occur in electoral autocracies. However, the opposite is true in Turkey, despite mounting grievances and a strong opposition presence with institutional resources. We argue that competitive authoritarian regimes, a subset of electoral autocracies, may dampen mass protests, allowing the opposition an opportunity to defeat the incumbents through elections. Studying Turkey’s main opposition party, we identify three mechanisms that show how politicians strategically respond to the regime’s incentives and constraints leading to protest-averse behaviour. First, the regime’s repression capacity discourages the opposition from openly supporting a mass protest. Second, the opposition learns to target the median voter, which leads to political moderation and protest averseness. Finally, prospective electoral success reinforces the opposition’s commitment to a ballot-centred approach.

Course
Other identifiers
Book Title
Keywords
Opposition, Electoral autocracy, Elections, Repression, CHP, Political elites, AKP, Authoritarian regimes
Citation
Published Version (Please cite this version)