The Logic of Political Survival in Turkish Politics
: The Case of AKP

  • Caglar Ezikoglu

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The thesis aims at exploring the logic of political survival in Turkish politics with analysing the case of Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi-AKP). This study consists of two stages. The research methodology and
literature review of this research are examined in the first stage of this study. First, the literature of explanations concerning the logic of political survival in politics is explored. In the following section, case study analysis and elite interview methods are examined and reveal how they are combined in this study.

The second stage is to explore the logic of political survival in Turkish politics with the AKP case by empirical evidence. This study also uses evidence from elite interviews, party documents, public speeches, and developments and changes for exploring AKP’s political survival in the next chapters. This evidence indicates that there are four independent variables of dependent variable which is AKP’s political survival; -- the legitimization of AKP’s conservatism (2002-2007), AKP’s power struggle with Kemalist elites (2007-2011), AKP’s populism and authoritarianism (2011-2014) and the instrumentalisation of Islamism and nationalism under Erdogan’s leadership (2014-2018) -- within the AKP’s four terms. In other words, this research offers a cause-and-effect mechanism between the four different policy approaches of the AKP’s four periods and the AKP’s political survival.

Indeed, the AKP has been the most successful political party at the point of ensuring political survival throughout its 16-year rule. In the literature, there are few studies analysing the 16-year rule of AKP government integrally. As a result of this limitation, the original contribution of this research is that it offers a holistic approach of the AKP government between 2002 and 2018 with using the concept of political survival which is not explored for the AKP case in the literature.

Note: interviewees have been anonymised where requested and sample blank consent forms are available below.
Date of Award2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Aberystwyth University
SupervisorJames Vaughan (Supervisor), Mustapha Pasha (Supervisor) & Ayla Gol (Supervisor)


  • political survival
  • Turkish politics
  • AKP
  • Islamism
  • Nationalism

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