The Turkish political landscape is one that has exemplified notable transitions and dynamism of political parties with their diverse political and economic ideologies. Not only have there been several political outfits and grouping through the democratic history of Turkey and especially outside the military rule, but such political parties have been short-lived (Erdoğan & Ünal, 2013). As much as registered political inclinations have shown short existence life both in the far and recent past, a few notable parties have left, and some continue to leave a political and economic mark on the land of the Turks. One of such parties is the Motherland Party formerly abbreviated as ANAP, which stands for Anavatan Partisi and currently abbreviated as ANAVATAN (Kalaycıoglu, 2002). Another of the most prominent party in Turkish political history is the Justice and Development Party abbreviated as AKP, which stands for Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi (Carroll, 2004). The scope of Turkish politics is vast. However, the purpose of this paper to is to approach the history of politics in Turkey by comparing and contrasting past regimes under the rulerships of ANAP and AKP Governments, especially regarding the economic policies they follow or followed and the electoral alliances they represent or represented.
To Start with the Motherland party, it is important to note that the ANAP party was the first party to reign in Turkey post-the-military ruler-ship of from September 1980 to the civilian election of 1983. The party through its leader and the Turkish Prime Minister Turgut Özal exemplified stellar performance in improving the economy and cutting down on inflation by a considerable margin that won him and the party the position of a formidable Turkish political outfit (Selami & Eray, 2012). Özal ruled Turkey as the prime minister for eight years winning the hearts of many. The party managed to rule as a single party rather than a coalition the whole time of its reign past the 1983 civil elections (Kalaycıoglu, 2002). The ANAP party enjoyed support from the business community and in particular the private sector because of their purported sound economic leadership. Under the guidance of Özal, the Motherland Party promoted the policy of economic liberalism to steer economic development especially within the four years of its reign (1983-1987) (Kalaycıoglu, 2002). The rationality not only promoted export-led economic growth, but it also supported the opening up of Turkish markets to international competition and foreign traders. The party and its leadership believed in the ideology of benefits of global markets when it comes to trade.
The ANAP party subscribes to the center-right wing orientation. Özal served as the county’s prime minister from 1983-1989, after which he acted as the president from 1989 until his death in office in the year 1993. After the death of Özal in his position in the year 1993, Mr. Suleyman Demirel of the True Path Party succeeded him as the president. Following the period after the dislodging of the Motherland Party from power, the outfit has not been able to return to its original form. To survive the dynamic political environment, it has tried more than once to enter into coalitions with other parties such as the True Path Party and the Democratic Party, which has not borne fruit in putting it back to the political echelons it achieved in the immediate period after the end of the military rule.
Similarly, the Justice and Development Party have had its share in contributing to the politics of the nation of Turkey including being the ruling party in the current regime under the presidency of His Excellency Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Just like the original ANAP party AKP subscribes to a free market economic policy in which it encouraged international competition in its local market as well as the push for the country to join the European Union (Kutlugun & Akcay, 2016). Upon its ascension to power, the regime helped the country to rise from negative economic growth including a turnaround from a fiscal deficit as well as encouraging privatization and structural transformation (Karagöl, 2013). Formed in the year 2001 under the leadership of the current president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the AKP party has been in power to date since it won elections in the year 2002. The party enjoyed a majority rule by a single party after the win of the 2002 general elections (Sayari, 2007). Regarding political affiliations and coalitions, AKP absorbed the People’s Voice Party, which was a conservative-oriented party in the year 2012 in a bid to strengthen its influence in the political arena.
In summary, the two Turkish political parties discussed in this paper have exhibited almost similar trends concerning their political ideologies and economic policies. Both the two sides have engaged in political mergers through the course of their existence. The two parties have also exemplified the belief in a free market, opening up their borders for cross-border trade and allowing foreign traders to conduct business with its citizens through both import and export oriented business. In other words, the two parties have shaped the political and economic landscape of Turkey in an almost equal measure.
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