Chapter 1. Introduction

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It is more than a decade since the AKP (Justice and Development Party) cameto power as a single political party in Turkey in 2002. Irrespective of whocriticizes or appreciates its policy preferences and their implementation, manywould agree that, going beyond its institutional existence, this party, which hasits roots in political Islamic tradition,1 symbolizes a new era in Turkish politics,in the sense that the socioeconomic structure of the country has changed immenselyin favour of the current needs of global markets and politics, respectively(Şen, 2010). Although the transformation is an ongoing process andstarted long before the party came to power (the adaptation to neoliberal capitalaccumulation and the societal effects of these policy preferences began in the1980s), the AKP has taken many initiatives to speed up the transformation.Alongside its political and financial power, the political discourse of the partyhas also been crucial in this process. The party has benefited from strategiclanguage use to create its political hegemony. It has sought to establish a discursivesphere which imposes neoliberal policymaking as the only way of makingprogress. This attempt to create discursive hegemony as part of a wider politicalhegemony attracted my interest and motivated me to further investigate thediscursive-strategic aspects of such policymaking in a systematic way, i.e. todecipher the actual content, direction and effects of policy practices.


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