Chapter 2. The short political history of Turkey and the AKP

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The main focus in this chapter will be on identifying the historical heritage ofTurkish politics by concentrating on the two main political parties in order toprovide basic contextual information to the reader. But there is a further aimof taking political history into account. In accordance with understandingdiscourse as both a constitutive and a constituent element of social reality ina dialectic way (Wodak, 2001), looking at the institutional and societal backgroundgives us some hints about the possible limiting or sustaining effects ofpolitical history on political actors and their discourses.Thus, one should look at the historical context in which the AKP positionsitself according to changing social and political circumstances. When it comesto the interpretation of the history, AKP sticks to a particular historical narrativeamong others to weaken the opposition. The political history of the partiesalso reveals the constant conflicts between different ideologies which reflectpolicymaking preferences in Turkey. Hence, the emphasis will be on the mainpremises of these ideologies, their interpretation of the world and their evolutionby examining the CHP (Republican People’s Party) which has dominatedthe parliamentary opposition and the AKP (The Justice and DevelopmentParty) which has dominated government as a single party since 2002. Thereare two main reasons for taking the history of the CHP into account, althoughthe party’s discourse is not analyzed in this book. Firstly, the CHP’s history hasshaped overall Turkish political history since it became the founder party of theTurkish Republic and ruled the country as a single party until 1950. Secondly,AKP discourses heavily rely on the criticism of the CHP, and so in order toevaluate the relevance of arguments and historical references later in the analysis,the reader needs to know more about this party and its historical evolution.


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