In the last couple of elections, it was believed that young voter support for the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) was lower than the support the ruling political party received from the general electorate. In the election surveys conducted by the GENAR Research Institute, we ascertained that the AK Party's share of votes had been 10 percent lower among young voters in comparison to its overall electoral success.
This issue had widely been discussed among the AK Party's political cadre. The problem was simple: "As the AK Party encouraged many young people to participate in politics in its foundation phase, the ruling party's political image must have been damaged among the young voters." It was argued, in this respect, that the AK Party's political discourse built the story of its success on the failure of its predecessors. In comparison to the preceding interregnum, Turkey's economic growth and political stability since 2002 had been praised. Yet, present young voters, who have no idea to differentiate between the old and the new Turkey, evaluate the AK Party's political success in its own right. Last but not least, many argued that the AK Party's political ideology could not mobilize young voters in our present age when individualism predominates.
In research we conducted within the province of Kocaeli shortly before the general elections of Oct. 1, 2015, we surprisingly detected that young voter support for the AK Party was much higher than the support the ruling party received from other age groups. When we questioned their electoral success a
mong the young (18-24 age range) electorate, the mayor of Kocaeli emphasized their multifarious policies on young people. From cultural and art activities to social and educational support (including scholarships, vacation schools and technological donations such as providing laptop computers to final year students), Kocaeli's municipality realized a series of concrete policies particularly for young people. We observed a similar trend in many other provinces, including Ordu, Samsun, Istanbul and Adapazarı.
In the previous elections, the share of votes of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Kurdish nationalist People's Democratic Party (HDP) has always been higher among young voters in comparison to their overall electoral success. Now, we are observing that young voter support for the AK Party is currently on the rise. Here is a list of reasons that explains the AK Party's ongoing popularity among young voters:
First and foremost, since the attempted coup d'état of July 15, nationalist sentiments have predominated in Turkish society due to the natural instinct of protecting the homeland against military interventions and occupations.
Moreover, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's return to the leadership of the AK Party has created a new wave of enthusiasm among Turkey's youth. The patriotic discourse of Erdoğan, formulated as "one nation, one flag, one homeland, one state" by the Rabia sign, especially mobilizes the young segments of society.
Finally, Turkey's rightful struggle against terrorist organizations positively influences the country's young electorate. As Turkey is the heir of the Ottoman Empire, our success against terrorist organizations in the country and abroad especially fascinates young people among many others segments of society.
In addition, the AK Party's electoral alliance with the MHP also contributes to the rise of young voter support for the ruling party as the MHP has a wide electoral support among the Turkish youth.
Regardless, the ongoing rise of young voter support for the AK Party is a new situation that requires further research and reconsideration.
Please click to read our informative text prepared pursuant to the Law on the Protection of Personal Data No. 6698 and to get information about the cookies used on our website in accordance with the relevant legislation.
6698 sayılı Kişisel Verilerin Korunması Kanunu uyarınca hazırlanmış aydınlatma metnimizi okumak ve sitemizde ilgili mevzuata uygun olarak kullanılan çerezlerle ilgili bilgi almak için lütfen tıklayınız.