Comparative Politics

Party Politics in Turkey

A third line of work aims at empirically assess the policy positions of the Turkish political parties regarding the recent ‘Kurdish opening’, i.e. the AKP government’s accelerated reforms of human rights legislation to improve the situation of the Kurdish population in Southeastern Turkey. Since 2009, the Turkish military has been continuing to counter terrorist activities in the Southeast, while at the same time the government has initiated its Kurdish opening process by carrying the discussions into the public realm with the stated aim to improve the legal and economic situation of Turkey’s Kurds. As the democratization process continues, the AKP government has accelerated reforms by introducing so-called Harmonization Packages on the issues of both human rights legislation and on civil-military relations, i.e. the extent to which military strategy is guided by the government. In our paper, we analyze the policy positions of the Turkish political parties regarding the Kurdish opening process. Using text analysis, we analyze group speeches delivered by political party leaders in the Turkish Parliament and contrast these with statements made by the PKK. The aim is to better understand the political process by adequately representing its ‘dimensionality’, i.e. the nature of the issues at stake, and to gauge the proximity of the different political actors regarding these issues.