How populists securitize elections to win them: the 2015 double elections in Turkey

Osman Sahin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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This study presents a new theoretical framework for understanding one of the ways in which populists generate support in elections. It argues that populist movements securitize elections by triggering perceptions of ontological insecurity among voters. Through this strategy, populist movements amplify voters’ negative image of the country they live in and the challenges they face, which contributes to populist movements’ electoral success. Building upon this theoretical framework, this study offers an explanation for the 2015 double general elections in Turkey. The Justice and Development Party ( Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi , AKP) experienced disappointment after losing its parliamentary majority in the June 2015 elections. However, the AKP increased its votes by 8.6 percent in the November 2015 elections. Between these two elections, the AKP had used the Kurdish question to trigger perceptions of ontological insecurity, which enabled it to securitize the elections in November. This strategy helped the AKP win the November elections.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-30
Number of pages24
JournalNew Perspectives on Turkey
Early online date11 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - May 2021


  • populism
  • Turkey
  • ontological insecurity
  • securitization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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