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 AKP experienced disappointment after losing its parliamentary majority in the June 2015 elections. However, the AKP increased its votes by 8.6% 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.
- ontological insecurity