The Nexus of Leadership, Political Empowerment, and Social Mobilization: The Case of the July 15 Coup Attempt in Turkey

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INSIGHT TURKEY, vol.22, no.2, pp.151-175, 2020 (ESCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 22 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2020
  • Doi Number: 10.25253/99.2020222.10
  • Journal Name: INSIGHT TURKEY
  • Journal Indexes: Emerging Sources Citation Index (ESCI), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, ABI/INFORM, Index Islamicus, MLA - Modern Language Association Database, Political Science Complete, Sociological abstracts, vLex, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.151-175
  • Abdullah Gül University Affiliated: Yes


This study analyzes the mutually empowering relations between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his followers, and how Erdogan's charismatic leadership and image functioned to galvanize his followers on the night of July 15, 2016, when large numbers of them mobilized against the attempted coup. The article has three sections. The first is a theoretical discussion which sheds light on the concept and the underlying mechanisms of political empowerment and its effects on the relationships between leaders and followers. The second section evaluates Erdogan's characteristics and ruling style, which was instrumental in motivating resistance to the abortive coup. Finally, the third section analyzes the various means by which Erdogan was able to inspire the masses to mobilize against the armed junta through interviews and observations.