Party-voter congruence in Turkish politics: the ivory tower argument tested

Inan M.

Parliaments, Estates and Representation/Parlements, États et Représentation , vol.39, no.3, 2019 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 39 Issue: 3
  • Publication Date: 2019
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/02606755.2019.1705521
  • Journal Name: Parliaments, Estates and Representation/Parlements, États et Représentation
  • Abdullah Gül University Affiliated: Yes


‘Ivory tower’ is frequently used phrase when Turkish executive politicians question the representativeness of other parties or their members. The intention of this claim is to provoke other parties into a discussion about the legitimacy of the targeted party. This research aims to shed a light on the problem of party-voter congruence in Turkish politics, which has important implications for the representativeness of Turkish political parties. Comparing the three major political parties in Turkey; the current study investigates to what extent these political parties’ manifesto documents, fail to connect with their constituencies’ policy positions on four prominent issues in Turkish politics: Left-right political positioning, democratic support, support for the military, and support for a controlled economy. Party level Manifesto Project data and aggregated individual level World Values Survey (WVS) data were combined for the analysis of this research and analysed by using a series of Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression analysis. The findings suggest that the ivory tower claim is largely correct for all three political parties investigated. Finally, these findings also have important implications for the legitimacy of the Turkish democratic political system.