The Triumph of Conservative Globalism: The Political Economy of the AKP Era

27 Pages Posted: 13 Feb 2012

See all articles by Ziya Öniş

Ziya Öniş

Koc University - Department of International Relations

Date Written: February 10, 2012


The AKP, following its third successive electoral victory appears to be far more entrenched than its earlier center-right counterparts in Turkish politics. This article highlights key political economy fundamentals that have rendered the AKP experience unique in the Turkish context. Accordingly, strong economic performance in the context of “regulatory neo-liberalism” helped by a favorable global liquidity environment in the early parts of the decade was a key contributor to the party’s continued electoral success. The party also made effective use of a variety of formal and informal redistributive mechanisms, which I call “controlled neo-populism”, to enlarge its electoral coalition. Furthermore, the fact that Turkey did not suffer a typical old-style economic crisis in the context of the global turmoil of 2008-2009 was important for the AKP’s electoral fortunes. Concomitantly, the AKP government was quite effective in managing the global financial crisis politically and it took advantage of its assertive “new” foreign policy approach. Finally, this study argues that the AKP also benefited from the fragmented opposition.

Keywords: AKP era in Turkish politics, Social Neo-liberalism, controlled neo-populism, economic growth with single digit inflation, pro-active foreign policy

Suggested Citation

Onis, Ziya, The Triumph of Conservative Globalism: The Political Economy of the AKP Era (February 10, 2012). Available at SSRN: or

Ziya Onis (Contact Author)

Koc University - Department of International Relations ( email )

Rumelifeneri Yolu
Sariyer 80910, Istanbul
+90 212 338 1300 (Phone)
+90 212 338 1651 (Fax)


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