The Political Economy of Turkey's Justice and Development Party

34 Pages Posted: 2 Feb 2005

See all articles by Ziya Öniş

Ziya Öniş

Koc University - Department of International Relations

Date Written: November 4, 2004


The paper embodies three broad objectives. The first objective is to uncover the economic foundations of the JDP's dramatic electoral success in November 2002. The following elements deserve emphasis in this context. (a) The party constitutes a cross-class alliance incorporating into its orbit both winners and losers from the neo-liberalization process. Business support, notably from small and medium-sized business units falling under the umbrella of the nation-wide business association, MUSIAD, constitutes a crucial element of the JDP's electoral support. Yet, business support constitutes only one element of the party's electoral success. (b) The superior performance of JDP'S predecessors, the Welfare and the Virtue Parties, at the level of municipal governments is another element of key importance. (c) The failures of conventional parties of either the center-right or the center-left in achieving sustained and equitable economic growth, avoiding costly financial crises and tackling the problem of pervasive corruption have also paved the way for the party's unprecedented electoral success in the recent era.

The second broad objective is to provide a critical assessment of the JDP government's performance on the economic front, with the qualification that a proper assessment would require a longer time frame. Focusing on the party's relations with the IMF, an attempt will made to evaluate the achievements and limitations of the JDP government to date with respect to the implementation of the economic program in the realm of fiscal adjustment and longer-term economic reforms. Looking towards the future, the paper will also consider some of the problems that the JDP government faces in establishing a sustained, equitable and crisis-free trajectory of economic growth in Turkey in the next few years.

The third broad objective is to examine the repercussions of the foreign policy stance of the JDP notably with respect to Turkey-EU and Turkey-US relations in the economic sphere, attempting the highlight the critical linkages between the between the political and the economic spheres in the process.

Suggested Citation

Onis, Ziya, The Political Economy of Turkey's Justice and Development Party (November 4, 2004). 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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