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Communication Strategies of the Ak Party in Turkey

Taner’s PhD research examines the political communication strategies of Turkey’s Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, henceforth the AKP), from 2002 to 2017. Drawing on approaches to political communication and social movement theory, it analyses the transformations that have taken place within the AKP and Turkey and how these have been informed by religion, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s charismatic leadership.

The thesis describes how the author carried out ethnographic research during the 2014 presidential election; interviewing key personalities from politics, the media, academia and think tanks, and conducting observations at AKP headquarters and campaign rallies. A quantitative content analysis of Erdoğan’s speeches was then performed to triangulate the findings from the qualitative data, ensuring effective coverage of the entire period under consideration, and to provide continuity.

Of particular interest is how the changes in the AKP’s policy appear to have been reinforced by Erdoğan, who has consistently made effective use of a variety of political communication strategies, including Americanisation, and references to pertinent local images and symbols, to create a sense of collective identity amongst the AKP’s supporters.

More about this research