Islamist Parties and Democracy: Turkey’s AKP in Power

Issue Date July 2008
Volume 19
Issue 3
Page Numbers 25-30
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The Justice and Development Party (AKP), Turkey’s democratically-elected ruling party since 2002, brings to the philosophical debate on Islamist parties and democracy a unique source of data: a track record. Emerging from the “national view” party via the Virtue Party, the AKP broke from its traditional Islamist predecessors under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Public opinion research into voter behavior suggests that support for the AKP does not equate to support for Islamism per se. Instead, it seems that practical issues such as economic policy performance far outweigh religious and ideological appeals in the minds of the Turkish people. All in all, the AKP appears less as an Islamist party and more as one that is pro-Western, pro-Market, and populist.