The Determinants of Voting Behavior in Turkey



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This dissertation examines the main determinants of voting behavior in Turkey. Previous research has been divided about the relative importance of religious, ethnic, and socio-economic factors in vote choice among Turkey’s citizens. Utilizing a large nationwide survey of 10,393 people conducted in 2010 in 59 provinces, this study finds that the most important cleavages among Turkey’s voters are religious (the degree of importance they place on their faith) and ethnic (the division between Turks and Kurds). With this central motivation, the study investigates the main determinants of the voter’s choice in Turkey to see (1) whether voters value their religious affiliation when they cast their votes, (2) whether the importance of ethnicity has any affect on their voting behavior, (3) whether voters’ ethnic background plays any role in their political preferences, and (4) whether the socioeconomic indicators have any impact on voters’ preferences. From this analysis, the study shows that the voting behavior in Turkey has evolved towards ethnic -- specifically Turk/Kurd -- and secular/religious dimensions, in the last decade.



Voting behavior, Kurdish Issue, Social Cleavages, Turkish Politics