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How does the AKP pick its candidates?

The ruling Justice and Development Party's list of candidates for the Turkish parliament is based on simple criteria: loyalty and obedience to the president.
Turkey's Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan greets his supporters during the Extraordinary Congress of the ruling AK Party (AKP) to choose a new leader of the party, ahead of his inauguration as president, in Ankara August 27, 2014. Turkish president-elect Erdogan said on Wednesday he would ask incoming prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu to form a new government on Thursday, and a new cabinet of ministers would be announced the following day. REUTERS/Umit Bektas (TURKEY - Tags: POLITICS) - RTR43YHW
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On April 7, Turkey’s political parties announced their lists of candidates that will run in the June 7 general elections. The lists are important, for they signal what sort of a parliament Turkey will have for the next four years. The list of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is particularly crucial, for all polls indicate that the AKP will form the largest and dominant group in Turkey’s 550-seat National Assembly.

Before going into details, one must first note a key feature of Turkey’s political system and culture that may sound unusual to a Western reader. In the West, political candidates are often selected in a bottom-up process, where parties in each district elect their own deputies, and these deputies elect the higher officials. In Turkey, however, the system is often the reverse: The party leadership decides who will run for office in every single province.

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