Skip to main content

Is Turkish presidential system helping cause fall in AKP membership?

Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s realized goal for Turkey to have an executive presidency may be fast becoming his worst mistake: His party is losing members at the top and from the base and former colleagues are challenging him directly. Can Erdogan survive his party’s decay?
Supporters of the ruling AK Party (AKP) wave flags as their mayoral candidate Binali Yildirim speaks during an election rally in Istanbul, Turkey, June 21, 2019. REUTERS/Murad Sezer - RC17CE82D9C0

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) is facing its first major loss in member registration numbers in 17 years.

In 2013, as news about fake memberships in the ruling party made headlines, a senior AKP official told me that this was “like when you face a bear; if you can make yourself appear bigger than you are, the animal will run away.” Indeed, for anyone in opposition, it was disheartening to hear the question, “How can you win against a party with 10 million registered members?”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.