chapter  6
What did they promise for democracy and what did they deliver?: the AKP and the CHP 2002–11 IS¸IK GÜRLEYEN
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There is a general, possibly global, cynicism about the incongruence between the pre-election promises and post-election behavior of political parties. This chapter explores the validity of this belief in the Turkish case by analyzing the words and deeds of two political parties, namely the AKP (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi, Justice and Development Party) and the CHP (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi, Republican People’s Party). More specifically, it analyzes the level of congruence between the two parties’ democratizationrelated election pledges and their subsequent legislative actions in the period between 2002 and 2011. Although political parties in Turkey enjoy an active role in the political

system as they hold legislative power, the level of public distrust of them is quite high, particularly during times of political instability, for many reasons. The most important is the politicians’ perceived failures to keep their preelection promises. This observation has applied to all political parties in the Turkish parliament, particularly during the 1990s, although it can be argued that public distrust has been diminishing since 2002. The ruling party, the AKP has increased its votes to win three consecutive elections since 2002 with an increasing share of votes cast. This suggests that public trust in this party has not fallen, if it has not actually increased. The following question is whether or not the increased public trust can be related to pledge fulfillment. This chapter addresses the question by analyzing whether or not the AKP

and the main opposition party, the CHP, keep their pre-election promises in relation to one particular field, democratization. Election manifestos and legislative activities of the political parties are two sources in analyzing the degree of their fulfillment of election pledges. On the one hand, to identify the pre-election promises, election manifestos are analyzed as the public declaration of the intentions, opinions, objectives, and motives of the political parties. On the other hand, to understand what the elected parties have actually delivered, draft laws made by the party are analyzed. Proposal, rather than actual enactment of a law, is the criterion employed. In other words, enactment is not a condition to be considered as legislative activity.