Voter Turnout in Turkey's Parliamentary and Local Elections (1950-2014): Does Participation Increase when Competition Decreases?

Taşkın B.

TURKISH STUDIES, vol.16, no.4, pp.465-486, 2015 (Journal Indexed in SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 16 Issue: 4
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/14683849.2015.1101350
  • Title of Journal : TURKISH STUDIES
  • Page Numbers: pp.465-486


This study evaluates the influence of party competitiveness, number of parties and intervention of non-elected actors, as well as socio-economic and institutional factors, with respect to voter turnout in Turkish parliamentary and local elections. While statistical results contradicted expectations, the application of compulsory voting proved to be the single most important determinant for an increase in voter turnout, whereas electoral type and electoral system difference become insignificant for electoral participation motivation. The first democratic elections following a military intervention generally shows a significant jump in voter turnout, but it also causes a decrease in the number of parties and diminishes party competition for the following electoral terms. Large numbers of registered voters and high voter turnout motivate parties to compete in the elections. Nevertheless, lack of party competition and a 10 percent electoral threshold enable only a few parties to take a piece of this enormous electoral pie.