Populism on Steroids

Erdoğanists and Their Enemies in Turkey

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Perhaps the clearest indicator of one’s partiality towards a Laclauian approach to populism is the belief that it is a constitutive dimension of politics without which the latter ceases to exist. The presence of a frontier between the ‘people’ and its ‘other’ is the precondition of politics. But what if this frontier itself becomes the sole point around which those identities are articulated? Is it still possible to speak of politics when there is ‘too much’ populism? The article answers this question through an analysis of the extreme polarization in today’s Turkey over the hegemonic figure of the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Praises for Erdoğan government as a democratic model for the Muslim world withered away once the regime had decisively turned towards authoritarianism and begun consolidating Erdoğan’s personal control over state and society. A personality cult, named Erdoğanism here, has gradually materialised around his figure, overtaking all previous forms of political identity among his supporters and becoming one with ‘the people’. Those who display even a minimal reluctance to submit themselves completely to his will are excommunicated as ‘enemies’ of the people. Most interestingly, such an extremely polarizing discourse appears to have turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy, for it has been reciprocated by virtually all opposition actors in the form of Anti-Erdoğanism. The very survival of opposition in Turkey seems to have been locked into an anti-Erdoğanist corner, risking to run the whole political field into a zero-sum game between two polar opposites, a case of pure populism
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPopulism on the Loose
EditorsUrpo Kovala, Emilia Palonen, Maria Ruotsalainen, Tuija Saresma
Number of pages28
Place of PublicationJyväskylä
PublisherJyväskylän yliopisto
Publication date2018
Pages53-80
ISBN (Electronic)978-951-39-7401-5
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Publication series

NameNykykuttuurin tutkimuskeskuksen julkaisuja
PublisherJyväskylän Yliopisto
Volume122
ISSN (Electronic)1457-6899

Fields of Science

  • 517 Political science
  • Populism
  • Post-structuralism
  • Turkey
  • Political philosophy
  • polarization

Cite this

Gurhanli, H. (2018). Populism on Steroids: Erdoğanists and Their Enemies in Turkey. In U. Kovala, E. Palonen, M. Ruotsalainen, & T. Saresma (Eds.), Populism on the Loose (pp. 53-80). (Nykykuttuurin tutkimuskeskuksen julkaisuja; Vol. 122). Jyväskylä: Jyväskylän yliopisto.
Gurhanli, Halil. / Populism on Steroids : Erdoğanists and Their Enemies in Turkey. Populism on the Loose. editor / Urpo Kovala ; Emilia Palonen ; Maria Ruotsalainen ; Tuija Saresma. Jyväskylä : Jyväskylän yliopisto, 2018. pp. 53-80 (Nykykuttuurin tutkimuskeskuksen julkaisuja).
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abstract = "Perhaps the clearest indicator of one’s partiality towards a Laclauian approach to populism is the belief that it is a constitutive dimension of politics without which the latter ceases to exist. The presence of a frontier between the ‘people’ and its ‘other’ is the precondition of politics. But what if this frontier itself becomes the sole point around which those identities are articulated? Is it still possible to speak of politics when there is ‘too much’ populism? The article answers this question through an analysis of the extreme polarization in today’s Turkey over the hegemonic figure of the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Praises for Erdoğan government as a democratic model for the Muslim world withered away once the regime had decisively turned towards authoritarianism and begun consolidating Erdoğan’s personal control over state and society. A personality cult, named Erdoğanism here, has gradually materialised around his figure, overtaking all previous forms of political identity among his supporters and becoming one with ‘the people’. Those who display even a minimal reluctance to submit themselves completely to his will are excommunicated as ‘enemies’ of the people. Most interestingly, such an extremely polarizing discourse appears to have turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy, for it has been reciprocated by virtually all opposition actors in the form of Anti-Erdoğanism. The very survival of opposition in Turkey seems to have been locked into an anti-Erdoğanist corner, risking to run the whole political field into a zero-sum game between two polar opposites, a case of pure populism",
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Gurhanli, H 2018, Populism on Steroids: Erdoğanists and Their Enemies in Turkey. in U Kovala, E Palonen, M Ruotsalainen & T Saresma (eds), Populism on the Loose. Nykykuttuurin tutkimuskeskuksen julkaisuja, vol. 122, Jyväskylän yliopisto, Jyväskylä, pp. 53-80.

Populism on Steroids : Erdoğanists and Their Enemies in Turkey. / Gurhanli, Halil.

Populism on the Loose. ed. / Urpo Kovala; Emilia Palonen; Maria Ruotsalainen; Tuija Saresma. Jyväskylä : Jyväskylän yliopisto, 2018. p. 53-80 (Nykykuttuurin tutkimuskeskuksen julkaisuja; Vol. 122).

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review

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AU - Gurhanli, Halil

PY - 2018

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N2 - Perhaps the clearest indicator of one’s partiality towards a Laclauian approach to populism is the belief that it is a constitutive dimension of politics without which the latter ceases to exist. The presence of a frontier between the ‘people’ and its ‘other’ is the precondition of politics. But what if this frontier itself becomes the sole point around which those identities are articulated? Is it still possible to speak of politics when there is ‘too much’ populism? The article answers this question through an analysis of the extreme polarization in today’s Turkey over the hegemonic figure of the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Praises for Erdoğan government as a democratic model for the Muslim world withered away once the regime had decisively turned towards authoritarianism and begun consolidating Erdoğan’s personal control over state and society. A personality cult, named Erdoğanism here, has gradually materialised around his figure, overtaking all previous forms of political identity among his supporters and becoming one with ‘the people’. Those who display even a minimal reluctance to submit themselves completely to his will are excommunicated as ‘enemies’ of the people. Most interestingly, such an extremely polarizing discourse appears to have turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy, for it has been reciprocated by virtually all opposition actors in the form of Anti-Erdoğanism. The very survival of opposition in Turkey seems to have been locked into an anti-Erdoğanist corner, risking to run the whole political field into a zero-sum game between two polar opposites, a case of pure populism

AB - Perhaps the clearest indicator of one’s partiality towards a Laclauian approach to populism is the belief that it is a constitutive dimension of politics without which the latter ceases to exist. The presence of a frontier between the ‘people’ and its ‘other’ is the precondition of politics. But what if this frontier itself becomes the sole point around which those identities are articulated? Is it still possible to speak of politics when there is ‘too much’ populism? The article answers this question through an analysis of the extreme polarization in today’s Turkey over the hegemonic figure of the President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Praises for Erdoğan government as a democratic model for the Muslim world withered away once the regime had decisively turned towards authoritarianism and begun consolidating Erdoğan’s personal control over state and society. A personality cult, named Erdoğanism here, has gradually materialised around his figure, overtaking all previous forms of political identity among his supporters and becoming one with ‘the people’. Those who display even a minimal reluctance to submit themselves completely to his will are excommunicated as ‘enemies’ of the people. Most interestingly, such an extremely polarizing discourse appears to have turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy, for it has been reciprocated by virtually all opposition actors in the form of Anti-Erdoğanism. The very survival of opposition in Turkey seems to have been locked into an anti-Erdoğanist corner, risking to run the whole political field into a zero-sum game between two polar opposites, a case of pure populism

KW - 517 Political science

KW - Populism

KW - Post-structuralism

KW - Turkey

KW - Political philosophy

KW - polarization

M3 - Chapter

T3 - Nykykuttuurin tutkimuskeskuksen julkaisuja

SP - 53

EP - 80

BT - Populism on the Loose

A2 - Kovala, Urpo

A2 - Palonen, Emilia

A2 - Ruotsalainen, Maria

A2 - Saresma, Tuija

PB - Jyväskylän yliopisto

CY - Jyväskylä

ER -

Gurhanli H. Populism on Steroids: Erdoğanists and Their Enemies in Turkey. In Kovala U, Palonen E, Ruotsalainen M, Saresma T, editors, Populism on the Loose. Jyväskylä: Jyväskylän yliopisto. 2018. p. 53-80. (Nykykuttuurin tutkimuskeskuksen julkaisuja).