The results of Turkey's municipal elections held on 30 March 2014, which consolidated the electoral strength of the conservative Justice and Development Party, surprised many. With presidential elections due to be held in August 2014 and a general election ten months later, this strong electoral performance may be indicative of an effective consolidation of the AKP's electoral predominance. At the same time, these results also pose a puzzle with important implications for the way the presidential election campaign could unfold. This conundrum is due to unrealized expectations and the apparent ineffectiveness of two major developments that many thought would have a considerable impact on the AKP's showing in the local elections: the mass demonstrations against the AKP government as part of the Gezi Park protest movement, and the graft allegations implicating prominent cabinet members. This paper analyses the electoral strategies of Turkey's governing and opposition parties in light of the upcoming presidential and general elections.
Paper produced within the framework of the project Turkey, Europe and the World.