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HomeGeopolitical CompassWest & Centeral AsiaFor the People, Against the Elites: Left versus Right-Wing Populism in Greece...

For the People, Against the Elites: Left versus Right-Wing Populism in Greece and Turkey

Author: Ioannis N. Grigoriadis

Affiliation: Bilkent University

Organization/Publisher: The Journal of The Middle East And Africa

Date/Place: March 13, 2020/London, U.K.

Type of literature: Journal Article

Number of Pages: 15


Keywords: AKP, constitution, elite, Erdoğan, Greece, indignados, left, populism, right, SYRIZA, Tsipras, Turkey


Populism is often described as the political movement according to the aspirations of common masses against established political elites. This study focuses on the rising populism in Greece and Turkey and factors that contributed to this phenomenon. Populism in Greece traces back to the fall of its military regime in 1974, but it has become radical after the financial crisis of 2008. According to new populists, the country has been sold out previously by old elites, therefore it is in need of a time to represent masses at the political level. The coalition of left wing (SYRIZA party) with right-wing (ANEL) populist parties is a unique case study in the perspective of Greece. Whereas in the Turkish political arena, right-wing populism started in 2002 when AK-Party took charge of Ankara, the author describing through the term kulturkampf— conflict between civilian government and religious authorities or conflict of interest between national interests and cultural values. Historically, religion in Turkey remained under suppression throughout the secular regimes whether military or their civilian successors. But AK-Party over attaining power neutralized the imbalance between secular and religious people. The article draws several parallels between Greek and Turkish populism, where status-quo has been transformed gradually from elite-base to popular-base.  According to this study the debate of left vs. right on socioeconomic issues is transforming into liberal democrats vs. ultra-national, race and communitarian-based political leaders. Whereas, the right-wing populism and its support for the current regime has been analyzed by referring to Turkey’s presidential elections and the success of Recep Tayyip Erdogan in 2017. 

By: Muhammad Taimoor Bin Tanveer, CIGA Research Associate



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