Voting Behavior of the Youth in Turkey: What Drives Involvement in or Causes Alienation from Conventional Political Participation?

Ayşegül Kayaoğlu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The decline of conventional political participation of the youth is a serious concern in many countries worldwide. Studying the Turkish example, this paper aims to empirically analyze the determinants of youngsters’ (non)voting behavior. The analysis shows that lifestyle is the most important factor, reflecting the importance of the youth’s everyday practices on their conventional political participation. Besides, being female, having higher levels of education and residing in an urban area increase the probability of abstaining. Moreover, ‘economic voting’ exists for youngsters as they are found to be punishing the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) for economic prospects unpromising either individually or societally. For first-time voters, lifestyle and the 2013 Gezi protests are the main determinants of voting behavior. Furthermore, there is persistence in abstaining from voting as having abstained in the 2011 general elections increases the probability of abstaining again by 18 percent. The analysis of disillusioned youth demonstrates that Gezi protests have increased the probability of their conventional political participation; they can be associated either with a decline in their probability of voting for the AKP, or of being indecisive and/or abstaining. A factor change analysis, however, finds that the abstained and indecisive Kurdish youth’s preferences have shifted towards pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party post-Gezi.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)32-55
Number of pages24
JournalTurkish Studies
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • conventional political participation
  • economic voting
  • Gezi Park
  • Political participation
  • youth


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