Emre, Yunus, The Emergence of Social Democracy in Turkey: The Left and the Transformation of the Republican Peoples’ Party, Londres, I. B. Tauris & Co, 2014, 336p.
The RPP (Republican People’s Party) stands as Turkey’s main opposition party – one of two major political blocs, second only to Erdogan’s ruling AK Party. Also known as the CHP (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi), it was the founding party of Ataturk’s republican regime and had a history of hostility towards leftist parties. Despite this, by the mid-1960s, the RPP had re-orientated itself as left of centre, as the growing influence of the left inside the RPP pushed it in a new direction. This is hailed as the entry point of social democratic politics into Turkey, and is the focus of Yunus Emre’s impressively researched book. He tracks the fluctuations in Turkish politics from the single-party period to the making of a new regime following the 1960 coup, looking at the place of both the RPP and the left in this trajectory, making this essential reading for scholars of Turkish politics and modern history.