Turkish general election, 2002

Turkish general election, 2002
3 November 2002

Total of 550 seats of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey
276 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout 79.14%
  First party Second party
Leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Deniz Baykal
Party AK Party CHP
Leader since 14 August 2001 30 September 2000
Leader's seat Could not contest Antalya
Last election New party 0 seats, 8.71%
Seats before 59 3
Seats won 363 178
Seat change Increase 304 Increase 175
Popular vote 10,808,229 6,113,352
Percentage 34.28% 19.39%
Swing Increase 34.28 pp Increase 10.68 pp

Winners according to provinces:
     AKP        CHP        DEHAP        Independents

Prime Minister before election

Bülent Ecevit
Democratic Left

Elected Prime Minister

Abdullah Gül
AK Party

This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

The 15th Turkish general election was held on 3 November 2002 following the collapse of the DSP-MHP-ANAP coalition led by Bülent Ecevit. It was the 15th general election to be held in Turkey. All 550 members of the Grand National Assembly were up for election.

The election was held during an ongoing economic crisis which followed the 2001 financial crash, which resulted in a deep resentment of coalition governments which had governed the country since the 1980 military coup. The Justice and Development Party (AKP), which had only been formed in 2001 by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, won the election with nearly two-thirds of the seats. The protest vote was such that every sitting party previously represented in parliament was ejected, with the AKP winning 363 seats with just 34.3% of the vote. The only other party which passed the 10% threshold to gain representation was the Republican People's Party, which came second with 19.38% of the vote and 178 seats. The election produced Turkey's first single party government since 1987 and the country's first two-party parliament since 1960.

The moderate Islamism advocated by the AKP was at odds with the secular establishment of the Republic of Turkey. While serving as the Mayor of Istanbul, Erdoğan was sentenced to a 10 month prison term in 1998 for reciting a poem in Siirt which incited racial intolerance. This barred him from initially seeking a seat in parliament, meaning that the AKP's co-founder Abdullah Gül became Prime Minister following their election victory. With the help of the CHP, the government overturned Erdoğan's political ban in 2003, after which he was able to seek a seat in a controversial by-election in the Province of Siirt. Erdoğan became Prime Minister in March 2003, with Abdullah Gül concurrently assuming the role of Foreign Minister and Deputy Prime Minister.


Voting ended in the country's 32 eastern provinces at 3pm, having begun an hour earlier in morning, and in the remaining 49 provinces at 4pm. Counting began immediately afterwards.

A press black-out was placed on all results by the electoral authority so that it could ensure all ballot boxes were secure, but even when it became clear that every box in the country had been sealed, the authority refused to sway from its original deadline of 9pm. With early results being already announced by foreign media outlets, Turkish television switched to a live shot of the Electoral Authority headquarters until an announcement was made at 7.30pm revoking the black-out.

Total votes and seats for each party

  Summary of the 3 November 2002 Grand National Assembly election results in Turkey
Party Vote Seats
Abbreviation Party name
in Turkish
Leader(s) Votes % swing Elected % of total ± since
2 Nov
± since
Justice and Development Party
Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi
10,808,229 34.28 New 363 66.00 Increase 304 New
Republican People's Party
Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi
6,113,352 19.39 Increase 10.68 178 32.36 Increase 175 Increase 178
True Path Party
Doğru Yol Partisi
3,008,942 9.54 Decrease 2.52 0 0.00 Decrease 83 Decrease 85
Nationalist Movement Party
Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi
2,635,787 8.36 Decrease 9.62 0 0.00 Decrease 124 Decrease 129
Young Party
Genç Parti
2,285,598 7.25 New 0 0.00 Steady 0 New
Democratic People's Party*
Demokratik Halk Partisi
1,960,660 6.22 Increase 1.47 0 0.00 Steady 0 Steady 0
Motherland Party
Anavatan Partisi
1,618,465 5.13 Decrease 8.09 0 0.00 Decrease 71 Decrease 86
Felicity Party^
Saadet Partisi
785,489 2.49 Decrease 12.92 0 0.00 Decrease 46 Decrease 111
Democratic Left Party
Demokratik Sol Parti
384,009 1.22 Decrease 20.97 0 0.00 Decrease 58 Decrease 136
New Turkey Party
Yeni Türkiye Partisi
363,869 1.15 New 0 0.00 Decrease 58 New
Great Union Party
Büyük Birlik Partisi
322,093 1.02 Decrease 0.44 0 0.00 Decrease 4 Steady 0
314,251 1.00 Increase 0.13 9 1.64 Decrease 15 Increase 6
Homeland Party
Yurt Partisi
294,909 0.94 New 0 0.00 Decrease 3 New
Workers' Party
İşçi Partisi
159,843 0.51 Increase 0.33 0 0.00 Steady 0 Steady 0
Independent Turkey Party
Bağımsız Türkiye Partisi
150,482 0.48 New 0 0.00 Steady 0 New
Freedom and Solidarity Party
Özgürlük ve Dayanışma Partisi
106,023 0.34 Decrease 0.46 0 0.00 Decrease 3 Steady 0
Liberal Democrat Party
Liberal Demokrat Parti
Besim Tibuk
89,331 0.28 Decrease 0.13 0 0.00 Steady 0 Steady 0
Nation Party
Millet Partisi
Aykut Edibali
68,271 0.22 Decrease 0.03 0 0.00 Steady 0 Steady 0
Communist Party of Turkey
Türkiye Komünist Partisi
59,180 0.19 New 0 0.00 Steady 0 New
Total 31,528,783 100.00 550 100.00 Steady 0 Steady 0
Valid votes 31,528,783 96.22 Increase 0.73
Invalid / blank votes 1,239,378 3.78 Decrease 0.73
Votes cast / turnout 32,768,161 79.14 Decrease 7.95
Abstentions 8,638,866 20.86 Increase 7.95
Registered voters 41,407,027
Source: Supreme Electoral Council of Turkey (full confirmed results)
* The Democratic People's Party's result is compared to the People's Democracy Party's result from the 1999 general election
^ The Felicity Party's result is compared to the Virtue Party's result from the 1999 general election


New government

Although the AKP's victory was indisputable, Erdoğan's appointment as prime minister was delayed owing to his previous criminal conviction, which prevented him from standing for parliament. Another prominent party member, Abdullah Gül, became prime minister and remained in the position until a constitutional amendment could be pushed through to allow Erdoğan to stand for a freshly vacant seat in a March 2003 by-election.

Party resignations

The result prompted the near-immediate resignations of several prominent figures in Turkish politics:

Outgoing prime minister Bülent Ecevit was widely expected to resign as leader of his Democratic Left party, but did not end up leaving until a party conference in 2004.

See also

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