Contemporary Southeastern Europe
Anti-intellectualism or Populism alla turca
This article deals with how populism as a global phenomenon manifests itself in Turkish politics. It argues that the core element of populism alla turca is anti-intellectualism, and that although populism has traditionally been a component of the discourses of major actors in Turkey, on both the right and the left of the political spectrum, in its current form, its content is in large part anti-intellectualism. It is an ideological apparatus consciously used by those in power to reproduce and strengthen the neoliberal conservative hegemony in Turkey which has been installed and consolidated during the rule of Justice and Development Party since 2002. It also claims that the phenomenon of populism and its increasing popularity – theoretical and practical – needs to be linked to the concept of hegemony. Based upon the concepts of hegemony and populism, as developed by Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe, who are also prominent scholars of populism, this article tries to show that populism is the core of any hegemonic relation as much as anti-intellectualism is the core of populism alla turca.