2002 Turkish general election

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.

2002 Turkish general election

← 1999 3 November 2002 2007 →

Total of 550 seats of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey
276 seats were needed for a majority
Turnout79.14%[1] Decrease 8.0pp
  First party Second party
  Erdogan Canakkale (cropped).JPG Deniz Baykal headshot.jpg
Leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan Deniz Baykal
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 / 550
178 / 550
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

Turkish general election 2002.png
Winners according to provinces:
     AKP        CHP        DEHAP        Independents

Prime Minister before election

Bülent Ecevit

Elected Prime Minister

Abdullah Gül

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) and Republican People's Party (CHP) had massive gains, transitioning from the multi-party parliament under a DSP-MHP-ANAP coalition government elected in 1999 to a two-party system ruled by the AKP and CHP, with no other parties winning any seats in parliament, only nine independents being elected, and the AKP and CHP combined winning 98.36% seats of parliament. The Justice and Development Party (AKP), which had only been formed in August 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 1961.

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 for which he was accused of inciting 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 partyEdit

Parties Party Leader(s) Votes Seats
No. style="text-align:right;" +− % No. +− Since 2 Nov +− Since 1999
Justice and Development Party (Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi) Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 10,808,229 34.28 New 363  304 New
Republican People's Party (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi) Deniz Baykal 6,113,352 19.39  10.68 178  175  178
True Path Party (Doğru Yol Partisi) Tansu Çiller 3,008,942 9.54  2.52 0  83  85
Nationalist Movement Party (Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi) Devlet Bahçeli 2,635,787 8.36   9.62 0  124  129
Young Party (Genç Parti) Cem Uzan 2,285,598 7.25 New 0  0 New
Democratic People's Party (Demokratik Halk Partisi)* Mehmet Abbasoğlu 1,960,660 6.22  1.47 0  0  0
Motherland Party (Anavatan Partisi) Mesut Yılmaz 1,618,465 5.13  8.09 0  71  86
Felicity Party (Saadet Partisi)^ Recai Kutan 785,489 2.49  12.92 0  46  111
Democratic Left Party (Demokratik Sol Parti) Bülent Ecevit 384,009 1.22  20.97 0  58  136
New Turkey Party (Yeni Türkiye Partisi) İsmail Cem 363,869 1.15 New 0  58 New
Great Union Party (Büyük Birlik Partisi) Muhsin Yazıcıoğlu 322,093 1.02  0.44 0  4  0
Homeland Party (Yurt Partisi) Sadettin Tantan 294,909 0.94 New 0  3 New
Workers' Party (İşçi Partisi) Doğu Perinçek 159,843 0.51  0.33 0  0  0
Independent Turkey Party (Bağımsız Türkiye Partisi) Haydar Baş 150,482 0.48 New 0  0 New
Freedom and Solidarity Party (Özgürlük ve Dayanışma Partisi) Ufuk Uras 106,023 0.34  0.46 0  3  0
Liberal Democrat Party (Liberal Demokrat Parti) Besim Tibuk 89,331 0.28  0.13 0  0  0
Nation Party (Millet Partisi) Aykut Edibali 68,271 0.22  0.03 0  0  0
Communist Party of Turkey (Türkiye Komünist Partisi) Aydemir Güler 59,180 0.19 New 0  0 New
Independents (Bağımsızlar) 314,251 1.00  0.13 9  15  6
No. of valid votes 31,528,783 100.00
Invalid votes 1,239,378  
Electorate size 41,407,027
Voter turnout 79.14%
Source: Supreme Electoral Council of Turkey (full confirmed results) Archived 9 February 2015 at the Wayback Machine

* 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

Popular vote
Seats summary


New governmentEdit

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 (Cabinet Gül) 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. The AKP taking power may have contributed to the Turkish economic boom of the 2000s, though it is unlikely.

Party resignationsEdit

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

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

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "MİLLETVEKİLİ GENEL SEÇİMLERİ 1923 - 2011" (PDF) (in Turkish). Türkiye İstatistik Kurumu. p. 5. Retrieved July 31, 2021.