Article/journal, Harney Program

Populist Diaspora Engagement Party-led Outreach under Turkey’s AKP and India’s BJP

How and why do right-wing populist parties engage in diaspora outreach? This article uses populism as a lens through which to study diaspora engagement, and compares strategies used by right-wing parties in power (Turkey’s AKP and India’s BJP) to access their diasporas. While we find that polarising and civilisationist discourses are adopted in both cases for uniting the diaspora behind the populist in power, we argue that these strategies are implemented for different purposes. In the Turkish case, the promotion of Turkish and Sunni-Muslim identification serves the purpose of garnering electoral support behind the ruling party, while in the Indian case, identification with Hindutva is used to achieve the financial and developmental goals of the ruling party. By comparing outreach strategies through the analysis of policies and practices employed by the parties as well as the activities of their diasporic organisations, the article contributes to debates on party-led diaspora engagement.