Rallies around the flag-draped coffins: The electoral effects of security force casualties in terror attacks

Resul Umit


Security forces are one of the main targets of political violence. This article examines the effect of their casualties on elections. Between two general elections in 2015, Turkey experienced a series of attacks that killed 153 members of the security forces. Based on the as-if random variation of their funerals across the country, I estimate that the government vote share increases in the burial places of terror victims. However, in the towns with recurring funerals, the support decreases by a similar percentage, cancelling the immediate rally behind the government out. These results provide strong evidence for the rally theory.