Erdogan's electoral tricks and Turkish opposition

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On the eve of the early presidential and parliamentary elections in Turkey, which are scheduled for June 24, political forces opposed to President Recep Erdogan agreed on an alliance. The Alliance of Principles included the center-left Republican People's Party Kemal K[/img]

Meral Aksener
The Turkish opposition took advantage of the new law adopted in March, which allows alliances of several parties to participate in the parliamentary elections for the first time. According to Turkish legislation, the party must win at least 10% in elections to get into parliament. Now the same rule applies to alliances from several parties. The "Alliance of Principles" will be able to influence political processes if it joins the ruling coalition. The oppositionists learned a lesson from the parliamentary elections in June 2015. Then all the parties participated separately and none of them, including the Justice and Development Party, could collect enough votes to form a parliamentary majority. Unable to agree on a coalition, the authorities held early elections in November 2015, at which 49.5% of voters voted for the Erdogan’s party. The Justice and Development Party has formed a parliamentary majority; it controls 316 of the 550 seats in the Turkish parliament. All other parties are in opposition (234 seats).

The situation with the "suspended parliament" in June 2015 could be repeated on the basis of the upcoming elections. If we believe in public opinion polls, the support resource of Erdogan's party has decreased by 2% since the last election. According to a recent poll of the ANAR agency, the Justice and Development Party is supported by 46-47% of voters. Approximately the same number of voters (46.9%) voted for the presidential party in June 2015. Opposition parties in aggregate gained 26.1% of the vote. Now the opposition has united in order to gain more votes and to claim more seats in the parliament. If you believe the latest public opinion polls, now the Republican People's Party is supported by 22-23% of voters, and Good Party – by 9-11%. At the parliamentary elections, the Alliance of Principals will come up with a single list.
The "Alliance of Principles" was formed to attract the broad sections of the population to the side of the opposition. The Republican People's Party is making a bet on the residents of large cities and the military, who support rapprochement with the West and secular government, as the first President of Turkey bequeathed. After the end of the First World War, he built a secular state on the shrapnel of the Ottoman Empire, oriented to the West. Republicans oppose mass privatization, but at the same time, they do not seek to nationalize more objects of economic activity, support an increase in social spending. For the sake of attracting the votes of supporters of economic liberalization, the Democratic Party joined the alliance. Participation in the coalition of the Felicity Party is designed to take votes from the party of Erdogan. Felicity Party positions itself as a more conservative political force than Erdogan's party and counts on supporting the religious rural population.

Recent changes in electoral legislation are beneficial not only to the opposition but also to the current government. Erdogan perfectly understands that his position in the Turkish society is not like the previous one. According to the April poll from MetroPOLL, Erdogan's activities are approved by 49.8% of respondents (42.1% disapprove them). Although in 2016 it was supported by 62.2% of the population. Despite the fact that Turkey continues to be one of the most dynamically developing economies in the world, the situation in the country is gradually starting to deteriorate. Turkey suffers from the inflation. Since early 2015, the Turkish lira has depreciated by 40% against the dollar. This will have a negative impact on the Turkish business, especially on small firms, whose total debt in foreign currency is $ 211 billion. Last December, loan rates in Turkey were increased from 12.25% to 12.75%. The military operation in Syria is Turkey’s budget shortfall. Not all Turks see the growing authoritarian tendencies in the political sphere, the repression of opposition and military, whom the ruling regime suspects of involvement in the attempt of a military coup. Since 2016, more than 150 thousand people were dismissed, 132 thousand people were imprisoned, 200 media resources were closed, 300 journalists were arrested. It is doubtful that all these people and their relatives will vote for Erdogan and his party at the upcoming elections.

In order to get the parliament under control and to extend his rule for 6 years, Erdogan created the "People's Alliance" with the ultranationalist National Movement Party of former Deputy Prime Minister Devlet Bahceli. Unlike the opposition, both parties will cooperate in parliamentary and presidential elections. Erdogan will be the only presidential candidate from the "People's Alliance". Ultranationalists have a solid electoral base and occupy the fourth place in the political arena of Turkey after moderate Islamists, Kemalists and left-wing Kurds. Bahceli is the successor to the founder of the National Movement Party Alparslan Turkes, a former military officer who advocated the creation of a strong secular Turkish state, the restoration of the geopolitical influence of the Ottoman Empire in the Middle East, the strengthening of ties with Azerbaijan and the Turkic-speaking peoples of Russia and supported the fight against Kurdish separatism. Turkes proved the superiority of the Turkish nation. In the 60's - 80's, he contributed to the struggle against the Turkish Communists.
Devlet Bahceli
In the present conditions, the Turkish ultranationalists benefit from an alliance with Erdogan to come to power. They are supported only by 6-8% of voters. One of Turkes’s sons, Ahmet Kutalm[/img]
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Left People's Democratic Party of Selahattin Demirtas has joined none of the alliances. This political force occupies 58 seats in the Turkish parliament, and in past elections over 13% of voters voted for it. People's Democrats defend the rights of ethnic minorities in Turkey, mainly Kurds. This is a stable electorate, since over 20 million Kurds live in Turkey (the population of Turkey is 79.5 million people), not including Azerbaijanis, Armenians, Assyrians, Lazi, Circassians, Gypsies, and other national minorities. The People's Democratic Party opposes Turkish ultranationalism and seeks to overcome the split between Turks and Kurds. This party acted as an intermediary between the Turkish government and the terrorist organization of Kurdish separatists "Kurdistan Workers' Party". The People's Democratic Party opposes gender, national, religious, and racial discrimination.

People's Democrats can influence the composition of the future coalition in the case of a "suspended parliament". However, it is not yet known who will be supported by this party. On the one hand, the People's Democratic Party has uneasy relations with the current authorities. Kurds are one of the objects of Erdogan's repressive policy. On the other hand, Erdogan's anti-Kurdish sentiment is a situational political PR to rally the Turkish society around the internal threat (the Kurdish separatists). Previously, he was more liberal about the Kurdish minority. Will the Kurds agree to an alliance with Erdogan or not? It depends on what he can offer them. Kurds took a wait-and-see attitude. Since they do not join any of the alliances, it means they do not exclude the possibility of cooperation with both Erdogan and the opposition, depending on the results of the parliamentary elections.
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or 112.International and its owners
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