Turkey waits for the general election which seems the most important election in the history of the Turkish Republic. Different parties, different manifests and polarizing groups cause world to hesitantly observe Turkey. Main issues regard the electoral system, the presidential system, the Syrian civil war, economy and undoubtedly democracy and freedoms which have been questioned for years.
The fate of these elections totally depends on the Kurdish People’s Democratic Party that plays a critical role. Because there is a 10% election threshold, 16 parties do not have spectacular position in media as well as in citizens’ minds. Surveys show that vote of PDP will be between 9% and 11% so if they get more than 10%, the reign of AKP will end. However, if they fail, almost every seats belonging to them will be directed to AKP whose main goal to bring ‘presidential system’ under the control of Erdogan. Although constitutions limit presidents to make meeting and favor a party, nobody can stop Erdogan who express to favor of public( and public is AKP for him). Democracy does not work in Turkey because a lot of people involuntarily want to vote PDP for the possibility of coalition government. If the democracy could not give us to vote freely, what is the role of it? Selahattin Demirtas, co-leader of PDP, is a young charismatic leader who adored by most of Kurdish people and socialists. Even though his party is not still be trusted by Turkish citizens, Demirtas will determine the future of Turkey. On the other hand, Davutoglu, the prime minister and leader of AKP, tries to gain votes for the sake of Erdogan because he will lose his position if the presidential system is launched. Unlike from other election campaign of AKP, they have begun to lose faith of people and only stressed shortcomings of current system. In my opinion, they will get approximately %42 of vote which was %50 in 2011 general election. Republican People’s Party represents perhaps the most effective electoral campaigns. Social-democratic leader Kilicdaroglu decided to emphasize economic commitment and bring a welfare state. Nonetheless, he did not convince a lot of dissident people who have a lot of prejudices against RPP. Moreover, a lot of socialists blame him to act as not a social democrat so they will vote for PDP. Despite these, there is no doubt that RPP will become the second party after election. Lastly, Nationalists Movement Party increases its vote with PDP. Because a lot of supporters of AKP express that they are nationalist, vote for NMP was not so high until this year. However, approximately 2 million Syrian refugee, solution process and rising supports for PDP convinced some of nationalists to unify behind NMP. Devlet Bahceli, the leader of NMP, is a different leader who is not racist and desirable than Erdogan so people can prefer him. If their vote will be more than %17 and PDP will be above election threshold, his party is the possible party for coalition.
In this part, we will examine major issues of electoral manifests and recent events in Turkey. The most effective slogan was told by Demirtas who said that ‘Mr Erdogan, we will not you be elected as president’. While all parties have promised equal conditions, freedoms and democratic values, AKP employed this slogan that ‘ they promise but we realize’. Thus, they mainly tried to oppose other parties promises, especially against RPP. When government officials claimed there is no enough resource for promises of RPP, Kilicdaroglu criticize government to use resources inefficiently such as for AK SARAY which has more than 1200 rooms. While Turkish citizens have experienced some financial problems during 2015, minister of finance Mehmet Simsek saw value of expensive cars of bureaucrats as knick- knack. When Erdogan almost made fun of Siege of Kobani whose population was mostly Kurds, it resulted in a disaster in people’s mind. I always believe that no one other than AKP can defeat AKP. Consequently, they began to criticize themselves which lead people to lose their confidence. While oppositional parties promised to improve people’s conditions, the media which is operated by AKP’s businessmen attacked and used defamation. Even though Demirtas did not say that Taksim is the Kabaa of workers, the media used this term to cause conservative Kurds to opposed to him. They also asserted that all other parties other than AKP made a coalition with Gulen movement which was main supporter and collaborator of AKP to seize all state institutions until 2014. Last week, when Can Dundar exposed that National Intelligence Agency send weapons to dissident groups in Syria, Erdogan and other AKP officials blamed him as traitor. As you can easily understand, if you admire AKP’s policies, you are patriot but you are traitor if you criticize them. It is another maneuver of them because Erdogan had said that I trample down Turk nationalism.
Turkish Republic has the most important elections it have ever experienced. Will Turkey move away from its secular and democratic values that gained by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk or be loyal its values whose main goal was ‘peace in Turkey, then peace in the world’. However, polarizing groups create a tension in the country because some Kurd nationalists declared that they will start a revolt against the state if they get less than %10. Although Turkey has been a republic since 1923, citizens have not comprehend what democracy is yet. There is no doubt that AKP will get the highest percentage but a possible coalition can engender an early election and damage AKP’s separator policies. I hope that the election will bring beneficence to Turkey as well as the whole world.
School of Democracy 2015 Graduate