Elections in Türkiye: Red rivers of candidates in Ankara and Izmir

By | May 1, 2023

The political confrontation in Turkey enters the final stretch, 14 days before the elections

Two weeks before Turkey’s election, polls show Erdogan losing to his main rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu. Beyond the results of the pulse measurements, the live collapse of the Turkish president destroyed the image that he had cultivated for many years. That of the tough and indestructible leader.

According to The Guardian, the ministers insist that Erdogan’s illness (he previously underwent intestinal surgery) is no more serious than gastroenteritis. The Turkish president returned to the pre-election battle on Saturday (4/29) as normal.

The fragile Erdogan

In any case, the episode has added to the image that an authoritative figure who dominates all aspects of Turkish life, personally dictating domestic policy, security policy and foreign policy, must be held accountable, and that the time has come. time for a change.

The fact that Erdogan unusually trails slightly in the polls of his presidential rival, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, leader of the Republican People’s Party and leader of a six-party opposition alliance, is a sign that the political terrain may be shifting. .

Analysts estimate that Erdogan’s Justice and Development Party and its ultra-nationalist allies may also lose control of parliament, after earlier major defeats in local elections in Istanbul and Ankara.

The “red wave” Kilicdaroglu and Erdogan

The two pre-election rallies over the weekend were successful, both Erdoğan’s in Ankara and Kilicdaroğlu’s in İzmir. The head of the opposition alliance characteristically emphasized at the end of his pre-election speech: “These elections are the elections that will bring democracy to Turkey.”

The answer came from Ankara’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, with a corresponding “red river”, as tens of thousands of people gathered at the Turkish president’s pre-election rally.

Erdogan characteristically responded to Kemal Kilicdaroglu: “Do you know who the most important host of lies is? Mr. Kemal. If you want to take a lesson in lies, contact Mr. Kemal’s office. He knows it very well.”

The image at the Kilitsdaroglu election rally

The image at Erdogan’s election rally

The full support of the pro-Kurdish party for Kilicdaroglu

Last Friday, the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party, led by Selahattin Demirtas, announced that it would support Kemal Kilicdaroglu’s alliance.

As “The Observer” reports, Kurds are a large part of the country’s population, accounting for about 1/5 of Turkey’s 85 million people. In previous elections, the HDP that Erdogan is trying to ban attracted around 10% of the vote nationwide.

Earthquakes and economy the “thorns” in Erdogan’s campaign

Major election issues include the economy. Extremely high inflation and the cost of living crisis are widely blamed on Erdogan’s mismanagement. Such problems, which affect everyone, could undermine the rural base on which the ruling party has traditionally relied. The government’s apparent lack of response to the February earthquakes, which killed more than 50,000 people, and anger over corrupt construction practices ignored by the state could also sway many voters.

But this choice is also about legacy and history, which seem to be catching up with the most powerful Turkish leader since Kemal Atatürk. Constitutional changes pushed by Erdogan, giving him sweeping executive powers, mean he is seen as primarily and personally responsible for the country’s problems. His aggressive efforts to silence independent critics and the media have not prevented a growing public backlash.

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