“Turkey may enter a period of great turmoil: Erdogan or Kilicdaroglu: what the West wants, what Greece wants”

By | May 9, 2023

He elections in turkey they are really critical. His country Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his Kemal Kilicdaroglu is at a crossroads. On Sunday, May 14, a political battle of two different worlds will take place. The outcome will not only determine the next day inside Turkey, but will directly affect Greece, as well as the overall picture in the Eastern Mediterranean and, of course, our neighbors’ relations with the West. What’s in it for us? The challenging but possibly predictable Erdogan or the uncharted waters that Kilicdaroglu’s arrival will bring?

HE Ioannis Valinakis found in his studio news beast and analyzed how the situation is in Turkey as we are in the final stretch to the polls. Erdogan or Kilicdaroglu? “It’s like having two seas in front of you”says the former vice chancellor. “One sea is full of reefs, mines and sharks and the other is… unknown. Where are you going; I would instinctively say that you’ll get to the point where you’ll say “I might as well.” In the other case, everything is given”, he explains. And he adds: “We are under no illusions, of course. In both cases, Turkey will be a difficult neighbor. What the West will do also matters. Will it contain Erdogan or Kilicdaroglu better and more effectively? Kilicdaroglu would say it will be part of this West. But it all depends about us and how we prepare for the future”.

What is the main difference between the two presidential candidates? “It is Erdogan’s Eurasian orientation, or else Turkey’s attempt to squeeze as much as it can out of those around it – from the West, Russia, China, the Middle East – in line with Kilicdaroglu’s preference for a more pro-oriented policy.” western. Kilicdaroglu wants Turkey to remain part of the West, as it has traditionally been for the past few decades, following the 1923 Treaty of Lausanne. Erdogan has tried to steer Turkey away from that model. The West prefers the model of the Kemalists, that is, Kilicdaroglu, to that of Erdogan who, with a much more autonomous, much more transactional, much more blackmailing policy, has made it difficult for the West in recent years. This will continue if he wins,” explains Mr. Valinakis.

“The ballot boxes in Turkey should not be treated like in a western country”he says podcast Professor of International Relations at the University of Athens. “We are talking about a state in which there is a lot of authoritarianism. Erdogan controls everything. He won’t let victory easily slip through his fingers. Therefore, all the measurements that are made are an element that we simply have to take into account and nobody knows on election night what the real will of the Turkish people will be and how this will translate into an election result. Between one and the other there are several parastatal mechanisms, which the Erdogan system has already put in place – so we don’t even know if the decision of the Turkish people is what we will see the next day in the official results.”

Mr. Valinakis was asked if Erdogan can manipulate the result. The response of the former Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs was more than clear. “Absolutely. And for direct falsification of the result at the polls. The terms in which the two sides -main- face each other are not equal. One side controls everything. It imprisons whoever it wants. Terrible things are happening these days in Turkey that are happening They go unnoticed. They show the orientation that Turkey will have even more strength after the elections if Erdogan wins.”.

The electoral battle is inconclusive and the next day is difficult, whatever the result. “The objective of the opposition is to win from the first round. It is within the limits of the possible, but it is not certain that it will succeed. Kilicdaroglu may approach self-sufficiency, but if they make it to the second round, things will be more favorable for Erdogan.. He will have 14 days, between the two electoral contests, to use all the means that can and cannot be imagined, including a crisis with a neighboring country. A discovery, suddenly, of a terrorist network or of a “terrorist” action that he will attribute to the country’s enemies, that is, to the opposition that has allied itself with the Kurds. Too many things can happen for him to be the winner in the second election. That is his plan, after all.».

Could I also use Greece? “A desperate Erdogan looking for a way to win votes could use the period between our first and second electoral contests. The perfect storm could happen. Facing him would be a Greece, especially after May 21, with an interim government headed by a supreme judge who has little to do with foreign defense. During this time there is an inability to make decisions on the part of Greece… So? What better opportunity for the Turkish president to send a team of commandos to a rocky Greek island one morning, putting Greece in a terrible dilemma. In theory, this scenario exists. And he can give Erdogan points. For that alone he would plan it».

The professor sees the possibility of great unrest in Türkiye. To be more specific: “If Kilicdaroglu leads with more than 50%, we will have an attempt by the Erdogan system to annul the opposition’s victory, by all means. With people in the streets, with paramilitaries, with occupation of radio stations and channels. It is not easy for Kilicdaroglu to win. And if he wins, we will have a period of great internal turmoil in Turkey. I think this can be done the other way around. In the event that the battle is won by Erdogan, which is most likely, the opposition will come out street and we will have a great rivalry for a long time”..

Listen to the interesting analysis of Ioannis Valinakis.

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