Why did the Turks vote for Erdogan?

By | May 15, 2023

Turkey finally appears to be following the broader global trend of societies choosing the sentiment of national and social stability, security, and introversion (“nativism” as in the US), over the prospect of democratization and social progressivism.

Giving once again an important victory to Tayyip Erdogan and the AKP but also to the hard extreme right in all its political manifestations.

Defying all authoritative opinion polls in recent weeks, the AKP and its nationalist allies scored a major victory yesterday by retaining a significant majority in the National Assembly (325 seats), despite losing a total of around 8% compared to with 2018.

Tayyip Erdogan did not make it out of the first round but received 49.3%, while Kemal Kilicdaroglu 45%. Sinan Ogan got 5.23%.

In the parliamentary elections, the AKP obtained 35.6% (in 2018 it had received 42.6%) and has 266 seats, the MHP 10.12% (11.1% in 2018) and 51 seats, the CHP 25.4% (22.6% in 2018) with 168 seats, YII 9.9% (10% in 2018) with 44 seats, HDP/YSP 8.9% (11.7% in 2018) with 62 seats , the hardline Islamic Prosperity Renewed party received an impressive 2.8% while the smaller opposition parties barely reached 1%.

The official count has not yet been completed but no substantial changes are expected in the results.

night of confusion

Last night was filled with anxiety and confusion as the official Anadolu agency gave different results and the opposition agency ANKA gave different results, while the AKP’s systematic strategy of objecting to every local count gave Kilicdaroglu victory. delayed everything. process.

Kilicdaroglu and other opposition leaders largely accepted the results, saying they must win in the runoff on May 28, while Tayyip Erdogan looked particularly pleased, singing as he addressed supporters.

The far right on the ramparts

The AKP, despite losing around 7% relative to the 2018 election, managed to hold on to its strongholds, while even in Istanbul and Ankara, Kılıçdaroğlu only marginally managed to prevail over Erdogan.

The new electoral law certainly worked in favor of the government. In Trabzon, for example, the AKP lost 8% compared to 2018, but won the same number of seats.

The MHP, which even pro-government polls registered around 7-8%, eventually came away with 10%, maintaining its strength, while Meral Aksener’s IYY, founded by ex-members of the nationalists and who tried to shape a more civil and constitutional nationalism, lost. compared to 2018. The dominance of hardline nationalism and authoritarianism is also recorded in the impressively large percentage of Ogan, who went to the election without a specific ideology but with a strong nationalist, anti-Kurdish and anti-immigrant narrative.

failed experiments

In the field of Islamism, the experiment of “post-Islamism”, that is, a modernized and liberal Islamism of Ali Babacan and Ahmet Davutoglu failed miserably.

Not only because their parties barely reached 1%, but because the small ultra-conservative-reactionary Prosperity Renewed party managed to get close to 3%, an impressive and surprising percentage. In addition, the Kurdish extremist Islamic party Huda-Par, the political representative of Kurdish Hezbollah, managed through its alliance with the AKP to elect three deputies for the first time in history.

kurds and leftists

In the Kurdish regions, the HDP/YSP remains the leading party but with a weakening both locally and nationally, losing around 2% in total.

This weakening seems to be mainly due to the also unexpected strengthening of the radical left-wing Turkish Workers’ Party (TİP), which received 1.6%, and which, mainly in the urban centers of western Turkey and among the youth, was ” fishing in the same waters” as the HDP/YSP.

Second, while the Kurds were very supportive of Kilicdaroglu, less than the polls indicated, it seems that the pro-Kurdish party’s alliance with the CHP “Kemalists” who are in the same alliance as Aksener upset the more radical of the Kurdish movement.

No to “many barbers”

The opposition seems to have finally failed to convince with its narrative of democratization, rationality and social peace, while it also seems to have failed in the experiment of “post-Kemalism”, that is, a mutated and secularized vision of multiculturalism and democracy.

One of the AKP’s election ads was about a young man with long messy hair who walks into a hair salon with many barbers offering to cut it. The message was clear: many will not do a good job while one will. The six opposition leaders were not convinced that they would do as good a job as Erdogan’s.

Hard for Kilicdaroglu

Therefore, with these data, it is now considered very difficult for Kilicdaroglu to win in the second round since Erdogan’s great advantage is his majority in the National Assembly and the prospect of political stability that will be the cornerstone of his narrative.

Ogan has already said he would support Kilicdaroglu in the runoff, but he made this a condition for excluding the HDP, so his votes are likely to be split between Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu, though it will also come as a surprise if hardline Kemalists from Ogan vote for Erdogan.

The fortnight until the second round is expected to be particularly tough, but Erdogan once again has the psychological advantage, while in Turkey there may be tensions within the opposition, making things even easier for Erdogan.

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