TURKISH ELECTIONS HOPE OR DESPAIR?
A Turkish citizen now living in Hastings considers the parlous political situation
in his country of birth and says that the forthcoming elections will be a turning point
in his country’s history.
Early elections will be held in Turkey on 24th of June. The decision by President Tayyip Erdogan, which took everybody by surprise, may be because of the rapidly approaching massive economic crisis.
He has allied his Justice and Development party – AKP – with an infamous ultra nationalist
party – MHP – calculating it would give him a clear majority in his grab for absolute power and also give the AKP a comfortable lead in parliament.
When he announced the early elections everyone was sure of his victory – even the hedge-fund managers in London started buying Turkish bonds. Then came the big surprise: the main opposition party also formed an alliance – with two other groups, one led by former prime minister Metal Akşener, the other a small but influential moderate leftish Islamic party. At first, Akşener was seen as the main contender against Erdogan. Then the opposition declared a different candidate – Muharrem Ince – a retired physics teacher who goes to Friday prayers, but never hides that he drinks alcohol, and, most importantly, is a great speaker. As soon as his candidacy was announced, the political winds started to change. The latest polls show Erdogan would not gain an outright victory in the first round … then the bombshell: in the second round the opposition alliance might actually win.
The Kurdish party (HDP) has also hinted they will support Erdogan’s opponents in the second round. So the elections turn into a rather difficult maths problem and Erdogan is not the same old Erdogan as we all know. He looks kind of tired, surprised, and it is obvious that, despite all the efforts, he is unable to gather the crowds as easily as before. So there might be light at the end of the tunnel, even given the ice-cold reality of Erdogan’s power over every single institution in the county.
Democracy is already dead and buried in Turkey, the country has been under emergency rule since the 2016 coup attempt. All Kurdish media have been either shut down or taken over. Turkey has become the world’s biggest journalist jailer. Record numbers of Turks are leaving the country. Parliament has been turned into a puppet house. Erdogan and his close family plus a handful of shady businessman and few civil servants act as if they were a large Sicilian mafia clan.
The emergency rule means there is absolutely no justice, no rule of law, let alone any whiff of democracy. There is a general consensus that he wants to be an eternal leader till he dies. This is a logical demand because otherwise this huge corruption system would collapse and he and his cronies would be put on trial.
Every judge who will witness and preside over the counting of votes was hand picked by him. So there goes the clean election and clean vote counting. The leader of the HDP has been in jail for over a year on some petty accusations. Most of his MPs are also in jail and stripped of their statutes.
The coming election may be the most important in the history of the Turkish Republic. I greatly fear he will win again no matter what. In the case of his victory, our dreams of a better future for our children, democracy and freedom would be buried so deep that future generations of Turkish children would not even know the meaning of these words. Sometimes I think we are paying the price of our bloody and ruthless past, and this suffering is the inevitable curse of our history. In less than a month’s time we will see the shape of Turkey’s future.
The author’s name has been withheld at his request.
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