Erdogan advances presidential election in Turkey, “we had to dare!”     The

Erdogan advances presidential election in Turkey, “we had to dare!” The

ADEM ALTAN v AFP Turkey’s President and Justice and Development Party (AK) leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during his party’s faction meeting at the Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) in Ankara December 21, 2022. – Erdogan fired previous December 21, 2022 in Western criticism of a political ban imposed on the mayor of the popular opposition in Istanbul ahead of next year’s parliamentary elections. (Photo by Adem ALTAN / AFP)


Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has announced his intention to hold presidential elections on May 14, a month ahead of schedule.

TURKEY – The three-cushion billiard shot of a ruler who concentrates more and more power in his hands. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, struggling in the elections against a backdrop of runaway inflation, announced on Thursday October 19 his intention to hold presidential and parliamentary elections on May 14, a month ahead of schedule. to organize. With this tactical trick, the former prime minister (2003-2014)-turned-head-of-state could run for a third consecutive term as head of state.

As Le Monde reports, when the constitution limits a president’s number of consecutive terms to two, it provides an exception “if Parliament decides to renew the elections during the president’s second term.” This change in schedule also has many benefits, as explained by HuffPost Élise Massicard, CNRS researcher specializing in political sociology of contemporary Turkey. Interview.

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced on Thursday that the presidential elections in Turkey would be brought forward by a month. What are the goals of the maneuver?

There are several parameters to explain this decision. But the most important thing is the polls. The latter show that he is weakened, but Erdogan has been enjoying a resurgence in recent weeks linked to his foreign policy, particularly his role as mediator in connection with the war in Ukraine and his very firm position on Sweden joining NATO from Finland .

In Turkey, Erdogan manages to capitalize on this image of a strong man who knows how to be respected internationally and to push sensitive issues forward. Despite his ambivalence towards Putin, he managed to snag a deal on the export of Ukrainian grain, the outcome of which was far from guaranteed. With an additional dimension “Turkey brings benefits to humanity and fights hunger in the world”. We often see the Turkish President’s combative side, but he was able to show another facet on this occasion that he benefits from internally.

However, this improvement has limits because the economic situation remains very critical. His policies in this area have been astounding, with forms of very strong power control over economic policy. This crisis has been going on for many months and is proving itself
very deep.

The outgoing president also wants to take advantage of the fact that the opposition has not yet nominated their candidate. Longtime favourite, Istanbul Mayor Ekrem İmamoğlu saw his chances jeopardized by a two and a half year prison sentence in a very political trial…

Ironically, for a long time it was the opposition that wanted early elections because of the very poor economic situation. Today she actually has a candidate problem. Although he appealed, Ekrem İmamoğlu, who seemed best suited to confront the current president, has a sword of Damocles over his head and it would be very risky to point that out to him.

Among the alternative candidates, none really manages to achieve unanimity within the parties of the opposition coalition of six political parties. And if parliament authorizes an election on May 14, the opposition candidate will have very little time to campaign.

The May 14 date is very symbolic as it corresponds to the victory in 1950 of Adnan Menderes, a protector of the conservative right. What is Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s message?

In Turkey, symbolic dates are very important. However, May 14, 1950 not only marks the first victory of a conservative party modeled on the AKP – Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party – but above all the first free elections after 27 years of a single party.

Implicitly, then, Erdogan wants to gain freedom while embodying an increasingly authoritarian regime…

You had to dare! For several years there has been a concentration of power in the hands of the President and ever-increasing ties between the AKP and the state. In these conditions, it is very strong to demand an extension of his mandate while demanding democratic freedom and electoral legitimacy!

There is also the question of whether competition will really be free and egalitarian. During the election for about a decade, many public funds have been allocated to the power camp. There is a glaring inequality in access to the airwaves in the media, penalizing opposition candidates.

And if the opposition wins, one wonders if the presidential camp would recognize their defeat. In Istanbul, local elections were canceled in March 2019 before Ekrem İmamoğlu saw his score improve in the second round. In addition, there have been several examples of changes in practical voting rules in elections in recent years. With the situation tense this time, it’s possible that power will play by the rules again. In this regard, the confidence of the opposition in Turkey, but also of the population in general, in the reliability and transparency of the elections is falling.

Is the Kurdish question present in this campaign?

It is indirectly due to the positioning of the pro-Kurdish HDP (People’s Democratic Party). He is not part of the opposition coalition, but in the local elections in Istanbul he withdrew his candidate and informally supported the opposition, which made all the difference.

In the case of the parliamentary and presidential elections, the question arises as to whether and under what conditions such an implicit alliance will come about. This question is all the more important as this party has been criminalized again and again in recent weeks, with even more emphasis. A possible ban of this party would reshuffle the cards.

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