Elections In Turkey – The Country Of Dilemmas 

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Western or Eastern, European or Asian, modern or traditional, secular or religious? Having struggled between many opposing sides throughout their history, the Turkish people are struggling on the border of another dilemma nowadays: to go on with the ruling party which has been in charge for the last 13 years or to choose a new party to form the government as well as the country’s future.

Former elections in June left an impasse and no single party gained a governing majority, which was a great shock for the ruling AK Party which has lost its 13-year “one party” statue in spite of Erdoğan’s efforts during the election campaigns. Opposition parties and several institutions fired away at President Erdoğan accusing him of abusing his presidential power on behalf of the AK Party by asking “400 deputies ” from voters to change the constitution and to establish a presidential system.

Deprived of the majority but having the most of the votes, the AK Party’s new leader Davutoğlu had been asked to form a new government within 45 days by president Erdoğan, which failed after negotiations with other parties’ leaders. Following this, President Erdoğan used his right granted by Turkey’s Constitution and decided to hold a new election after the 45-day period expired without the formation of a government.

The parliamentary re-election on the 1st of November will result in not only party selection but also the people’s decision on Erdoğan’s presidency. If the AK Party gains at least 400 deputies and has the majority there is no doubt that the presidential system is going to be established and Erdoğan is going to be declared the supreme leader of the country. But if the result does not change, difficult times will start for the AK Party which may lead it to dissolution.

The decision is not so easy to be made as Turkish People are divided into two groups — as usual — on Erdoğan’s identity. His followers see him as an unquestionable Islamic and national hero who should be in charge with full authority while the others see him as the dictator head of a corrupted and kleptocratic regime who abuses his power and manipulates Islamic values.

But Erdoğan’s identity is not the only dilemma which complicates the situation for a Turkey which has been ruled by the same party for 13 years. On one hand the tarnished image of a ruling party with the claims of corruption and being over-oppressive and on the other hand an incompetent image of the other parties with bad reputations seem to confuse voters who see no obvious selection between the two.

Besides the unsolved mystery of the recent terrorist attacks and the inconsistent comments made by authorities on the Kurdish situation, there are other issues which will have a deep effect upon parliament’s formation depending on voters critical opinions on HDP, the party which has mainly but not only Kurdish but also leftist and even nationalist Turkish followers as well as strong haters and which won 80 deputies in the former election with the campaign against Erdoğan’s presidency and deprived the AK Party of the majority.

Turkey is getting through difficult times between political dilemmas. And the future does not seem to be easier.

Analysis by Emre Seven