The Author

Zeynep Mentesoglu

Zeynep Mentesoglu holds a Bachelor Degree in International Relations at Middle East Technical University, Ankara. She is currently running a double-master programme at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) in Barcelona. Her main focus is on integration of immigrants, territorial management strategies and regional integration policies of European Union with a particular focus on South Mediterranean including Spain, Italy, Greece and Turkey.

Only a few days left for Turkey’s June 24 snap elections. Turkey will hold to two elections: parliamentary and presidential on Sunday. It is of capital importance. In April 2017 referendum people of Turkey voted in favour of a presidential system. June 24 elections will bring this executive presidency replacing current parliamentary system.

In order to win the majority of seats parties have formed alliances and many agreed upon the nomination of a joint name as their candidate for Turkey’s future president. Seven out of ten parties are divided into two electoral alliances.

Erdogan’s AKP (Justice and Development Party), MHP (Nationalist Movement Party) and another right-wing BBP (Great Unity Party) form People’s Alliance. On the other side, Nation Alliance is formed by CHP (Republican People’s Party), IYI(Good) Party, Demokrat(Democratic)Party and Saadet (Felicity) Party. HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) that receives votes mostly from Kurdish populated parts of Turkey is running the elections independently.

Two names seem to become prominent within increasing competition: Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Muharrem Ince. Current President Erdogan is nominated by AK Party, MHP and BBP alliance. Main opposition party CHP nominated Muharrem Ince as its president candidate. Ince steps forward with heated speech in his electoral rallies. Ince competes head to head showing a strong opposition to Erdogan who never lost an election after he founded AKP.

Turkish politics have become highly volatile as a result of both internal and external conflicts broke up in its geography. Similar factors also stand for as potential determinants of voting behaviour and of election results. To touch upon an economic determinant, it is true Turkish lira has been experiencing a harsh decline against Dollar and Euro. Turkish currency lost % 5.07 in its value against Dollar since January.

Particularly, domestic investors who borrowed in dollars seems to be deeply concerned with the record low of Turkish lira. Central bank’s initiatives to increase interest rates seems not to cure the worries of domestic investors yet. Erdogan and AKP promises Turkey’s economy will switch gears after the elections. Credibility of electoral promises of both sides and perceived situation of Turkish economy by voters can play a determinant role in election results.

Kurdish votes appear as another determinant of upcoming elections. Many policy makers are of the same mind of that Kurdish votes will play a key role. Kurdish population in Turkey is counted nearly 15 million of country’s population forming a significant part of votes. It is noted Kurdish votes so far have been shared between two parties: AKP or HDP. AKP and HDP so far have managed to win nearly all votes in south-eastern cities which are mostly populated by ethnically Kurdish citizens.

There is an observable variance in the way Kurdish population express themselves due to sectarian (Sunni, Alawite) and ideological differences within. It is expected votes of conservative Kurds tend to swing more and can play a determinant role in election results.

Votes of Turks living abroad constitute %5 of total votes. Despite they do not have much political weight on the election results of previous elections, this situation can be different for upcoming elections. Erdogan stated for abroad votes “In Europe, with God’s help, also brings us to a burst”, “The signal you send from there will, God willing, merge with the voices of your brothers in Turkey and 24th June will be unique”.

Vote rates outside Turkey are appeared to be on behalf of AKP and HDP and to the detriment of CHP and MHP in previous elections. In case June 24 elections get to second round, importance of votes from abroad is expected to increase its determinant role.

Election campaigns and rallies have an important effect on vote. Considerable amounts of budget have been spent for electoral rallies as well as parties’ campaigns on media. Motives triggering nationalistic and religious sentiments have been frequently used during the rhetoric of leaders as well as electoral videos. Erdogan’s latest campaigns prides in the rapid growth in infrastructure during their rule and promise a “rearing era” for Turkey.  Whereas Nation Alliance and president candidate Ince give primacy to the notions of justice, freedom and a peaceful foreign policy.

Majority of political parties converge in their promised determination in Turkey’s counterterrorism policy with an exception of HDP. June 24 snap elections will arrive in a few days and Turkish people will vote for the party and candidate they find more credible. Regardless of priorities shaping individual voting preferences, it is true it will be a critical choice that will affect Turkey’s future both within its geography and in European context at the end of the day.

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