Ahval News: Despite projection of supreme confidence, Erdoğan harbors private concerns23 June 2018 | 17:19 | FOCUS News Agency
Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections, where Erdoğan is looking to retain his seat as president, will usher in a presidential system in accordance with a new constitution narrowly approved in the April 2017 referendum, regardless of the outcome.
With a de facto presidential system in place since his 2014 election, buttressed by the prevailing state of emergency (OHAL) has permitted Erdogan to govern by executive order since the July 2016 coup attempt, Aliriza points out.
‘’The elections constitute a serious test of Erdogan’s growing domination of Turkish politics,’’ he writes while noting that since leading Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) into office in November 2002, as the country was still reeling from the effects of the 2001 financial crisis, Erdogan has ascended in popularity over the years. However,Turkey has faced unprecedented financial headwinds over the past year in particular and Erdogan has since been confronting a challenge likely to tax even his impressive capabilities.
Heading to the polls, Erdogan has been making regular references to the ongoing military campaigns within Turkish borders, as well as beyond in Syria and Iraq against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), an armed group fighting in Turkey for over 30 yaers and its People’s Protection Units (YPG) affiliate, along with his leading role in the Islamic world exemplified by the Jerusalem issue.
Turkey’s strongman has also made a point out of warning his supporters about the dangers of a return to pre-2002 conditions, which he claims were characterized by poverty and deprivation coupled with restrictions on Islamic headscarves, Aliriza notes.
Even so, his campaign has been below his usual standards as his supporters acknowledge, he writes, with the machine delivering respectable size crowds, but rallies being comparatively lackluster.
Current polls suggest that the total number of votes likely to be cast in the presidential election for main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) candidate Muharrem Ince, center-right nationalist İYİ (Good) Party candidate Meral Aksener, Islamist Felicity (Saadet) Party candidate Temel Karamollagolu and pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) candidate Selahattin Demirtas could exceed 50 percent on Sunday. This, despite extraordinary circumstances prevailing under Turkey’s ongoing state of emergency rule.
While Erdogan continues to project supreme confidence, it’s hard to believe that he’s not harboring private concerns, Aliriza writes.
‘’There may be a deep undercurrent against AKP incumbency similar to those in the watershed elections of 1950, 1983, and 2002,’’ he says.
The election result is set to reveal whether “metal fatigue,” which Erdogan first warned the AKP about on May 30, 2017, has affected the capabilities of the party machine despite his sustained effort to reorganize and renew the party that has ruled Turkey for 16 years.
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