What would be the consequences of Erdoğan's re-election?

Turkey's President Erdoğan has called snap parliamentary and presidential elections for the end of June. The new presidential system that gives the president comprehensive powers will come into force with the elections. Some commentators are apprehensive about Erdoğan winning another term in office. Others argue that his re-election could have a positive impact on foreign affairs.

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Evrensel (TR) /

AKP's implausible election manifesto

Erdoğan presented his plans for the coming legislative period to thousands of supporters on Sunday. But nothing but lies are being spread about his election manifesto, Evrensel comments:

“The AKP's media and spokespersons praised the manifesto as a 'sacred scripture' for days on end before it was made public. But now it turns out that everything they wrote about it is lies. ... No doubt the most implausible part of the manifesto is the bit where 'more democracy', 'more freedom' and 'more independence for the judiciary' are promised after June 24! ... This manifesto, which Erdoğan and the AKP have said they will implement if they win the elections on June 24, is the weakest, most unbelievable piece of writing the AKP has ever put out prior to an election. That means that the AKP and Erdoğan simply have nothing to offer the Turkish people.”

Hürriyet Daily News (TR) /

Improved relations with the US and EU possible

Erdoğan being re-elected could have a positive impact on Turkey's Syria policy and its relations with the EU and the US, Hürriyet Daily News asserts:

“In foreign policy, a big change could be expected in Ankara's Syria policy if Erdoğan is not re-elected. But even if he is re-elected, which seems most likely, a fine-tuning of policy regarding Syria, Iran and other Middle Eastern countries could be expected. If Erdoğan is re-elected and decides to lift the state of emergency, it could help bring some moderation in Turkey's relations with the European Union. No big changes would be likely in relations with Russia, China and Japan. But the key factor in Turkey's foreign policy is likely to remain relations with the U.S., with all their angles in relation to Syria, terrorism, Russia and European security.”

The Times (GB) /

Chipping away at the Kemalist legacy

The Turkish president wants to reverse the Western, secular orientation introduced by Atatürk, The Times complains:

“As always, Mr Erdoğan's campaign tactic is to portray himself as Turkey's defender and champion in the face of the country's enemies - be they the PKK Kurdish separatists, the EU or secularists within the country denigrating Turkey's faith and history. Bit by bit he has been chipping away at the Kemalist legacy of secularism, reform and western orientation. He dwells instead on the Ottoman past, the need for greater adherence to Islamist principles and the steady disengagement from Nato and the EU.”

Cyprus Mail (CY) /

Cyprus should keep quiet for now

In the two months before the Turkish presidential elections Cyprus should avoid making any provocative statements, the Cyprus Mail urges:

“A spell of silence and mild tones could be viewed as a discreet form of support to the current president, helping him to secure his almost-certain re-election. In return, the Republic of Cyprus could expect an enhanced level of understanding, in the post-election era, when the intercommunal discussions should be resumed, at the utmost speed. In other words, the impolite slogans and adjectives, which invariably serve no purpose beyond the possible diffusion of pressure on the part of those who utilise them, should be placed in a refrigerator over the next two months, particularly by the mass media.”

Ria Novosti (RU) /

Moscow must closely watch its strategic partner

For Moscow there are advantages and disadvantages to Turkey's plans to hold early elections, Ria Novosti concludes:

“On the one hand Moscow sees Erdoğan as a predictable partner and wants to continue cooperating with him. This predictability is likely to increase if Erdoğan wins the election and gains new powers as president. Moreover he won't have to rely so much on populism, which means it will be easier for Moscow and Ankara to reach a consensus on the Afrin question and the fate of post-war Syria. On the other hand Russia must be worried by the combination of Islamism and nationalism which forms the basis of Erdoğan's foreign policy. ... The Turkish project foresees Ankara dominating the whole area pan-Turkism claims for itself. ... Russia has no choice here but to defy [Turkey] and draw a red line.”

Die Presse (AT) /

President takes preemptive action

Die Presse explains why the Turkish President Erdoğan is in a hurry:

“Major problems are simmering beneath the surface. ... The economic growth figures are good, but at the same time the currency is losing value. Inflation is rising. The Turkish leadership is blaming 'foreign powers' for this, but the problems are homemade. Erdoğan and his advisers know that the situation could deteriorate, with more and more Turkish citizens feeling the effects. The Turks are already suffering because of high prices. So the strategy is preemptive action. Get people to the ballots as quickly as possible.”

Hürriyet (TR) /

Another summer down the drain

This is the fourth summer in a row that will be ruined by elections and political developments, Hürriyet complains:

“Things are happening so fast: the summer of 2015 with the June 7 elections, their aftershock and the repeat elections hurtled past. FETÖ [the Gülen movement] spoiled the 2016 season for us. In the middle of the year it committed treason against our country and spoiled our summer. And last year? The spring was spent dealing with the constitutional referendum and the summer with its after-effects. Three summers in a row during which we couldn't enjoy, feel, or see. Dear friends, this is a Mediterranean country that essentially comes to life in the summer. ... Let us stop and breathe a little. Let us enjoy a beautiful summer.”

Spiegel Online (DE) /

Already clear who will win

The Turkish president can rest assured that he will win, Spiegel Online comments:

“Like in the summer of 2015 when the AKP lost its sole rule, if the polls show that it could be a close race, Erdoğan will plunge the country into chaos so he can say: 'Only with me can there be stability and security!' ... His Islamic populism is also winning votes: many people believe that Erdoğan, a strong, religious man, is good for Turkey. The chances of a serious contender coming forward are slim indeed. The nationalist MHP, although de facto an opposition party, supports Erdoğan's cause. The Kemalist CHP, the largest opposition party, is a shadow of its former self. Meanwhile the most important brains of the only true opposition party, the HDP, are behind bars. That's Turkish for democracy.”

To Vima Online (GR) /

Only the economy could become a problem

Erdoğan's prospects are indeed good, To Vima Onlie agrees:

“After these elections he could be the absolute ruler even without the state of emergency, which he continually prolongs on the pretext of the Gülenist threat. Since the opposition is divided and oppressed in the context of extremely nationalistic discourse, Erdoğan effectively has no powerful opponents who could pose a threat to his rule. His only problem is likely to be the turbulence of the Turkish economy. The lira is continually losing value, the deficit is growing and economic uncertainty is increasingly a problem for large sections of the population.”

Artı Gerçek (TR) /

Hold elections while all is under control

The timing of the snap election is determined by panic, Artı Gerçek believes:

“The Afrin operation secured the voters' support for the ultra-right alliance [AKP and MHP] only for a short time. But with the end of the war the approval ratings also dropped. There's not a single reliable survey or study that guarantees the necessary 51 percent for the alliance. ... Even if the AKP behaves as if it didn't care about the EU progress report, there is no longer any kind of legitimation for the state of emergency. How long do they plan to keep extending the state of emergency? It's becoming more and more costly. ... On the other hand 'the palace' has no other option but to call elections while the state of emergency is still in place. Because you have to hold elections while you still have everything 'under control'.”

Daily Sabah (TR) /

Presidential system will bring stability

The sooner Turkey makes the transition to a new political system, the faster the markets will stabilise and the economy will recover, Daily Sabah believes:

“The presidential system will be implemented with the president being elected independently by the legislature. In other words, it is possible that the president and the governing party are of opposite ideologies as is often the case in the United States. This system of government will ultimately bring stability to Turkey as it has the U.S. Perhaps this will also signal an end to snap elections for the foreseeable future. A constant monkey wrench in the ability for investors to accurately predict the future of the country, snap elections are a never-ending cycle of uncertainty and need to be curtailed.”