Turkey at a crossroads

The parliamentary and presidential elections on Sunday could alter Turkey fundamentally: if the incumbent President Erdoğan and his AKP win, he will consolidate his power by introducing a presidential system and abolishing the parliamentary one. As election day nears, Turkish authors are also voicing their views in Western media outlets.

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Sabah (TR) /

Propaganda is pointless, Erdoğan will win anyway

The Western media is backing the anti-Erdoğan campaign - to no avail, Sabah retorts:

“For the past five elections the Western media have churned out the same propaganda. 'This time Erdoğan has a strong opponent', they say. And what happens? Every time Erdoğan wins the election. Will it happen again? Yes, with the help of the nation and inşallah - God willing. But those who feel the need to create propaganda in the Western media in order to influence Turkish politics are powerless [Sabah is referring here in particular to a recent article in the New York Times by a former CHP politician]. These are not attempts to describe what is happening in Turkish politics, they are clearly just cries for help directed at the West. ”

The Independent (GB) /

Turkey not a democracy? Nonsense!

Political scientist Kübra Öztürk defends the political situation in her home country in The Independent:

“Over the past three years, Turkish people have gone to the polls and exercised their democratic will more frequently than in Germany, France, and the UK. The engagement in national elections in Turkey is higher than many other democracies across the globe. The latest turnout statistics for a Turkish national election was 85 per cent compared to France’s 65 per cent, Germany’s 76 per cent, and the United States' 55 per cent. For a country that is constantly peddled as undemocratic and a government that is so often sold as authoritarian, Turkey uses its democratic mechanisms rather frequently.”

Cumhuriyet (TR) /

Turkey needs a parliamentary democracy

Even if CHP candidate İnce, who is doing surprisingly well in the polls, is able to win against Erdoğan, the democratisation of Turkey would by no means be an automatic process, the columnist Aydın Engin observes in Cumhuriyet:

“Muharrem İnce's 'Programme for the first 100 days' makes sense only if it accelerates the transition to a parliamentary democracy (I'm speaking not of a return, but of a transition). He himself has emphasised at a number of rallies that the goal is a parliamentary democracy. … This goal was also included in his party's election manifesto. That's all fine. But it's only fine. Should İnce win the presidential election and should the AKP lose its majority in parliament, that will signal the beginning of a tough test, both for the CHP and for Muharrem İnce. A test of whether they can master the deposing of the one-man regime and the transition to a parliamentary democracy.”

News.bg (BG) /

The president has prepared for the elections

The parliamentary and presidential elections on Sunday will be manipulated, news-bg predicts:

“These elections are taking place against the background of the state of emergency imposed almost two years ago. This not only bolsters the position of the Turkish President Erdoğan in the country’s political processes, but also allows him to reduce the political latitude in the country to a minimum. … In the mainly Kurdish south-east of Turkey, elected mayors have been toppled and replaced with government people who are now in charge of organising the elections at the local level. The aim is clear: to suppress the votes of the Kurds, most of whom oppose Erdoğan.”

The Times (GB) /

Don't be afraid to cooperate with Erdoğan

The West is toeing the same line as the Turkish president on many foreign policy issues, The Times believes:

“Let’s acknowledge that, despite misgivings, we share some of his goals. He wants a safety cushion between northern Syria and Turkey; so do we. He wants more money and respect for acting as a holding pen for more than three million Syrian refugees. Fair enough. The PKK is not just an enemy of Turkey, it’s on our terror lists too. ... It will never be easy to fit Erdogan into our understanding of how democracy should function but we should beware hypocrisy. In certain crucial ways, in an imploding Middle East, his interests coincide with ours.”