Turkish elections: Erdoğan era coming to an end?

Turkey is due to hold parliamentary and presidential elections in June at the very latest. President Erdoğan is being challenged by a six-party alliance that wants to curtail the president's power. However, the alliance partners have yet to name their joint candidate. Now the HDP is considering putting up its own candidate and distributing powers among several people in the event of an election victory.

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Sözcü (TR) /

Not the time for moodiness

Sözcü columnist Emin Çölaşan has no sympathy for the pro-Kurdish HDP party sending its own candidate into the race:

“The most important election in the history of the republic is just a few months away. If the whims, complexes and profit-and-loss calculations of certain parties come out into the open now, the price will crush and bury us all. The esteemed party leaders who obstruct unity for the sake of their own petty interests are only playing right into the hands of Recep Tayyip and his party. ... I believe that in this regard the HDP has a major task to fulfill. Now is not the time for moodiness.”

Habertürk (TR) /

Government with six presidents is utopian

The decision-making powers demanded for several party leaders of the opposition alliance are neither practical nor fair, writes columnist Nagehan Alçı in Habertürk:

“Okay, Turkey has suffered from excessive centralisation and personalisation of power recently, but wouldn't the model described by Mr Davutoğlu lead to a deadlock in the system and make it very difficult to take decisions even on the smallest issues? Would it not create unfair representation if the leaders of the parties, which differ greatly in terms of how many votes they get, are put on an equal footing with the president who was elected with more than 50 percent of the vote?”

HuffPost Greece (GR) /

Risk of phase of uncertainty

Hippocrates Daskalakis, a retired lieutenant general and Director of Studies at The Hellenic Institute for Strategic Studies, writes on HuffPost Greece:

“2023 will be an election year in the Eastern Mediterranean, with Greece, the Republic of Cyprus and Turkey choosing governments that will not only have to solve common problems but also improve their strained relations with each other. However, we should not forget that the Turkish opposition alliance could enter a phase of uncertainty if the election result is not clear, and especially if the 'sultan' falls just short of an election victory. It is not unlikely that we will even see images of conflict and disintegration similar to those after the July 2016 coup.”

Karar (TR) /

A chance to restore trust

Voters now even doubt the integrity of the electoral authority, says Karar:

“The current government has amended the electoral law, right down to the electoral boards, to its own advantage without even consulting the opposition. The impartiality of the Supreme Election Council had never been questioned up to now. It was an institution that brought honour to Turkey among the world's democracies. But now its impartiality is no longer trusted. Television has for the most part become a propaganda tool for the government. ... Faced with such a government, the fact that the fragmented opposition has united to form the Table for Six alliance is an opportunity for Turkey. Its representatives are far more qualified than the government.”

T24 (TR) /

Name your candidate!

Journalist Hakan Aksay addresses the opposition alliance directly on T24 and demands clarity:

“With just a few months to go before the elections, you seem to be content with doing your perfect warm-up exercises on the sidelines without actually getting onto the pitch. ... Why are people surprised, why can't they trust you? Because they are helpless. They are trying to understand what you are up to and what you intend to do. ... Please finally nominate the candidate and no matter who it is, prove that you have created a genuinely robust alliance by putting other strong leading figures alongside the nominated candidate. Stop just warming up for the elections and get onto the pitch.”

Artı Gerçek (TR) /

Rivals dodging a smear campaign

Artı Gerçek, on the other hand, believes the opposition is right to hold back on naming its candidate:

“The table for six, rightly or wrongly criticised on many issues, has made the right political decision by not announcing its candidate so far. The founders of the Nation Alliance know very well that as soon as it announces its opposition candidate the palace government will launch a major campaign of attrition and even destruction consisting of fabricated lies, plots and conspiracies orchestrated by the media, judiciary and security forces that are tied to it. Current events show that not fielding an opposition candidate upsets the game plan set up by the palace.”

T24 (TR) /

Unfair tactics against political opponents

Selahattin Demirtaş, the imprisoned former co-chairman of the pro-Kurdish HDP, predicts a fierce political battle on the website T24:

“The election campaign will not take place on equal terms. The government will use every means at its disposal disproportionately and unfairly. It will resort to unimaginably dirty and scary methods. ... Whatever the government does, whatever ruse it comes up with, the people have made their decision. ... It won't take a miracle to turn the nearly 70 percent of the electorate who want change into victory.”

Ukrajinska Prawda (UA) /

The opposition alliance can turn things around

The opposition parties in the Nation Alliance have a real chance of defeating Erdoğan, writes Ukrainska Pravda:

“They are united on several points. First, by the desire to disempower Erdoğan. Second, by the desire to return to being a parliamentary republic where presidential power is not so centralised and consolidated. That is what is crucial in the next elections - these are not just about who wins as an individual, as a candidate, but about what Turkey's political system will look like after 2023. ... Turkey is in a very difficult economic situation, and it is the economic and financial difficulties that have most influence on the mood of Turkish voters.”

Milliyet (TR) /

Only united on one issue

The opposition Nation Alliance is unable to agree on fundamental issues, the pro-government daily Milliyet notes:

“The opposition to Erdoğan initially glossed over the differences at their table of six, but when it came to the question of governing the country, chaos broke out. If it wins the elections but cannot achieve a majority to deliver on its promise of constitutional change towards a 'strengthened parliamentary system', all hell is likely to break loose. ... The problem is that the Nation Alliance does not offer an alternative government that gives hope to the people of Turkey and of which one can say: 'They too can govern the country'.”