Türkiye will hold both presidential and parliamentarian elections on Sunday. It is generally being shared that Türkiye is at a crossroads. All internal and external observers consider the elections as the most important elections in the whole world. That is, it is not only vital for the Turkish people but also important for the region and even for the world. The results of the Turkish elections will have significant implications for both national and international politics. Today, I want to take some notes on the Western perceptions of the coming elections.
The Western media doubling down on its anti-Erdoğan campaign in the home stretch is hardly surprising. In addition to The Economist, which went well beyond endorsing the opposition candidate in Türkiye’s presidential race, publications like Foreign Policy, Le Point, L’Express, Der Spiegel and The Washington Post have been notably involved in the Turkish elections.
A total of 26 political parties submitted their parliamentary candidate lists to the Supreme Election Council (YSK) on Sunday. They faced criticism over their picks – just like in every other election. Obviously, such lists represent the outcome of vigilant plans that take many different factors into consideration. Such as it is perfectly natural in failing to address all expectations at the grassroots level and for some people to be unhappy.
Everyone seems to agree that Türkiye will make a “critically important choice at a historic crossroads” on May 14. That makes us expect an election campaign where each candidate and their parties will speak their truths. Do not be fooled by the ongoing calmness, as electoral alliances have been trying to expand and negotiate candidate lists in the month of Ramadan.
The upcoming Turkish elections are not characterized by complete right-left polarization. Right-wing parties and former Justice and Development Party (AK Party) members are at the CHP’s table. In truth, anti-Erdoğanism represents the backbone of the opposition campaign, but that is not enough to win. That’s because neo-Kemalist CHP and IP voters do not think that anti-Erdoğanism could justify Kılıçdaroğlu’s engagement with the HDP. Likewise, they are seriously frustrated by the PKK and FETÖ’s thinly veiled endorsement of the prominent opposition leader. In their view, Kılıçdaroğlu and his many vice presidential candidates are not fit to govern Türkiye.