President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan created the framework for the 2023 elections by calling for a new and civilian constitution. The need for a civilian constitution dates back to the adoption of the 1982 Constitution, an embodiment of the authoritarianism of coup leaders, hence, the frequent discussions on constitutional reform over the last 39 years – and 19 constitutional amendments. Yet Turkey still has not managed to talk about its political problems at the constitutional level.
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and its chairperson, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, have completed their 18th year in government. It is an exceptionally long period for continuous rule by a single-party government in electoral political systems.
Once again, Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, started a new debate over early elections. This time around, he urged Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chairperson Devlet Bahçeli, whose movement is part of the pro-government People’s Alliance, to say “enough is enough” and lead the country to elections. Kılıçdaroğlu’s message was an obvious, yet timid, response to Bahçeli’s earlier call on the Good Party’s (IP) Meral Akşener to return home. Former Finance Minister Ali Babacan, who currently chairs the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), echoed the same sentiment, in a meeting with Kılıçdaroğlu and claimed that Turkey’s current system of government would not last until June 2023.
Turkey’s political parties are currently preoccupied with the proposed regulation of social media platforms, the legal status of Hagia Sophia, the parliamentary bill on multiple bar associations, the Istanbul Convention, the LGBT and Generation Z debates and the declining performance of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality. In addition to those hot topics, there are also two permanent features: early elections and potential shifts between electoral alliances.
Recent remarks by Good Party Chairwoman Meral Akşener about the links between the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and the PKK terrorist organization has sparked fresh controversy about the future of electoral alliances in Turkish politics. Recalling the HDP’s inability to distance itself from terrorists, she carved herself out some room to maneuver and revived questions about the possibility of a third electoral alliance emerging in the future.