With Türkiye entering the final week of the 2023 election campaign, rhetorical battles have notably escalated. It would be wrong to reduce that development to peak polarization because what observers have called this year’s most important election remains critically important for the country’s future.
Although the checks and balances mechanisms in modern liberal democracies have increasingly diversified, the most effective means for accountability and controlling leaders is still the ballot box. Of course, free, fair and competitive elections are not the only condition for a regime’s pluralistic and libertarian rule, but it is a prerequisite.
CHP and the IP may face two problems at once. Failure to talk about autonomy or native-language education would get them stuck between Erdoğan’s Diyarbakır address and the HDP’s demands. Discussing the problems with the reconciliation process would put the CHP and the IP, not the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), in a difficult position.
The Istanbul rerun election fueled new developments in Turkish politics. There is an ongoing discussion on a range of issues including the presidential system and the prospect of new political parties. The newfound "self-confidence" of Kurdish nationalists deserves particular attention in this context. The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) takes credit for the Republican People's Party's (CHP) success in the March 31 and June 23 elections. As a matter of fact, it dates its influence back to the June 2018 elections.