The Opposition in Turkey: Erdogan will Lose - and he already knows it

World | May 13, 2023, Saturday // 10:57
Bulgaria: The Opposition in Turkey: Erdogan will Lose - and he already knows it

Recep Tayyip Erdogan will lose both his presidency and his majority in parliament on Sunday. The opposition parties united against him and his Justice and Development Party are convinced of this.

The key, however, is that the elections are protected as much as possible - that's why in recent days all opposition parties, even the more marginal ones, have been intensively conducting detailed training on voting security.

This has gathered dozens of supporters of the People's Democratic Party in the tiny premises of the headquarters in Sisli - one of the central districts of Istanbul. They are getting valuable guidance on how to watch for voting irregularities, the key activity that the opposition says will turn Erdogan's loss into a conviction.

Meanwhile, local polling agencies have released data - Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the united opposition's candidacy, is winning against Erdogan. According to some - already in the first round, according to others there will be a runoff. But the polls do not take into account the fact that the third candidate, Muharrem İnce, dropped out of the race a day earlier.

Kerem Dencir is a young political scientist from the Future Party, a creation of former Prime Minister and Erdogan's right-hand man Ahmet Davutolu. He entered politics as a Kemalist activist, but quickly found they were too leftist for his taste and joined Davutolu's men.

He has an even more drastic prediction - the opposition will simply crush the AKP and Erdogan.

"I expect that the National Alliance will have close to 60% of the votes in the presidential elections - and a majority in parliament, from 320 to 350 seats."

That would mean total dominance in Turkey's 600-member Grand National Assembly, or Mejlis.

According to him, Erdogan already knows that he will lose - and this betrays his line from the day before that "when necessary, as on the night of July 15, we can protect our future at the expense of our lives" - referring to the so-called coup of 2016

"That's why the leaders are urging us not to go out and celebrate loudly on Sunday - so as not to provoke aggression from the supporters of Recep Tayyip Erdogan."

But he admits that it is important for Kılıçdaroğlu to win in the first round - in a runoff, "Erdoğan will know where he lost and where to press."

Emre Telluci is the chairman of the disciplinary commission of the Republican People's Party - successors to Kemal Atatürk and the main opposition party - and a lawyer. Asked whether Turkey's near-authoritarian president could avoid losing through vote manipulation, he admitted:

"We don't trust the institutions. For example, the High Election Commission, all its members, were appointed by Erdogan or by institutions under his authority. However, in 2019 we still won (in Ankara and Istanbul)," he notes.

But it is unlikely that the president will openly abuse the process.

"To maintain his power, Erdogan needs international legitimation. If he wants, he can cancel the elections - there is no legal obstacle for him to do that. But in fact he cannot do it. If we defend the security of the vote, he will not be able to do anything."

In Istanbul alone, 4,000 lawyers monitor the security of the election process, Telluci explains. And across Turkey, over 63,000 observers will monitor for irregularities in the vote.

Of course, opposition optimism is a political must - but it does not guarantee victory.

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Tags: turkey, opposition, Erdogan, elections

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