Turkish opposition plans to overthrow Erdogan
The pace of competition around the Turkish elections is rapidly increasing as the time approaches their due date.
May 14, the date of the elections and opposition parties are not saving any effort in hope for overthrowing President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has been in office since 2014.
Erdogan, with his party, the Ruling party in Türkiye since 2002, the Justice and development party (AKP) are preparing strongly for the upcoming elections amid expectations their lack of success this time is significant, as opinion polls show that the elections may not go in the direction of what Erdogan aspires to, especially at a time when the country is going through a severe economic crisis, and the opposition is uniting against him.
Although the opposition parties haven’t yet decided on choosing their candidate for the presidential elections in the face of President Erdogan, it’s expected to be announced in February.
However, the plan to rally around one candidate remains the only strategy through which the opposition parties seek to reach the presidential seat, which was confirmed by the opposition coalition consisting of six parties, as it pledged to unite behind one common candidate to challenge Erdogan.
The opposition coalition known as the “six-party table” includes the Republican People’s Party (CHP) led by Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA) led by Ali Babacan, the Democratic Party led by Gültekin Uysal, the Happiness Party led by Tamil Karamola Oglu, and the Future Party led by Ahmet Davutoglu, and the Good party led by Meral Aksner, and so far four names have emerged from the coalition, also known as the Alliance of the Nation, to run to compete with Erdogan, most notably the leader of the Republican People’s Party Kamal Kilicdaroglu.
The six parties and their partisan leaders met on January 26 to discuss consensus regarding the presidential candidate, as well as the alliance’s plan to resolve the parliamentary elections scheduled for May 14 next in conjunction with the presidential election.
The presidential candidate is expected to be announced during the first week of this month, according to what was stated by the leaders of the coalition, who previously announced their political program that is supposed to be followed in the event of winning the elections.
In light of this scene, the Turkish government continues to spend billions of dollars of state money to support President Erdogan and his ruling Justice and Development party, in conjunction with its use of the judiciary to launch a set of legal threats to pursue potential rivals of the president, just months before elections that may reshape politics.
Türkiye’s internal and external affairs, according to a report by the New York Times.
The New York Times report quoted economists as saying that this spending spree is unsustainable and may be harmful, at a time when Erdogan is trying to mitigate the impact of high levels of inflation on Turkish families in the period leading up to the polling process, and while the names of at least two potential opposition candidates are emerging.
Those who can easily outperform Erdogan, but one of them faces four lawsuits that could prevent him from running in the electoral race, allowing the ruling party, Justice and Development party to control Istanbul, which is the largest city in the country and contains about a fifth of the number of voters.
The question remains about the extent to which the Turkish opposition will succeed in outperforming Erdogan by rallying around one candidate in the elections, and what options remain for President Erdogan to remain in power, and to what extent the economic crisis hitting the country can affect the results of the elections, especially in the elections, reducing Erdogan’s chances of winning.
The upcoming Turkish elections, will produce changes in the scene, but with limited impact.
Any changes in general won’t benefit Erdogan, however, he might win and his party remain in power as well.
The fact that Turkish opposition trying to deny is the fact of Erdogan’s large fan base, that remain loyal to him and his party despite the economic situation and few political issues inside and outside the country.
Erdogan and his party large supports aren’t necessarily depend on the Islamists, with the fact that there are Turkish elites close to him.
Erdogan was able of gaining sympathy from secularists by establishing a secular state, in exchange for satisfying the Islamists and radicals by creating a general religious mood or culture, so he became close to everyone internally, in addition to creating communication with everyone externally and in the same way, as he goes to the Arabs to present himself as a Muslim, and then to Europe to present himself as a European.
Many political experts in Turkish politics, especially those who observed Erdogan’s evolution during his long being in power, says that, “The man always managed to play on the circus ropes, to ensure his interests and the direction of the country during his reign at various levels, and this matter is clearly evident in Türkiye’s foreign policies, which fluctuate between East and West permanently”.
Erdogan’s fortunes amid the aspirations of the opposition, and therefore, with such policies, he can continue within the system of power and adapt some changes.
The most prominent issues that harm Erdogan’s reputation and undermines the rise of his rhetoric is foreign interference in other countries such as Libya, Syria, Iraq and other international and regional arenas, therefore these interventions created public opinion strongly opposed to him and enabled public opinion to criticize his foreign policies, that negatively affected his domestic situation, in the past couple of years, especially in economy.
Nevertheless, and despite what Erdogan is facing at the present time in terms of criticism about his foreign policy and some other changes that Türkiye is going through, it may not affect Erdogan’s course regarding the last presidency in his history, for which he prepared strongly, these events will harm the outcome of the elections.
For sure, the percentage of victory will be low, but it won’t affect the level of the general result, which means that it won’t amount to the competitive odds of removing Erdogan from office, and the reason for this is his ability to create a political climate that keeps him in the scene.
Meanwhile, the Turkish opposition pledged in their political program, which it announced in the meetings of the six-party table, to make the presidential term of office 7 years non-renewable, to return the presidential residence to the Cankaya palace in Ankara and to open all restrooms and presidential palaces in front of citizens and visitors, as well as the sale of all presidential aircraft.
The program, which was called the “Text of the Joint Policy Agreement”, included the agreement on 9 main headings, and contains more than two thousand electoral laws, legislation and promises, including reducing the electoral threshold to 3% for parties to enter parliament, and providing assistance from the state treasury to parties that can From obtaining 1% of the vote or more, in addition to abolishing the system of trusteeship over municipalities.
As for the economy and taxes, the opposition parties pledged to work to reduce inflation to one digit consistently within two years while working to restore consideration to the Turkish lira, in addition to doubling per capita national income on the US dollar to 200% within 5 years, as well as working on transferring the branches of the Turkish Central Bank located in Istanbul to the capital, Ankara, with the cancellation of the Istanbul Canal project, and examining the work that has been conducted in this regard so far from the economic, legal and technical aspects.
The promises of the opposition also included a number of pledges about foreign policy and focused on the regions of the Middle East and the eastern Mediterranean, which is witnessing steady tension with Greece, to participate in the US F35 aircraft project.
As for the most sensitive issues, the Turkish opposition program, with regard to the refugees and foreigners issues, confirmed that work will be done to send the Syrian refugees back to their country, especially those who hold a temporary protection document.
The number of the Syrian refugees in the country is more than 3.5 million, and agreements will be concluded with refugee-exporting countries in this regard.
Institutions related to refugees will also be restructured, led by the Directorate of Immigration Management, while not allowing the formation of uncontrolled gatherings of refugees in Turkish neighborhoods, regions and countries.
In addition, a review of the re-admission agreement concluded between Türkiye and the European Union in 2016, related to the distribution of refugees entering the EU countries through Türkiye, as well as stopping granting Turkish citizenship to foreigners in return for buying real estate or placing deposits in foreign currencies in Turkish banks.
In total, the Turkish opposition program consisting of 2,300 points aims to undo many of the powers that Erdogan wrested from parliament and ministries, and to reform financial and foreign policies in addition to the interior, as the opposition blames Türkiye’s problems, including the economic downturn and the erosion of rights and freedoms on Erdogan’s government, which they say amounts to one-man rule.
Practically Erdogan dominated Turkish politics for two decades, as he introduced a presidential system in 2018, abolished the position of prime minister and concentrated most of the powers in the hands of the president.
Erdogan critics says, when Erdogan took office for the first time in 2003 as prime minister of the country, things were improving, and the Turkish economy was thriving and unemployment rates falling, but instead Erdgan’s attempt to found a new Türkiye has turned increasingly authoritarian.