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04/17/2023

Debate on parliamentary candidates within the opposition bloc; The Turkish Navy makes a big splash; Normalization between Egypt and Türkiye proceeds

Debate on parliamentary candidates within the opposition bloc; The Turkish Navy makes a big splash; Normalization between Egypt and Türkiye proceeds

Last week witnessed important developments in Türkiye’s electoral agenda and international relations.

The candidates nominated by the Nation Alliance sparked controversy, especially within the Republican People’s Party (CHP) grassroots.

Apart from the electoral agenda, the Turkish Navy fulfilled one of its most important projects. The launch of TCG Anadolu, the world’s first drone carrier ship, left its mark on the week.

Another topic was the acceleration of the normalization process between Türkiye and Egypt.

Debate on parliamentary candidates within the opposition bloc

The opposition will run in the elections with a bloc called the Nation Alliance consisting of the Good Party, the Felicity Party, the Democratic Party, the Deva Party and the Future Party, united around the main opposition party CHP. According to the joint manifesto signed by these parties, the main opposition CHP will nominate candidates from other parties as parliamentary candidates in some electoral districts.

After the announcement of the parliamentary candidate lists, an intense debate began within the Nation Alliance, especially among the CHP grassroots. At the core of the discussions lies the nomination of figures previously associated with the Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) as parliamentary candidates on CHP lists.

Sadullah Ergin’s nomination as the CHP’s parliamentary candidate from Ankara’s Çankaya district, known for its strong republican sentiment, ranks at the top of controversies. Sadullah Ergin is accused of cooperating with FETÖ in the Ergenekon/Balyoz trials against the Turkish Armed Forces and anti-US intellectuals and politicians, which began in 2008 and continued during his tenure as Minister of Justice.

Opponents of Ergin’s candidacy argue that the CHP has become like the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and it is not acceptable for the CHP to nominate names that conspired against patriots.

Sadullah Ergin is a member of the DEVA Party headed by Ali Babacan, the former Economy Minister of the AKP. Ali Babacan stated that there are prejudices against Ergin.

Another candidate that attracted public attention is Namık Tan, the former Turkish ambassador to the US. Namık Tan is known for his positive attitude towards the US. He also has a relationship on personal level with former President Abdullah Gül who has close ties with the West.

The nomination of Yücel Taşkın, one of the columnists of the Taraf newspaper of FETÖ, as a candidate for the 1st place in İzmir, a CHP stronghold, also drew great criticism.

In general, 17% of CHP’s lists are allocated to candidates from other parties of the alliance. That many of these candidates are liberal, political Islamist and pro-PKK is considered to cause a loss of votes for the CHP.

The second largest party of the alliance, the Good Party, nominated İdris Naim Şahin who was Minister of Interior during the Ergenekon/Balyoz plot, as a parliamentary candidate. This is met a similar backlash to that of Sadullah Ergin’s nomination.

These nominations are predicted to decrease the votes of the Nation Alliance.

As for the People’s Alliance, the AKP’s decision to take the HÜDAPAR, allegedly linked to Hezbollah (an organization completely different from the Lebanese Hezbollah – Türkiye considers the Turkish Hezbollah, a radical religious organization, officially as a terrorist organization) into the Alliance was received negatively by nationalist segments.

The Turkish Navy makes a big splash

The last week in Türkiye was marked by the launch of TCG Anadolu, the world’s first drone carrier ship, which was a long-term project of the Turkish Navy. The construction of TCG Anadolu was initiated in 2015, launched in 2019 and the sea acceptance tests started in June 2022.

Sedef Shipyard in Tuzla, Istanbul, was the main contractor for the construction of the ship while 131 subcontractors, universities and research centers worked on the project. It was announced that the indigenization rate of the project is approximately 70%, in other words 70% of the whole construction process was done by Türkiye’s own capabilities.

The data reveal that there are only 12 countries in the world with ships at the level of TCG Anadolu.

TCG Anadolu was delivered to the Naval Forces Command with a ceremony attended by Erdoğan. President Erdoğan spoke at the ceremony organized for the launch of TCG Anadolu. Erdoğan made the following remarks:

“Thanks to TCG Anadolu, we will become a country that is pioneering one of the first in the world, game-changing technologies, systems and solutions… We see this ship as a symbol that will reinforce our position as an assertive country in the world and a leader in our region in the Century of Türkiye.

Today we are also cutting the steel of three new frigates of the MİLGEM İSTİF-Class that we will set sail for the Blue Homeland.

 …

TCG Anadolu is the first UCAV carrier in the world. Our Bayraktar TB-3 UCAV, Kızılelma unmanned fighter jet and HÜRJET light attack aircraft will be able to take off and land on this ship. Also, thanks to the tanks and armored amphibious assault vehicles it carries, this ship has the features that will enable us to conduct military and humanitarian operations in every corner of the world, when necessary.

 …

Thanks to our tough stance and determination in the domestic and national defense industry, Türkiye has reached a good level in reducing foreign dependency.”

Normalization process between Egypt and Türkiye proceeds

Relations between Türkiye and Egypt deteriorated to its worst levels after the ouster of Muslim Brotherhood-backed President Mohammed Morsi in 2013 and the two countries withdrew their ambassadors.

The first steps towards normalization took place in 2021 with the diplomatic talks between the two countries. The process, after having slowed down for a while, has accelerated once again since Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry’s visit after the earthquake hit Türkiye. Shortly after this, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu visited Cairo.

Sameh Shoukry and his counterpart Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu held a joint press conference after the meeting.

Sameh Shoukry expressed his contentment with the meeting: “There are deep and long-standing relations between the Egyptian and Turkish peoples throughout history, and we are very proud of them. We are happy to launch the restoration of the course of these relations between the two countries in all aspects and to start a new phase that will have a positive impact on the two peoples to achieve greater stability.”

Çavuşoğlu emphasized that Türkiye and Egypt had opened a “new page” and want to fill it in with “joint projects and success stories”. Çavuşoğlu’s counterpart Shoukry said there is a “strong political will to further enhance Türkiye-Egypt relations.

Çavuşoğlu added that, other than the bilateral relations addressed during talks as the main issue, they also discussed regional developments in Libya and Syria: “Afterward, we will work in closer cooperation on Libya. Today’s talks have shown that our views are not very different. There are some divergences when it comes to the methods. But we believe we should be in closer cooperation by working on a road map… Bringing about permanent peace and stability in Syria are important to both Türkiye and Egypt. We agreed to work closely and exchange views in this regard.”

Shoukry also talked about the “common desire” of the two countries to work for free and fair elections in Libya: “Two countries are on the same page in terms of the formation of a new government in Libya to ensure the integrity of the country.”

As for the embassy, Çavuşuğlu said “We have discussed this issue today and we are taking concrete steps to raise the level of representation to the level of ambassador.”

United World International

Independent analytical center where political scientists and experts in international relations from various countries exchange their opinions and views.

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