The severe economic crisis, the earthquake that hit 11 cities, the presidential system that does not function, millions of illegal immigrants, the lack of merit in state institutions, the injustice in income distribution, the electoral alliance that disturbs the nationalist voters (the AKP’s electoral alliance with HÜDAPAR, which is close to the Türkiye-based ethnic Kurdish and sharia terrorist organization Hezbollah), dilemmas in foreign policy, cultural degeneration, increasing crime rates, obsolete cadres, the need for change in society, and 20 years of fatigue…
Despite all these odds, the People’s Alliance candidate received 49.50% of the votes in the first round of the elections.
Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, the candidate of the Nation Alliance formed by 6 parties, received only 45% of the votes.
Sinan Oğan, who gathered partly urban, Atatürkist, nationalist and secularist votes that were resentful of both Alliances, made a big surprise with 5.17%.
The results show that there is no significant change in the parliamentary composition and that the government has maintained its strength.
How can Erdoğan still win?
After more than 20 years in power, how could Erdoğan win once again? The answer lies in the reason in why the opposition lost.
The Republican People’s Party (CHP), which Mustafa Kemal Atatürk had built on full independence, anti-imperialism, nationalism, statism, prioritizing equal sharing of the resources and cooperation with neighbors, underwent a drastic change especially after the 1980s.
In the 1990s, the party was swept up in globalization winds and influenced by the liberal-left trend coming from the West. Yet, patriots retained their influence within the party.
The real change in the party took place in the last 5 years… The party administration was completely taken over by liberal, pro-Western proponents of free market while patriotic, Kemalist, nationalist, socialist and statist figures in the executive staff were purged.
As a result of this change, the party entered the 2023 elections with a bloc consisting of AKP remnants, conservative liberals, urban left-wing liberals, Westerners and those who stand against national identity on the grounds of ethnic/sectarian origins.
In the economy, Western-centered neoliberal policies were presented as the remedy to the public.
In foreign policy, declarations of loyalty to NATO were made one after the other, and moves that strained relations with Russia.
The CHP lost urban nationalists
The most important and decisive factor was the loss of nationalist votes, perhaps the largest and most dynamic electorate whose security concerns outweigh, by not putting the distance -expected by this very electorate- with the PKK and FETÖ terrorist organizations.
As a result, especially urban-nationalist, Kemalist-nationalist and secular voters either didn’t give vote or turned to the third candidate Sinan Oğan as a reaction.
Now, everyone is preparing for the second round of the election.
The polls and the course of events suggest that the CHP leadership is likely to add another one to the election losses of the past 20 years.
Without doubt this possible defeat will bring some certain consequences.
The rising nationalist, Kemalist and statist wave in Türkiye, which is in accordance with the global trend, will seek a new path for itself in the coming period. This quest will probably lead to divisions and changes within the CHP.
The US/NATO camp is also aware of this quest and making efforts to channel this rise into what we can call a NATO-Turkist political line based on Cold War-era enmity with Russia and other neighbors.
Preventing Türkiye from falling into this trap is decisive for next 10 years.
The rise of left and right nationalism will force the government to change its policies.
The space for discourse and alliances against the nation-state and secularism in domestic politics will narrow and it will be more difficult to pursue a pragmatic balance policy in foreign policy.
Policies of principled friendship with neighbors will gain strength.
If this general rise in the country can be put on a firm ideological footing of full independence and anti-imperialist policies of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and also class struggle, Türkiye will take its place in the multipolar world as a strong country.