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The Tide is Turning : Elections in Turkey

Köybasi, Serkan

Turkey is used to have very fast changes in politics. The centrist party which formed the government after the military intervention in 1982, for example, which claimed to unify all political ideologies under its roof by the liberal leadership of Turgut Özal, Anavatan Partisi (Motherland Party), has vanished after his leader’s contentious death. One day it was omnipresent, the other day it was not there. Another example is Demokratik Sol Parti (Democratic Left Party) of Bülent Ecevit, the most leftist leader of the Turkish politics in the history. Sailing before the wind of the seizure of Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the Kurdish terrorist organisation PKK, the party gained 22% of the votes in the general elections of 1999 and formed a coalition government with two small parties. But an economic crisis struck the country, and Ecevit got only 1.22% in 2002. One of the biggest surprises in this same elections was Genç Parti (Young Party) which was formed by a young and charismatic businessman without a political background, Cem Uzan, only seven months before the elections. The party got more than 7% of the votes. Due to the 10% threshold, the highest in the world, the party could not get in the parliament, and afterwards, its leader had to flee to France because of some corruption investigations. Will the elections tomorrow change the course of the country in an equally abrupt and infinitely more dramatic manner? Is the seemingly limitless power of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (Justice and Development Party) about to crumble? It’s too early to say. But it is definitely possible.

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Köybasi, Serkan: The Tide is Turning. Elections in Turkey. 2018.

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