Turkey’s Elections: “Will changes in the map of alliances upset the balance?”

A day before the start of the second round of the Turkish presidential elections, the map of political alliances witnessed major changes among its members in terms of their electoral orientations, so that some of them were forced to accept slogans and issues that were previously considered a red line or unacceptable to them.

The largest share of these changes was for the ultra-nationalist Ancestral Alliance (ATA), whose presidential candidate, Sinan Ogan, ranked third in the first round of the elections, announced his support for the candidate of the Public Alliance, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. On the other hand, the leader of the Zafar Party, Umit Ozdag, who is one of the largest components of the coalition, announced his support for the candidate of the Ummah Alliance, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, in the second round.

Despite Kilicdaroglu’s alliance with the ultra-nationalist right-wing Ozdag, he secured the support of the Kurdish and left-wing parties. The People’s Democratic Party and the Green Left announced their continued support for him in the run-off, and called on their supporters to vote massively in the elections.

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which is facing a court case for being shut down on charges of supporting terrorism, won 61 percent of the vote in Diyarbakir, the largest Kurdish-majority city in southeastern Turkey.

The Kurds represent about 20 percent of Turkey’s population, and they are a crucial element in the run-off after they voted heavily for Kılıçdaroğlu in the first round.

The ATA coalition is described as an extremist nationalist that targets irregular immigrants and foreigners, especially Syrians and Afghans.

One of the components of the Ummah Alliance, the Future Party headed by former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, witnessed the resignation of 11 senior members, due to what they described as the party’s departure from its principles and goals by participating in the extremist use of the refugee card in Kilicdaroglu’s election campaign.

The first round of the Turkish presidential elections witnessed unprecedented competition and turnout at the polls. The participation rate in the presidential and parliamentary elections reached 88.92 percent inside the country, and 52.69 percent abroad.

A statement by the head of the Turkish Election Commission stated that Erdogan won 49.51 percent of the vote, while the candidate of the Nation Alliance, Kilicdaroglu, won 44.88 percent, Sinan Ogan got 5.17 percent, and the withdrawing candidate Muharram Ince got 0.44 percent.

Turkish voters will cast their votes in the second round of the Turkish presidential elections tomorrow (Sunday), amid intense competition between the candidate of the People’s Alliance, current President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, and the candidate of the Nation Alliance, leader of the opposition Republican People’s Party, Kamal Kılıçdaroğlu.

Erdogan… the most likely candidate

The results of the first round of the elections contradicted all expectations, especially in terms of a major political shift in Turkey through the alliance of all opposition factions in one entity to exclude Erdogan and end his rule that has lasted for more than 20 years.

Although opinion polls in Turkey talked about Kilicdaroglu winning the elections from the first round, the results showed that Erdogan is still the favorite candidate of the Turkish people, despite not winning the first round of the elections.

Days before the start of the decisive round in the elections, signs of disagreements emerged between members of the ruling Justice and Development Party over Erdogan’s method of managing the economic file, especially with regard to reducing inflation rates and interest rates.

Yassin Aktay, advisor to the head of the ruling Justice and Development Party in Turkey, confirmed that there are differences between party members over the way to deal with the economic file and plans to confront high inflation.

Aktay said in a special statement to the “Arab World News Agency” earlier: “There are differences and differences of view in the corridors of the (Justice and Development) party in the way of dealing with a number of files, including the current economic policy, about the extent of its effectiveness and efficiency, but This comes within the framework of discussions and self-criticism in order to develop the party’s working mechanism.

Erdogan led by five percentage points over his rival Kilicdaroglu in the first round. Ogan’s declaration of his support for Erdogan gives the Turkish president an advantage and a sense of confidence with a comfortable victory in the second round, but the ballot box remains the decisive factor in this electoral arena.

Refugee file

As the electoral struggle intensifies, the issue of refugees in the elections occupies a large part of the candidates’ speeches. Erdogan said at an election rally in Istanbul on Thursday that work is underway to build new homes to accommodate about a million Syrians, with Qatari support.

“Yesterday, our interior minister, Suleiman Soylu, went to northern Syria, and oversaw the laying of the foundation stone for the housing project, and with this project, we have begun to establish the infrastructure for the voluntary return of Syrians to those areas,” Erdogan said, according to the Anadolu Agency.

And he added, “We will not return the Syrians to their country, expelled or forcibly. We will return them in a manner befitting human and Islamic values.”

Kilicdaroglu and the difficult exam

The failure of the opposition candidate and the Nation’s Alliance, Kilicdaroglu, to win the elections in the first round, despite all the mobilization and public and media mobilization that accompanied his electoral campaigns, showed that the Turkish opposition still lacks the strong candidate and the political discourse that gives it the majority votes.

There were disagreements between the members of the Ummah Alliance, or the representatives of the six-party table, over the feasibility of naming Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu as a candidate for the coalition and the extent of his ability to win in the face of Erdogan.

This dispute resurfaced again, but after it was too late to change it, which has become an obsession for the opposition, which may lose an opportunity that will not be repeated again to defeat Erdogan after it allied in one entity despite all its great intellectual and doctrinal differences.

In an attempt to influence the Turkish voter in the second round of elections, Kilicdaroglu focuses on the file of deporting refugees, especially Syrians, to a great extent, to the extent that this file has become a major focus of his electoral speeches.

While Kilicdaroglu promised in the first round to deport Syrian refugees voluntarily and safely within two years, in cooperation with the Syrian government and the United Nations; Today, he uses sharp language and huge numbers. He talked about the presence of more than 10 million Syrian refugees in Turkey, and warned that their numbers would reach 30 million in the future.

With this sharp tone towards the refugees, the opposition candidate hopes to attract the votes of right-wingers and Turkish nationalists, who voted for the candidate of the Ancestors’ Alliance, Sinan Ogan, who won 5.2 percent and came third in the first round of the presidential elections that took place on the fourteenth of this month.

On Wednesday, the Turkish Immigration Department announced that the total number of foreigners in the country is 4,990,663.

A statement issued by the Presidency of the Immigration Department stated that the number of Syrians in the country under temporary protection amounts to 3,381,429 people. The statement stated that the number of Syrians who returned voluntarily, safely and honorably to their country reached 554,114 people.

Great turnout in the elections abroad

The Anadolu Agency reported that voting abroad had ended, as voters recorded a record turnout in the second round compared to the first round.

More than 64 million citizens inside and outside Turkey enjoy the right to vote in the presidential and parliamentary elections.

Anadolu quoted the Turkish Supreme Elections Authority as saying that 1,895,430 Turkish voters had participated, as of Thursday, in voting in the second round of the presidential elections, in foreign representations and border crossings.

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