Kadri Gürsel – General Election in Turkey, June 7, 2015


This current election is the most historical and crucial election in Turkey since the 1950s. Turkey is at a crossroads and has to choose between a presidential system and a parliamentary system, as exists nowadays; between a modern, secular state and a more religious inclined state.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been seeking a majority in parliament to amend the Turkish constitution towards the establishment of  a presidential political system that will allow him to be an omnipotent president. He therefore violated the current constitution, declaring that the president of the republic remains ostensibly neutral, whereas he constantly acted publicly as a propagandist for the AKP, his former party.

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The big question in this election is whether the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP),  the current incarnation of the Kurdish party, co-led  by the popular leader Selahattin Demirtaş, will surpass the 10% threshold.

Among the Confidence-building measures that the Kurdish party has been negotiating with the Turkish government in recent months and years, the most prominent one was the lowering of this historically high, undemocratic 10% threshold, that doesn’t allow for the renewal and rejuvination of the Turkish political system.

Two years ago, following the signing of the agreements with the Kurdish leadership, some Kurdish officials spoke about the option that the threshold will not be lowered and reiterated that the Kurdish party will have to consider reinventing itself in different, creative ways. This is the backdrop of the consolidation of the relatively newly formed HDP.

Initial and credible public opinion polls that has been held in turkey in the run-up to the June general election predict the following results:

  • AKP 41-43
  • HDP 11-14
  • CHP 25-27
  • MHP 15-16

Another credible survey showed an alarming figure, that 43% of the Turkish voters believe that their votes will not be counted fairly. Additionally, two thirds of the voters believe that the election is not fair. What seems clear from these figures is that Turkey is de-institutionalizing itself and loses the veneer of functioning democracy.

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The Turkish election is not and cannot be fair because Turkish media is not free and is subjected to the wills and wishes of politicians; the opposition has limited accessibility to the Turkish mainstream; public money is not accounted for and not spent transparently; and the judiciary system is not independent and is not free from political pressures. In addition, as mentioned above, The president is taking advantage of public resources to campaign for the AKP and process the unfair nature of the entire electoral system this time.

Even if the AKP will not achieve the parliamentary majority it needs, president Erdoğan will act as if nothing has changed and will seek to consolidate his unitary authority.