site.btaTurkiye on Verge of Most Important Elections in Its Recent History
Parliamentary and presidential elections will take place in Turkiye on May 14. Some 64 million Turkish citizens will vote for the future president and the country's new 600-member parliament. The elections will determine who will rule the country for the next five years and whether President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will be able to hold on to the helm of government.
The race will be between four candidates. The main opponents are Republican Alliance candidate Erdogan, who will compete for a third term (second after the transition to the presidential system of government), and the National Alliance candidate Kemal Kilicdaroglu. The most heated race will be between these two opponents. The other two are Homeland Party leader Muharrem Ince and Sinan Ogan of the ATA Alliance party.
Sunday's elections are seen as the most important in Turkiye's recent history.
"There is a huge interest. This election is attracting attention not only in terms of politics but also in terms of the impact on the underlying international relations and the economy. Turkiye is an important country. It has high strategic value. The functioning of democracy here is crucial for the world and is a model for other geographical regions. In five days' time, Turkish voters will say either 'we are carrying on' or 'we are changing'. That is what determines the importance of these elections. Turkish democracy is on the verge of a historic decision for the country's second century," analyst Harun Bilgin told BTA.
Public opinion polls show that the race between the two main opponents will be particularly contested. Some predict that the outcome will be decided in a run-off, in which some observers believe Erdogan would be in a more advantageous position. However, analysts close to the opposition predict a first round lead for the opposition candidate, Kilicdaroglu.
One of the questions that has been swirling in the public sphere in recent days is whether Erdogan will peacefully relinquish power if he loses the elections. In this context, various scenarios are being circulated - that he will flee, that he will cause chaos, etc.
According to analyst Murat Yetkin, this question is completely reasonable.
"Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu's statements that if Kilicdaroglu wins the May 14 elections, it will be considered a coup, suggest that it could be a tense development," he said. At the same time, Yetkin noted that Parliament Chair Mustafa Sentop and the ruling Justice and Development Party's Deputy Chair Ozlem Zengin have disagreed with Soylu's opinion.
"I personally believe that Erdogan will under no circumstances flee abroad (if he loses the vote) but will continue fighting", the analyst pointed out.
Nagehan Alci, a well-known journalist from the Habertürk newspaper, noted that so far the chances of the two opponents are almost even. In response to the question what would happen if Kilicdaroglu wins the elections and becomes Turkiye's 13th president, she argued that Erdogan would peacefully hand over the post.
"In this scenario, the Erdogan couple (Recep Tayyip Erdogan and his wife Emine Erdogan) will welcome the Kilicdaroglu couple (Kemal Kilicdaroglu and his wife Selvi Kilicdaroglu) to the presidential palace and after a tea talk, the two political leaders will make statements to the media. After this handover ceremony, which will take place in a positive atmosphere, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, as the chairman of the Justice and Development Party and the leader of the main opposition, will drive to his party's headquarters, again accompanied by a police escort, in the official car," according to Alci.
The analyst of the pro-government newspaper Hurriyet, Abdulkadir Selvi, said that it is already clear which round the presidential vote will end in, as according to his forecast Erdogan will win the vote in the first round on May 14.
"Going into the final straight of the May 14 elections, there is an interesting development in the votes of Erdogan and Kilicdaroglu for the presidential election. Poll results are no longer being released due to restrictions. But polls are being taken. In the latest unpublished polls, the following highlights are coming to the fore regarding the May 14 elections: first, there will be a record turnout; second, the elections will end in the first round; third, Erdogan will win the elections in the first round; and fourth, Kilicdaroglu continues his ascend," the analyst said.