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Early Elections in Turkey – Comments by Hüseyin Çiçek

Source: Vorarlberger Nachrichten

For the newspaper Vorarlberger Nachrichten, Dr. Hüseyin Çiçek, political scientist and research assistant at EZIRE, analyzes the announcement of the Turkish president Erdogan to antedate the parliamentary and presidential elections in Turkey by one and a half years. The new election date is set for June 2018. For Erdogan, this change of dates was favorable, Çiçek points out: The president currently enjoyed great support by the Turkish people. This support was due to the successful Turkish military operation in Afrin and its positioning in the Syria conflict. Here, Turkey had managed to present itself as equal actor among Russia and Iran. Erdogan’s announcement to deport war refugees had further strengthened his popularity. Furthermore, he did not have to fear any serious opposition: The popularity of the CHP, the biggest opposition party in Turkey, had recently been really low, Çiçek claims. Meanwhile, members of the pro-Kurdish HDP party were still in custody due to the government-imposed emergency rule. Çiçek furthermore connects Erdogan’s foray with the fear of a possible shift of power to the political right. The chairwoman of the new right party İyi, Meral Akşener, was mobilizing against the president. By setting early elections, Erdogan could also fool this competitor from the right: Her party will only be admitted a couple of days after the set election date on June 24.