Until 1980, Elections in Turkey were mostly held in normal time. However, all the 7 elections held after 1980 were organized approximately one year before the normal time specified in the Constitution. There are many reasons why the general elections held after 1980 were organized before the 5-year normal legislative period. While some of these reasons simply draw specific to Turkey. An important part of them is general causes that can be encountered almost everywhere in the world. Some of the reasons specific to Turkey are the reduced level of political culture, the lack of compromise and tolerance, military intervention in politics, and other reasons.
Economic Crisis and Pandemic
In 2021, when the pandemic and economic problems are continuing to be determinant, public researchers are measuring the behavior of voters about possible scenarios in politics. Researchers focusing on newly established political parties, early election debates, and the economy say that early elections will be possible.
Stating that the pandemic, the problems of the economy, and politics of 2020, 2021 will be a more politically troubled year due to the problems. The differences of opinion within the People’s Alliance, the upcoming and possible sanctions decisions, the possible developments in Syria are possible reasons to make 2021 a year with higher political tension.
This year, on the one hand, the foreign policy of the government and on the other hand, the economy can be a serious issue. In 2020, people’s savings and borrowing capacities were exhausted. Therefore, 2021 will be more difficult economically for the Turkish people. With the impact these two will create, the future of the People’s Alliance (electoral alliance in Turkey between AKP and MHP) will be uncertain. Early elections will be possible, especially in the second half of 2021.
Turkish – US relations
S-400 agreement signed by Turkey with Russia in 2017 became the most important issue on the agenda of Turkish-American relations. The S-400 agenda was handled between the two countries at the level of political, bureaucratic, military, and private companies. Within the scope of multilateral relations, NATO’s interests, the US’s struggle with Russia, other issues raised in Turkish-American relations, and the economic interests of US defense companies have shaped Washington’s perspective on the S-400s.
The sanctions imposed by the United States against Turkey paved the crisis in bilateral relations. In the first period after the S-400 delivery to Ankara, the US administration took the decision to remove Turkey from the F-35 program. The US Department of Defense has entered the process of removing Turkish companies from the production chain of F-35 jets and finding alternative suppliers. The next process in the 2020 National Defense Authorization Act barred the transfer of F-35 aircraft to Turkey. US has asked Turkey several times to give up the Russian S-400 in order to remove the sanctions.
According to Genar’s data, which was also supported by two other well-established companies, the voting rate of the People’s Alliance – an electoral alliance between the AK Party, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), and the Great Union Party (BBP) – is around 52%, while that of the Nation’s Alliance – consisting of the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Good Party (IP), the Felicity Party (SP) and the Democratic Party (DP) – is 33%.
Turkey’s politics is witnessing the early election and a strengthened parliamentary system debate. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, “There is no such thing as early elections before June 2023,” upon a question posed to him.
Erdogan said, “When you think about it in established democracies, early elections are not held,” and noted that “they are not in a hurry like the political parties in the opposition.”
This statement of Erdogan was followed by the written statement of the Chairman of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Devlet Bahceli. Bahçeli, who brought heavy accusations against the opposition regarding calls for early elections, defended the presidential government system.
“There is no early elections in Turkey’s agenda,” Bahçeli said, “imposition of an early election is an aim for Turkey’s chaos,” he asserted; He accused the opposition of “serving political chaos”.
MHP leader stated that “The Presidency of the People’s Alliance aims to implement the reforms, legal regulations, social and economic improvements needed to make the government system permanent and deep-rooted”.
Devlet Bahçeli also pointed out that it is not possible to change a new government system due to the current distribution of deputies in the Turkish Grand National Assembly and said, “If they are considering the transition to a strengthened parliamentary system with a reasonable result from the president and deputy general elections to be held in 2023, then they must enlighten the public consistently.” He conveyed his opinion.
Opposition Wants Early Elections
Early election discussions have flared up again in recent days. The Chairman of the Good Party, Meral Akşener, recently shared the impression that Erdogan was taking steps towards early elections and expressed her prediction those early elections will be held in June this year. Akşener said, Whether it’s 2023 or 2021, this system will eventually change, the nation will take over.”
Drawing attention to the increasing problems of tradesmen, farmers, retirees, and unemployed young people who have graduated from universities, Kılıçdaroğlu said, “There is a palace state, there is no social state. The palace state is disconnected from the people … We have to end this political irresponsibility, it is time to apply to the arbitration of the people with the people.”
References: dailysabah.com, al-monitor.com, dw.com.tr, dergipark.org.tr, gazeteduvar.org.tr
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About the author:
Ghina ALRIHANI holds a bachelor’s degree in Turkish and French Philology and finished her master’s degree in Economic Diplomacy where she studied international relations, economic and public diplomacy, foreign policy, and security studies. Her main interests are migration, migration policies, EU relations, Middle East, and Turkey.