A victory for the opposition may cause a political crisis.

Turkey’s May 14 elections – parliamentary and presidential elections – were jointly contested by six opposition parties, and the broad coalition ranged from nationalists to Western democrats to far-left Kurdish parties.

A classic rainbow coalition has been created, whose members are usually implacable opponents of each other in the political struggle. However, by the time of the May elections, they have put aside their differences to jointly replace the president and his party, who have been in power for twenty years.

The collaboration ultimately failed miserably. The People’s Alliance behind President Erdogan easily obtained the necessary majority in parliament to form the government, and in the race for presidential candidates, Recep Tayyip Erdogan won 49.52 percent, while his opponent Kemal Kilicdaroglu won 44.88 percent.

Although none of the candidates managed to achieve a decisive majority, the incumbent president has good chances for the second term, which will be held on May 28.

Recently, Sinan Ogan, who finished third in the first round, Erdogan’s right-wing opposition announced that it would support the incumbent president on the 28th.

The question that arises is how Erdogan managed to keep the social majority on his side despite the economic situation and the refugee crisis.

An uneasy alliance of the weak and power-hungry

The Western public’s expectations of a miracle proved to be in vain.

According to Tarik Mizar, exaggerated expectations were also fed in the West regarding the person of Kemal Kilicdaroglu. According to him, the leader of the Turkish opposition is a particularly power-hungry figure who is ready to do practically anything in order to come to power.

It is clear that Kilicdaroglu is well liked in the West. If he wins the second round, he will certainly make gestures in the direction of the United States, as well as treat strengthening European relations as a priority.

However, it can be ruled out that he will pursue a completely different policy towards Russia than President Erdogan.

He will immediately be ready to adopt Western phrases in his foreign policy discourse, but he will most likely not change the direction of anti-Russian policy.

This would be against the economic interests of the country. The Turks make fortunes from Russian energy exports, the depletion of oil shipments will be a sensitive loss for the country, and Turkey’s problems in Syria will multiply if the political stance towards the Russians becomes unfriendly.

The Turkish economy needs Russian relations. Whoever moves into the Turkish presidential palace should primarily seek a balanced relationship with the Russians

Tárik Meszár explains.

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The expert also adds that the possibility of changing the president did not cause a headache in Moscow either, as the Russian Foreign Minister recently stated that the victory of the opposition will not disturb the Russian government, for for them only cooperation and stability are important. Therefore, it is pointless to hope that in the event of the opposition’s victory, the mood in the Black Sea region will change for the Russians.

Tárik Meszár, researcher at MCC and the Eurasia Center

Kemal Kilicdaroglu’s victory in the second round will not be particularly significant because without a parliamentary majority, the room for maneuver will be greatly reduced. His political allies will not stay behind him for long either, after his election as president, there is a good chance that a protracted political crisis will unfold in Turkey.

Western-inspired anti-refugee

Therefore, Kemal Kilicdaroglu’s cooperation in the Western coalition against Russia cannot be counted on.

But the political bloc behind the opposition presidential candidate is a surprise to its European partners that will be remembered for a long time in case the opposition wins.

The Turkish opposition alliance won the support of many by promising, if it wins, to deport more than four million refugees who were admitted in the past few years from Turkey within a tight deadline.

The seriousness of the decision is evidenced by the fact that prior to the second round, anti-refugee rhetoric practically dominated the contacts of the Western opposition.

According to Terik Mizar, President Erdogan has pursued a particularly moderate policy regarding refugees, especially Syrians. At the same time, according to his instructions, the Afghans were removed without question, but in the case of the Syrians, the situation was dealt with with particularly humane solutions, and recently they began to build container houses in the province of Syria, which is controlled by the Turkish forces. To provide a safe way for one million refugees to return home.

Solidarity shown in the direction of Syrian refugees is also expected by Erdogan’s religious allies, and this kind of behavior is not alien to Erdogan either. The Turkish president likes to position himself as the guardian of Muslim refugees, especially against the Turks’ rivals in the region.

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However, a drastic deportation measure would not only nullify the efforts of the Turkish government thus far, but would be a disaster for Europe.

It is certain that Syrian refugees will head west instead of bombed Syria, and the appearance of millions of people at Europe’s borders will lead to a crisis on our continent worse than the refugee crisis of 2015.

From a European point of view, it is not at all unreasonable to insist that the Turkish opposition will also lose the battle for the presidential palace after the parliamentary elections – the researcher adds.

Especially knowing that the European Union has paid billions to Turkey to take over the issue of Syrian refugees.

Is European accession already a balloon?

In addition to the deportation of refugees, the issue of integration into the European Union was another important campaign topic for the Turkish opposition. According to the opposition coalition, the country must continue accession negotiations until Turkey becomes a full member of the European Union.

According to Tarik Mizar, the topic of EU accession was only meant to show the opposition’s commitment to the West to receptive urban voters. In terms of content, EU membership as a goal cannot be taken seriously for one minute.

The European Union has not been an attractive opportunity for Turkey for a long time. On the other hand, the majority of the public is also aware that the major Western countries will never agree to Turkey becoming a member of the European Union. Nobody is under any illusions in this regard.

Neither France nor Germany will be able to handle the 85 million people of Turkey, the second largest power in NATO, and its enormous economic weight.

says the expert.

He also adds that merger negotiations froze sometime around 2018, but the real reasons were never stated, and integration into the EU has been blocked for years over various objections to the rule of law.

Indeed, Türkiye’s size and power make it impossible for it to join the European Union. The big countries do not want a strong competitor within their camp.

Turkish identity is so strong for the European Union that it is difficult for the majority of Turkish society to understand Western “achievements”, the introduction of which is essential to the integration of the European Union. They would rather see Türkiye much less than Türkiye

Turki Mizar adds.

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Erdoğan has precisely retracted his admission of this, and in terms of foreign policy, he has aimed to secure hegemony within the Turkish circle of interests. However, the opposition wanted to defeat real politics with symbolic messages. However, this is not an effective strategy, even when a country is going through hard times.

stability without alternatives

After all, Türkiye Day is enough to make difficulties. The stagnant economy and inflation nearing 100 percent weigh on domestic and foreign political challenges.

However, despite all the difficulties, President Erdogan managed to position himself in the election campaign as someone who faced the problems facing the country and managed to deal with them.

This convinced many, even if they disagreed with some elements of Erdogan’s policy.

The majority believes that the power is able to act in the ruling conservatives.

Not without reason, the prospects are favorable for Turkey. The president’s confidence index is reinforced by the fact that he has a stable political camp behind him, as opposed to a fragmented, visionless opposition that cannot present an attractive show to voters. In terms of foreign policy, Erdogan appears much stronger on the side of his opponents, despite the support of the opposition from the West.

Recently, the foreign ministers of Turkey and Syria met, and there are encouraging signs in the settlement of relations, with which the current Turkish government has shown the electorate that it controls the situation both at home and in politics.

says the expert.

Stability was also convincing for Turks living abroad. The majority of Turks in Germany – 3 million people, half of whom have Turkish citizenship – supported Erdogan, and 35 percent of those living in the UK.

The explanation for the downfall of the Turkish opposition lies in the previously mentioned insufficient quality of the political presentation.

The opposition could not offer the Turks a vision that would convince voters that change was really necessary.

In practice, they were able to stand behind the opposition coalition who, for one reason or another, became opponents of Erdogan’s policies over the years. And that’s sweet enough, while the hitherto known world order has changed with a bang around people.

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