Turkey: Erdogan’s snap election

Another nail is about to be hammered into the coffin of Turkish democracy

In calling a snap election for June 24th, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan can claim credit for an economic boom while neutralising political opponents and taking a final step towards his long-cherished executive presidency. Photograph: Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images

In calling a snap election for June 24th, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan can claim credit for an economic boom while neutralising political opponents and taking a final step towards his long-cherished executive presidency. Photograph: Adem Altan/AFP/Getty Images

 

In calling a snap election for June 24th, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan has seized the moment to tighten his authoritarian grip on a divided country. Going to the people this summer allows Erdogan to claim credit for a boom that saw the economy grow by more than 7 per cent last year.

Amid signs that the credit-fuelled economy is over-heating and that a slowdown is on the horizon, it would have been a risk for Erdogan to hold out until the scheduled election date in November 2019. A leader widely known to be fixated with opinion polls will also have been keenly aware that popular support for his Justice and Development Party (AKP) has risen on the back of a surge of Turkish nationalism since the army’s victory over Kurdish fighters in the Afrin enclave of northern Syria.

Since the botched coup, Erdogan’s regime has arrested tens of thousands and suspended more than 100,000 others from public sector jobs

Erdogan has the luxury of knowing that, thanks to his sustained crackdown on political opponents and independent media, his victory is virtually guaranteed. The election will take place under a state of emergency imposed after an attempted coup in July 2016, meaning the police – controlled by the government – can arrest anyone without a court order and the authorities can limit freedom of expression and assembly.

Since the botched coup, Erdogan’s regime has arrested tens of thousands and suspended more than 100,000 others from public sector jobs. Erdogan has also managed to neutralise his political opponents. The timing of the election will probably foil a key rival for the nationalist vote, Meral Aksener. She may be precluded from running because on election day her newly-formed party will have existed for less than the six months set by Turkish electoral law as the threshold for participation in an election.

With the June ballot, Erdogan will fulfil a long-held wish by putting the seal on a new executive presidency that was narrowly approved in a referendum last year.The prime minister’s office will be abolished, the powers of parliament will be reduced and his own authority will grow. With that, another nail will be hammered into the coffin of Turkish democracy.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.