Corruption is nothing new in Turkey, but the fact that the special fund for aseismic construction – which had accumulated $4.5 billion – was empty really shook Turks. Many believed that Erdogan would not rise again. The accumulated anger of the people works the same everywhere. But not in Turkey. In Turkey, anger is impermanent, it passes easily and there is ample evidence of this.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has proved for the umpteenth time that he is indestructible. The first round of the presidential election made this abundantly clear. After all, it was clear from all pre-election polls that Erdogan, with around 45 per cent of the vote, would come second, behind Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the common opposition candidate, who was expected to receive 49 per cent. Meanwhile, the opposite happened. Almost half of the voters – 49.51 per cent – supported Erdogan, meaning that he chipped away at victory already in the first round. This is an incredible success, given the circumstances under which the vote took place.
Kemal Kilicdaroglu received 44.9 per cent of the vote and it is difficult to say whether he will be able to make up the difference in the second round of elections on 28 May. The stakes are huge, and not just in terms of current politics. KK, as he is called in Turkey, heads the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the oldest of Turkey’s parties in existence today, founded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk himself, the founder of the republic. In five months’ time, on 29 October, the Republic of Turkey will celebrate its centenary. It would be very bitterly ironic if the celebrations were patronised not by a president who cultivates Kemal Pasha’s work, but by someone who has challenged and even, to no small extent, destroyed it.
President knows best
The victory of the opposition, led by the KK, was considered certain, so much so that the world media had already been full of considerations for a few months as to what direction Turkey would take in the post-Erdogan era. The question was not “if” it would happen, but “how soon” and “in what form”. It was widely believed that President Erdogan had hit a wall and, although he had always emerged victorious from all oppressions, he would not succeed this time. He will not be able to control the confluence of natural factors, the international situation and the numerous mistakes he has made – a truly explosive mix. Translated into concrete terms, this means the repercussions of the massive earthquake in eastern Turkey, the war in Ukraine and inflation, which is now ‘only’ 60 per cent, but was over 80 per cent six months ago.
Read the full story.
By Teresa Stylińska
Translated by: Tomasz Krzyżanowski