Elections in Turkey: A «bitter failure» for national secularism

Following Sunday’s election in Turkey, in which President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan won re-election and his ruling AK Party kept the majority in the Parliament, S&D Group leader, Udo Bullmann, declared that «the outcome of these elections confirms concerns for the fate of Turkey as a pro-European, progressive country. The conditions in Turkey hardly allowed for a fair contest: the continuing state of emergency, lack of media freedom and prevention of some parties (notably HDP, the pro-Kurdish Peoples Democratic Party, whose presidential candidate Selahattin Demirtaş and thousands of other members were imprisoned) to freely conduct an election campaign». «The conditions for campaigning were not equal with the incumbent president and ruling party enjoying an undue advantage, including in excessive coverage by government-affiliated public and private media outlets», added Olena Sotnyk, Head of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe delegation.

«If our delegation welcomed the high voter turnout, which bears witness to the wish of Turkey’s citizens to express their will and to their awareness of the crucial character of these elections, we noticed a more intrusive presence of the police in polling stations than in previous elections, which contributed, in some cases, to creating a climate of insecurity, and possibly pressure against the electorate and, on occasion, international observers», deplored Olena Sotnyk.

«The (preliminary) result (however) shows political opposition in Turkey is resilient, welcomed EP Rapporteur to Turkey Kati Piri. This means there is still a strong base for democratic change in Turkey (and) the EU must (now) take into account that President Erdogan is not the only counterpart». But this also shows this counterpart remains weak, analyses Samim Akgönül, historian and political scientist at the University of Strasbourg, as the CHP and national secularism «no longer pass» with a result of 22% which is «a bitter failure».

Photo: Ricardo Romano under creative commons

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