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May Elections

I am planning on visiting in the end of May 2023. I am kind of worried about the election and potential issues. What do you think? Should I reschedule or not worry?

Posted by
1508 posts

I’m an optimist at heart and certainly am hopeful that the Turkish people’s real choice for President truly is reflected in a conclusive result in the election of May 14.
Reports over the last several months are very troubling, however. Not only does the current President have control of about 90% of the Turkish news media, he has installed loyal supporters to the “Supreme Election Council” which can disqualify a candidate from being on the ballot for whatever reason they choose. And their decision can not be challenged. Last December, the incumbent President had the CHP’s most charismatic and popular politician, Ekrem Imamoglu, the Mayor of Istanbul, arrested for “insulting” the election authorities when he simply expressed his opinion on
the election authorities authorizing a do-over second election in Istanbul when Erdogan’s hand-picked Mayoral candidate lost the first election. The CHP nominated Kemal Kilicdaroglu in February as its candidate and five more political parties united behind him as the last chance to save democracy in Turkey.
Erdogan has tossed journalists and popular television news anchors in jail simply for doing their job. The crime many have been charged with is “insulting the President,” a term so broad that anything anyone says can get them thrown in jail.
He has threatened the leader of the IYI party, Meral Aksener, to “be careful” of what she says lest a similar fate happen to her.
And last December, a former leader of a minor political party who left politics a few years ago and became a professor at an Ankara University, was gunned down in broad daylight in a senseless assassination.
During my visits to Turkey In recent years. I’ve seen how much the Turks want change. I was in Istanbul the night the opposition CHP Party won the Mayor’s race in an election Erdogan’s AK Party lost two times. When he lost the first one, he forced a re-run in a Mulligan that he also lost. It was a strong signal that Erdogan’s hold on his own hometown was melting away. . From my hotel balcony several blocks from Taksim Square I heard thunderous cheers as the State-controlled television stations announced the Opposition CHP candidate had won. The next day, I saw a banner at Istanbul’s City Hall that said “Government Can Only
Govern With the Consent of the People.”
The man who won that election is Ekrem Imamoglu—the same man Erdogan had arrested for “Insulting Election Officials” — a very convenient charge to make three years later because under current Turkish law it disqualifies him from having his name printed on ballots as a candidate for the Presidency.
There’s every indication that Erdogan will do anything to rig the election of May 14 and, if need be, the run-off election scheduled for two weeks later.
The question is: how will the Turkish people react if they feel they have lost their Democracy to a man desperate to stay in power who will use every thing in his power to defeat the will of the voters?
And will the military do anything to intervene to prevent Turkey from becoming a dictatorship?

Posted by
6665 posts

Who knows? Predictions are hard, especially about the future. But if it was my trip, I would reschedule. Turkey is a semi-authoritarian state ruled by a wannabe dictator that is desperate to stay in power while still maintaining the illusion of democracy, even if it is just a Potemkin village.

What will happen if the Turkish people feel that Erdogan has stolen the last remaining bit of democracy and turned into a full fledged dictator? And what will Erdogan and his supporters do if he loses the election?