GuNAY HILAL – Low turnout on Aug. 10 may pave the way for ErdoIan’s Putin dream

Low turnout on Aug. 10 may pave the way for ErdoIan’s Putin dreamAs the candidate who stands out the most of all three presidential contenders, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoIan worries many with the possibility that he may win the election.

According to commentators, ErdoIan might adopt a much more authoritarian stance and oppress dissenters more severely if he becomes president, as he aims to dominate the government through an ineffective prime minister and using exceptional presidential powers. The nomination of Ekmeleddin IhsanoIlu, the former head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and who is currently being supported by five political parties, has offered a hope to those opposing ErdoIan’s arbitrary practices.

However, it is still a question of whether InsanoIlu will gain support from the neo-nationalists, who consider him to be a conservative Islamist figure.Milliyet daily columnist Mehmet Tezkan wrote on Friday that there were discussions before the 2007 presidential election about whether Prime Minister ErdoIan would run for president or not.

Tezkan said that ahead of the 2007 election, he predicted that ErdoIan would not run for president but would remain as prime minister and become a leader like Russia’s President Vladimir Putin after winning the parliamentary election, and come to power once again. According to Tezkan, ErdoIan’s goal was to become a powerful prime minister who is entitled to do whatever he wants, able to control each state body, to design his country and people the way he wishes.

Tezkan said that ErdoIan has intended to follow the path of Putin, who redesigned Russia in terms of its capital holders, businesspeople, bureaucrats and media Tezkan wrote that he made these predictions seven years ago and that ErdoIan did eventually become like Putin after winning two consecutive parliamentary elections with 47 percent and 50 percent of the vote, respectively. Tezkan stated that ErdoIan is the only decision maker in the country, that no minister or bureaucrat can act against his will and that he has no trouble having every bill passed by Parliament.

“ErdoIan has no intention of relinquishing this power Now, he is planning to take his influence to the presidency,” Tezkan commented.Fatih AltaylI, a columnist with the Haberturk daily, wrote in a Friday piece that he had spoken to executives of three opinion poll companies regarding the upcoming presidential election.

Murat SarI, manager of Konsensus, thinks that the turnout rate will be low, with around 16 percent of the electorate not going to the polls on Aug. 10, leading to a good chance of ErdoIan winning the election in the first round with over 50 percent of the vote.

MAK Consulting executive Mehmet Ali Kulat also considers that turnout will be low and said that ErdoIan decided to run in the election after seeing opinion polls indicating that many people do not plan to vote on Aug. 10, AltaylI wrote.

On the other hand, Gezici Research manager Murat Gezici thinks the opposite and says there will be a runoff, according to AltaylI.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman