HASAN – Strong presidency in place of premiership

Strong presidency in place of premiershipPrime Minister Recep Tayyip ErdoIan won a landslide victory in the first round and was elected the 12th president of Turkey. ErdoIan is the first president in Turkey who was elected by popular vote.

In addition, the presidential election on Aug. 10 was the first one in which the military was not involved and dictated its view on the candidates.

For the first time, the candidates did not refer to Ataturk in their election campaigns.But the tradition that a strong political leader becomes president remained.

By placing emphasis upon the presidential system and the end of the military tutelage, ErdoIan referred to the construction of a common identity in the “new Turkey” to address the repercussions of polarization.For the first time, Turkish citizens living abroad cast their votes in this presidential election.

There are 2,783,663 voters abroad. Voting centers were created in 103 missions in 53 countries.

Nearly 500,000 Turkish people cast their votes abroad. Voter turnout among Turks living abroad remained low due to the appointment requirement.

The overall turnout rate in the presidential election remained at 74.2 percent.

This was the lowest in the past 12 years. The turnout rate was 89 percent in the March 30 local elections.

There are some reasons for the lower turnout: August is the time when the Turkish people are most mobile. In addition, the elections were held right after the month of Ramadan people were impatient to have a vacation in this time period.

Five to seven opposition voters did not go to ballot boxes. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Republican People’s Party (CHP) failed to attract their supporters to the ballot boxes.

Their joint candidate Ekmeleddin IhsanoIlu was more viewed as a candidate who would create obstacles before ErdoIan rather than a candidate who would win the election. The opposition voters who felt defeated by the Gezi protests, the Dec.

17 corruption investigation and the March 30 local elections were reluctant to go to the ballot.The CHP and MHP local organizations did not work hard.

The neo-nationalist segments of the CHP boycotted the election. The left wing of the CHP felt alienated because the CHP leaned towards conservative candidates since March 30.

Selahattin DemirtaI, on the other hand, appeared as a beacon of hope for the left wingers in Turkey. The rise of DemirtaI shows the Turkish left wants a party that appeals to their demands and priorities.

DemirtaI increased the support among the Kurds and was also able to get the support of the left-wing voters. His Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) may win 100 seats at Parliament in the 2015 elections, if they open their doors to the Turkish left and Alevis.

MHP supporters picked ErdoIan in Central Anatolia and the Black Sea region. In fact, this is not something new.

There has been a shift from the MHP support base in recent years. In Central Anatolia and the Black Sea, the MHP voters were picking the AK Party, whereas the Sunni CHP supporters in the metropolitan cities and the Turk-Alevi CHP voters in Central Anatolia preferred the MHP.

The lists of donors to the candidates will be announced soon. It is argued that only 35 CHP deputies and nine CHP mayors made donations to IhsanoIlu and that a number of deputies and aisors did not interrupt their vacation.

Because of these allegations, it is now expected that the donor deputies in CHP and MHP as well as deputies who did not vote will be announced.In the end, Turkey had a presidential election where the results satisfied all.

ErdoIan was elected president. The opposition parties did not experience serious turmoil.

ErdoIan received 51.8 percent of the votes this raised the hopes of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) figures who would become more influential within the party.

The military is also pleased with the results because ErdoIan has no intention of interfering with military affairs.ErdoIan is the winner of the election however, he failed to get the power he wanted.

Turkish people expressed their interest in a strong and active president within a parliamentary system rather than a presidential one.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman