The economic conditions and rising living costs creates discomfort in public, opening a debate over snap elections and invigorates the call for a change by opposition parties, who have already started a sort-of election campaign. Meanwhile, the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) together with its Nation Alliance partner Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) strive to keep elections to its scheduled date on 2023 despite the political turmoil.
“Turkey is facing a profound crisis today. This government cannot face the public right now. The only solution is election, election and election,” İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener said in Denizli on Nov. 20.
It was her first public rally after she and her party’s “People’s Alliance” partner Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu called for a snap election due to the sudden loss of value of the Turkish Lira and consequent rise in living costs.
As Akşener has gathered thousands on the square and is planning to continue her rallies over Turkey’s provinces, Kılıçdaroğlu was mingling with local traders in a local market with his wife.
“Don’t worry. We will solve problems related to food,” he said on Nov. 21, promising to find a solution to problems that farmers and sellers in the supply chain face in the current economic turmoil.
Polls suggest a drop in the ruling alliance
As the opposition and ruling alliances disagree over whether the elections will be held as scheduled, or earlier, the general public has been reading new poll results from various different polling companies almost every week. Nearly all of those polls suggest a drop in votes of the AKP-MHP alliance and a rise in opposition votes.
For example, according to the September “poll of polls” of James Daventry, who tracks publicly-available surveys and publishes an average number in a monthly “poll of polls”, AKP’s 42 percent votes has fallen to 30.5, while CHP’s 22 percent votes have risen to 26. The rise also applies to the İYİ Party, which had 10 percent votes in the latest elections, and now 14 percent. In addition, the Kurdish-problem-oriented People’s Democracy Party (HDP) keeps their 10-11 percent vote.
Responding to that trend in the decrease in votes, MHP sticks to the alliance to be elected. At the same time, conservative opposition Felicity Party (Saadet Partisi) leader Temel Karamollaoğlu is suggesting that AKP is currently seeking further partnerships. In an interview to daily Sözcü writer Ruhat Mengi on Nov. 21, Karamollaoğlu said that Erdoğan has asked the small conservative party to join the ruling alliance.
“He (Erdoğan) said we have to be together. And I said that our party is opposed to the system, which lacks checks and balances. So we will not be involved in a system where there is no auditing,” he told Mengi.
The new, the small and the left
Even though the discussion over Turkey’s politics revolves around a small number of political parties divided into two alliances, more parties involved in the picture seem to agree with Karamollaoğlu’s objection to the current presidential system.
Last week, six parties, including former AKP founder Ahmet Davutoğlu’s Future Party (Gelecek Partisi), former AKP founder Ali Babacan’s DEVA Party, Democrat Party, CHP, İYİ Party and Felicity Party, met in the parliament and announced that they started to work together for “a roadmap to the restoration of the parliamentary system.”
Each party, however, has a different opinion on partnership. While Babacan says that it is too soon to discuss election calculations, while Davutoğlu joined CHP and İYİ for early election calls.
Left parties are not completely out of the picture in this shifting political frame.
HDP’s imprisoned former co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş has recently restated his call to left parties stating that they need to clarify their position on presidential candidacy, opposition alliance and electoral strategy which opened a debate over a possibility of “third alliance” in left. Parties representing Turkey’s fragmented left such as Labor Party (EMEP), Turkey’s Communist Party (TKP), Left Party (Sol Parti) or Turkey’s Workers Party (TİP) are reluctant to form an alliance. But they are expected to participate parliamentary elections together, however support opposition alliance’s candidate who will oppose to Erdoğan in presidential elections.