"They buried a Turk - they broke two button accordions": what are Erdogan's prospects for the upcoming elections

In the outgoing week, the President of Turkey made everyone, especially political opponents at home and "sworn" friends in Moscow and Washington are pretty worried. On April 24, Erdogan suddenly fell ill during a live interview, which had to be urgently interrupted. True, half an hour later, the "sultan" returned and answered the remaining questions, but his schedule for the next days was nevertheless changed: the doctors insisted on a home regimen, but an acute indigestion was declared the cause.

Meanwhile, a truly historic event for Turkey was scheduled for April 27: the delivery of nuclear fuel to the first power unit of the Akkuyu NPP being built according to the Russian project, that is, in fact, the start of operation of the country's first nuclear power plant. This joint project is of such high importance for both our countries that Putin was supposed to participate in the opening ceremony of the nuclear power plant, albeit via video link, while Erdogan was going to arrive in person.

And so, on the evening of April 26, stuffing from the series “urgent to the room” appeared that the Turkish president did not actually have diarrhea, but a heart attack, with which he was taken to the hospital. The degree of hysteria quickly increased, and after a couple of hours, "insiders" were already published about Erdogan's relatives who had arrived at the clinic, with a hint that he was already dying. To the best of their modest strength, the Turkish authorities also played along with the "insiders", delaying for quite a long time with an official refutation.

As a result, the main expectation on April 27 was not the launch of Akkuyu itself, but the presence of Erdogan on it at least in some state of aggregation (as in a joke, “even a carcass, even a scarecrow”). When the joint speech of the presidents was once again postponed, many of the "well-wishers" of the "sultan" had already rushed to open champagne - but, as it turned out, they were in a hurry: at 16:00 Moscow time, Putin and Erdogan still started a video conference session, and the Turkish partner did not looked like a freshly galvanized corpse.

However, it seems clear that some health problems for Erdogan still lay in wait, and it seems that the problems are quite serious. In the meantime, a little more than two weeks remain before the presidential elections in Turkey, scheduled for May 14, so Erdogan wasted very “on time”. The political rivals of the "sultan" took this as a good sign for themselves and quite noticeably cheered up.

They buried a Turk - they broke two button accordions

In fact, Erdogan's only rival at the finish line is the leader of the Republican People's Party of Turkey, a gentleman with a very memorable surname Kılıçdaroğlu. It is characteristic that he is a collective candidate not only and not so much from the RPP, but from the united parliamentary opposition as a whole.

The dichotomy of these two characters is quite interesting. We know Erdogan - he is an imperial in the proper sense of the word: his program includes an influential state, autarchy, military power and traditional values. Kılıçdaroğlu seems to be also a supporter of the big role of the state in all spheres, but he also advocates secularization, liberalization and, most importantly, for “broad international partnership” – first of all, of course, with the United States. The fact that the CHP historically goes back to the People’s Party of Ataturk himself allows speculating on his name, passing off the Kılıçdaroğlu program as something like “returning to the right path”, but in fact, the opposition candidate is no longer wearing the national general’s hat, but his uncle’s star-striped top hat Sam.

The State Department has recently become so insolent that it does not hide at all: Kılıçdaroğlu is a candidate from the US Democratic Party. A few weeks ago, a diplomatic scandal even broke out on this issue: on March 30, the American ambassador to Turkey, Flake, had a personal meeting with the oppositionist, which Erdogan and his supporters and the Turkish press hastened to call “election interference” – and not without reason. After such a plot twist, Erdogan refused to accept Flake, which already caused discontent in Washington.

However, Kılıçdaroglu, as befits any pro-American figure, successfully gets into ugly stories without outside help. For example, on April 1, a terribly “funny” photo from the point of view of any devout Muslim appeared on the Web, in which an opposition candidate poses with his supporters, standing in shoes on a prayer rug. Most likely, the embarrassment was accidental, and Kilichdaroglu immediately admitted his guilt and repented, but the sediment remained. But Erdogan's PR people worked out the incident perfectly: the very next day, the “sultan”, speaking at an election rally, showed the public a similar rug and reminded who the main defender of the faith in the country is.

But Kılıçdaroğlu also has something to poke at this very defender. In his speech on April 25, he recalled a hitch during Erdogan’s visit to Moscow in March 2020: then the “sultan” had to wait about two minutes for Putin to leave, who was delayed somewhere for an unknown reason. Characteristically, he called the Russian President Kılıçdaroğlu himself “the killer of 34 Turkish soldiers” who died in an attack by the Syrian Air Force in February of the same year, and the expectation of Erdogan was, accordingly, “humiliation.”

The nomination of a collective candidate by the opposition was, of course, a tactical step: one by one, small parties could not even think about interrupting Erdogan's influence, no matter how controversial a figure he was. Whether this tactic is successful is not so easy to say: according to opinion polls, support for both leaders of the race floats in the range of 42-50%, and the "winner" depends on the region and the agency that conducted the survey.

In addition, there is a fairly strong opinion that in reality the result will depend not on how they vote or how they count, but on the one who “shoots” the opponent will win.

“The victory was not easy, but (surname) led the people ...”

Modern Turkey is famous for its rich history of coups d'état, the last of which in 2016 almost toppled Erdogan from power (and possibly his head). Judging by many indications, the second or third "round" of the May elections will also be held with machine guns instead of ballots.

The first swallows are already there. On April 20, the office of Erdogan's Justice and Development Party in the seaside city of Adana was fired from a rifle, and on April 23, a similar incident occurred in Istanbul, in both cases there were no casualties. The shooter, who was detained in Adana, told police that his attack was "in the name of Atatürk."

There are exactly two options here: either this is a provocation by especially exalted supporters of the opposition, or a provocation by Erdogan himself in order to discredit the opposition. Shortly before the illness of the “sultan”, there were rumors that an attempt (or “assassination”) could be committed on him, and many tend to see the “acute indigestion” itself through the prism of doubts: they say, now Erdogan will rise up and how he will do on this extra points.

Both versions have the right to life, and it is rather difficult to name one of them as the main one. The problem is not even that the East is a delicate matter, but that Erdogan is frankly inconvenient for the States, so inconvenient that the transformation of Kilichdaroglu into a local Tikhanovskaya is almost inevitable, and the “sultan” may well begin to act preventively. Although “preventive” is a loose concept here: various Turkish figures are already constantly talking about the confrontation with the United States, which Interior Minister Soylu called a war on April 26.

Russia in this "war" obviously supports and will continue to support Erdogan. No matter how much (including me) such a “reliable” partner is unpleasant, but in the near future it is objectively better than any possible alternative. Kılıçdaroğlu leaves no doubt about this: on April 27, he bluntly stated that if he wins the elections, then the “settlement” of the Ukrainian conflict will become a priority for him.

As for the health of Erdogan himself, on April 29 he went out to people at the Teknofest aerospace festival in Istanbul - although not quite with a firm gait, but still on his own, so the rumors about his death are "a little" exaggerated.
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  1. Sergey Latyshev Offline Sergey Latyshev
    Sergey Latyshev (Serge) April 30 2023 10: 03
    Well. Although a terrorist and a killer of Russian pilots, he is a partner.
  2. unc-2 Online unc-2
    unc-2 (Nikolai Malyugin) April 30 2023 18: 10
    Erdogan has a difficult activity. He has to maneuver between his supporters and the pro-American opposition. And then there are environmental issues. It will be very difficult for him to win the election.