Islamist Parties in Turkey: A Perpetual Matryoshka

Source:Middle East Forum Date:20Mar2020

Notwithstanding the awkward title, this analysis by Turkey expert Mr Burak Bekdil draws excellent conclusions about Turkey’s right-left divide and the prospects for a regime change:



According to a credible opinion poll by Istanbul’s Kadir Has University, AKP remains the top party with 40.2% of the vote, with the main opposition party, CHP, at 33%. But in this poll, AKP+MHP are at 48.5% while the combined opposition CHP+IYI+HDP wins 50.3% of the vote. This poll did not intend to measure the popularity of the two new parties. Political observers usually put their combined votes at anywhere between five to 10% if Turks went to the ballot box today. The question is: where would those five to 10 percentage points come from? An easy guess: mostly from AKP.

“We know that 24 hours is a long time in Turkish politics. It would be wrong to assume the new parties will by definition join the opposition bloc. Although this is the natural expectation, as they challenge Erdoğan, they never said their existence was anti-Erdoğan,” explains Ercan Gürses, a prominent political analyst and Ankara bureau chief for Kanal D television. “As a matter of fact it would be wrong both to ignore the new parties altogether or to exaggerate their potential against Erdoğan. Under the current system even a party with one or two percentage points’ potential will have the power to bargain.”