🇹🇷 Election decided - Türkiye becoming more authoritarian
Türkiye's opposition is weakened. The chances of a change of power in Ankara in Sunday's second round of voting are extremely small.
Instead, Türkiye is predicted to become more authoritarian and nationalist as Recep Tayyip Erdogan moves towards another term. This is bleak news for both the Turkish economy and Sweden's NATO application.
The May 14th election was a shock for the opposition. Incumbent President Erdogan secured 49.5 percent of the vote while challenger Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, buoyed by historically high polling numbers, received barely 45 percent of voter support.
Bitte Hammargren, a journalist and author who has long covered Türkiye and the Middle East, notes that Erdogan's dominance over the media, institutions, and treasury paid off. Attempts to vote out an authoritarian system failed.
Ahead of Sunday's second round of voting - necessary as none of the candidates reached 50 percent - the opposition's hopes appear to have been crushed. Erdogan is only about 550,000 votes away from victory, while Kiliçdaroglu needs the support of at least an additional 2.7 million Turks. For Hammargren, who recently published the book "Never-Ending Drama: Türkiye 100 years," the election is decided. .
The chances did not increase with Monday's announcement from ultranationalist Sinan Ogan, who received just over five percent in the first round. Ogan then said that he is backing Erdogan, which is believed to make it even more difficult for Kiliçdaroglu to attract Ogan's voters.
"With Ogan on board, Erdogan can continue to ride the Turkish nationalist wave. It makes it harder for Kiliçdaroglu to win enough votes from Ogan's camp that would actually change something," says Bitte Hammargren.
For Sweden, the Turkish election has primarily been about which president would approve Sweden's NATO application the quickest. Kiliçdaroglu has promised to put an end to Türkiye's opposition to Sweden joining NATO if he wins. With Erdogan, it looks bleaker.
In a CNN interview last week, the President claimed that Türkiye is still not ready to admit Sweden into the defense alliance. The big question is what will happen at NATO's summit in Lithuania in July, says Bitte Hammargren.
Another term with Erdogan at the helm means that Türkiye is becoming increasingly authoritarian - at the same time as the global trend of authoritarian regimes being strengthened through the ballot box, according to Hammargren. Many in the opposition fear "the worst": that Erdogan will remain in power for life.
by Mia Holmberg Karlsson/TT | edited by Riedia
Sweden news morning digest
Get 5-min daily email of news roundup in Swedish, English, Chinese, or Spanish. For free.