...And There Was One This Weekend in Turkey
Let us start this item by making very clear that we know virtually nothing about Turkish politics. If any reader
has knowledge that we do not, we are
grateful to hear from them.
Just know that this item is based entirely on our reading about the election, plus general knowledge of
With that out of the way, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was up for reelection to a third term this weekend.
Not everyone in Turkey agrees he's allowed to do that (the rules have changed since he took office),
but you know what they say about "might makes right." He was being challenged by Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu,
who represents a consortium of five anti-Erdoğan parties. And potentially playing the role of spoiler was
far-right independent Sinan Oğan.
As of 1:00 a.m. PT, 99.38% of the ballots had been "counted," and it was Erdoğan with 49.42% of the vote,
Kılıçdaroğlu with 44.95%, and Oğan with 5.2%. The Turkish constitution requires a majority
for victory and, as you can see, nobody got one. So,
there will be a runoff
on May 28.
What will happen in the runoff? Who knows? Even if we knew a lot more about Turkish politics, we doubt it
would help much. Here are some of the X-factors:
- Oğan's voters are far-right, and so would figure to flock to Erdoğan, giving him the small number of votes
needed to bump him over 50%. However, Oğan is outspokenly anti-Erdoğan (think Chris Christie). On the other
hand, Oğan is outspokenly anti-Kurdish, and the Turkish Kurdish party is one of the five that makes up
Kılıçdaroğlu's coalition. Oğan has already called himself a "kingmaker," which would seem to
be an announcement that his support is available to whichever rival promises the most goodies.
- There has been a fair bit of "what if this goes to a runoff?"
and it gives Kılıçdaroğlu a clear edge—around 8 points. On the other hand, there was also a
lot of polling of the first round of voting, and that gave Kılıçdaroğlu an edge of about 4 points.
In reality, he came up short by about 5 points, which means the polls were off by 8-9 points.
- You will note that we put 'counted' in quotation marks above. Kılıçdaroğlu says that a lot of
votes in areas where he is strong (Ankara, Istanbul) were excluded due to dubious challenges. "They are blocking the
system at the ballot boxes where our votes are high with repeated objections," the candidate said. Presumably there are
not enough votes in play to flip this weekend's result. What role will chicanery, or potential chicanery, play on May
Turkey is one of the most important nations in the world from a geopolitical standpoint, given its location at the
crossroads of Europe, western Asia, and the Middle East. So, lots and lots of people will be watching closely when the
Turkish people head to the polls again. And, of course, if the generally unpopular Erdoğan loses, there will be
much Turkish delight. (Z)
This item appeared on www.electoral-vote.com. Read it Monday through Friday for political and election news,
Saturday for answers to reader's questions, and Sunday for letters from readers.
All Senate candidates