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Issue #1652      August 20, 2014

Erdoğan’s presidency is not legitimate

The election for the President of Turkey was held on August 10. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, despite the AKP government’s record of murders, massacres and documented fraud, was elected as the 12th president of Turkey. The Communist Party of Turkey, reminding that the crimes he committed render Erdoğan’s candidacy unacceptable and he should be immediately sent to trial, had called on the people to boycott the elections.

Thirty four million of the total electorate stood against Erdoğan. According to the unofficial election results, Erdoğan got 21 million votes (51 percent) while 34 million people either voted against him or did not go to the polls. The total absentees were 15 million people. Taking into account the low level of voter turnout, which was a record low, Erdoğan became the new president by gaining the support of only 38 percent of the total electorate.

The Communist Party of Turkey, in the statement that was made after the elections, declared Erdoğan’s presidency illegitimate and called upon people to struggle against his Islamist-neoliberal dictatorship.

There were two other candidates in the elections: Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu was the joint candidate of the two opposition parties, Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). He is described as a softer Islamist compared to Erdoğan. Previously, he served as the general secretary of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation from 2004 to 2014 and he had been nominated to that position by the AKP government. His good relations with Erdoğan deteriorated after they had a split in opinion on the so-called Arab Spring.

İhsanoğlu, who was careful to not upset the US and Saudi Arabia, remained silent about the recent military intervention in Egypt. Erdoğan publicly attacked İhsanoğlu for his stance and did not nominate him again for general secretary.

Selahattin Demirtas, leader of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) was the candidate picked by the Kurdish movement but he did not have a prospect of winning the elections. Despite Demirtaş’s candidacy, the Kurdish movement was tacitly waiting for Erdoğan to be elected to continue the “peace” negotiations with the AKP government. The Kurdish movement has appreciated Erdoğan for initiating and serving as the co-architect of the “peace process” with Abdullah Öcalan, imprisoned leader of the Kurdish movement.

The three opposition parties in the parliament, despite running candidates in the elections, did not adopt an election strategy that sincerely aiming at challenging Erdoğan. This has been also effective in the low level of participation and high number of invalid votes, some of which were protest votes. This is the first time the president was elected by a popular vote in Turkey. But there is a catch; the candidates running for the presidency were nominated by the parliament, not the people.

It is expected that Erdoğan, who became the first directly elected president of Turkey, would exploit his new post to tighten his dictatorship and further the fascist practice. It has been proved once again; this time by the electorate, that he is not elected as the president of the whole country as the election results and ongoing debates show that half of the Turkish people see his rule as totally illegitimate.

International Bureau
Communist Party of Turkey

Next article – Israel-trained police “occupy” Missouri

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