If you read news about Türkiye in foreign media, you may think that Turkish people are under the pressure of an authoritarian regime that abuses human rights, jails dissidents and will most likely rig elections on May 14. Since it is difficult for foreigners to make fact-checks, biased and incorrect news are received as facts. This deliberate campaign aims to change people’s perceptions about Türkiye and Turkish rulers.
The reality is not only quite different but also far from reality. The following facts should be laid down to help a foreign audience (not my personal claims but facts). First, Türkiye’s elections are free and fair. All parties can have observers next to each ballot box so that none can meddle with the electoral process. There might indeed be attempts to rig elections, but they generally fail. Also, parties’ negligence is typically the fundamental reason for likely controversies. For instance, the biggest opposition party, Republican People’s Party (CHP), forgot to send the list of their observers in one of the small districts in western Türkiye. Yet, their irresponsible behavior will still not be a matter of concern as observers of its coalition partners, police officers and staff of the Supreme Election Council (YSK) will ensure security during the elections.
Second, claiming the opposition’s victory will reinstate democracy is baseless and even ridiculous. As stated above, since elections are free and fair, a democratic system is already in place and functional. Even opposition parties generally admit transparency. The Turkish opposition does not like democracy as people will hardly grant them power owing to their arrogant attitudes concerning people. Since Türkiye switched to democracy in the late 1940s, the CHP, the main opposition party whose candidate runs for the presidency, has been unable to rule the country for more than five years in total as they represent a self-elite secular community who distance themselves from ordinary masses. As democracy is a system of quantity rather than quality, the Turkish opposition can hardly win elections and even if they win, cannot retain power for long. This is not a claim but a fact generated from comparative history.
West backs Kılıçdaroğlu
Third, the Western media also praises the opposition alliance’s candidate and CHP Chairperson, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, and does not hesitate to unveil their support for him. They call him a modest and potential savior of democracy. However, when we look at intraparty democracy, we can see that Mr. Kılıçdaroğlu appoints only his friends, the majority of whom are sectarian, to higher posts, including parliamentary seats. Kılıçdaroğlu also hinted at establishing a regional union consisting of Iran, Syria, Iraq and Lebanon, all of which are under the control of Shiite regimes. Besides, Kılıçdaroğlu says he will collaborate with Syria’s Bashar Assad and force Syrian migrants to return home, where they will be tortured or killed. Needless to say, such a policy will hurt Europe, as migrants will head to the continent instead of Syria.
Moreover, he collaborates with the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and the pro-PKK Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) for elections. Besides their terrorist activities, these two groups threaten state security overtly and are disliked by 90% of Turkish masses. In case Kılıçdaroğlu wins, certainly these groups will be more active in the country, provoking the military for a likely intervention. Therefore, what awaits Türkiye is not a free and democratic environment but the oppression of supporters of the incumbent government.
This is not an exaggerated argument since it is the case in almost all Middle Eastern countries where authoritarian, secular, and pro-West regimes are in power. For example, we did not witness Western opposition to the overthrowing of democratic governments in Egypt or Tunisia nor pressure on dictators. We even saw foreign election observers dancing during the day of the election in Egypt though rigging was absolute and led to Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi winning by 97%.
Indeed, Western pundits are aware of who is who in Türkiye, but they still whitewash Turkish opposition as they are not concerned about the Turkish people’s concerns but their interests. However, the course shows that they may wait for at least five more years to witness an opposition victory.