Monday, June 5, 2023

Whatever the case, the extreme right is already the big winner in Turkey

Europe is worried about Rise of ultra-right formations, They are one, two maximum, with a certain force in each country. Not in Turkish: Good results till five games of this cut In the election to be held on 14 May And they could mark the future of the second round of presidential elections this Sunday, May 28, and in the next five years. This is a result of the fact that Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government – ​​and the opposition as well – have spent years exploiting the characteristic discourses of the extreme right, which has steered the debate towards an argumentative framework adapted to these constructs.

He hooda cross (“Party of God”), the successor to the radical armed group Hezbollah, has won four delegates on the list of Erdogan’s Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP). The New Welfare Party (YRP), which is also an ally of the president, came to the fore during the pandemic anti-vaccination protests, Now they have campaigned for its demand Outlawing LGTBI unions and changing laws that protect women from sexual violence and divorce, With this speech, he has won five seats and in some provinces he has surprised by getting between 8% and 10% of the vote. And right-wing and ultra-right parties affiliated with the ultranationalist Ulcuku (Idealist) movement won nearly one in four votes in the legislature and more than 90 of the 600 seats in the house.

Some young people next to the giant election fence of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the President of Turkey and the presidential candidate of the Popular Alliance, during a campaign rally in Istanbul, Turkey, Saturday, May 13, 2023. – Credits: @Emrah Gurel

In addition, Sinan Ogan, a representative of this ideology, can balance in the second round of the presidential election after receiving 5% of the votes in the first round of the presidential election. an open xenophobic forum, In fact, in his first appearance after the vote on the 14th, the one who will be Erdogan’s rival, the center-left Kemal Kilikdaroglu has abandoned the positive campaign that had so far driven him – like Turkey’s president – to adopt. A polarizing, populist and ultra-nationalist rhetoric as a way to attract the votes of Ogan and his followers.

“This is the most conservative and nationalist parliament in history”, writes analyst Murat Yatkin. Recall also that of the 169 seats won by the center-left Republican People’s Party (CHP), 34 break away from AKP will go to Islamist or Islamoliberal formation They had agreed within their lists as part of the agreement of the opposition coalition.

Türkiye has always been a conservative and right-wing leaning country: Parties of this trend have held about two-thirds of the vote for decades. But, in recent years, Far-right groups have begun to gain power and influence As his speech was generalized and Erdogan was satisfied with his party’s support not only to govern but also to see his progressive decline.

A man holds ballot papers with turkish presidential candidates at a polling station during turkey's presidential and parliamentary elections in istanbul on may 14, 2023.

A man holds ballot papers with Turkish presidential candidates at a polling station during Turkey’s presidential and parliamentary elections in Istanbul on May 14, 2023. – Credits: @YASIN AKGUL

If in the 2014 presidential elections Erdogan only received 51.8% of the vote in the candidacy supported by the AKP, in 2018 he had to form a coalition with the Nationalist Action Party (MHP, a nationalist far-right) to maintain his victory: he Received 52.6% of the vote. And in this year’s elections, when his party got its worst result in 20 years in the legislative elections, His presidential candidature has not only received the support of the AKP and the MHP, but has also brought together the YRP, Huda Par and the Great Unity Party (BBP)., they are all far-right Islamist or ultra-nationalist parties. If Erdogan reaffirms his presidential victory next Sunday – he secured 49.5% in the first round compared to the opposition coalition’s 44.8% – in parliament, for example, he will have the votes of these parties to approve the budget. Must be representative. and demand compensation.

Anxiety in the feminist movement

There is a lot of concern in the feminist movement about this., “During the AKP-MHP government, Women have faced many attacks, Istanbul Convention has been canceled [contra la violencia machista] in a country where two women are murdered by men every day”, condemned Gulzar Ipek Bilek from the Women’s Platform for Equality (ESIK). “But An even darker future awaits us with these new parties, They don’t believe in equality, they don’t want women in public, they want to send us to the kitchen, They want to turn us into Iran or Afghanistan”, he said. For example, Huda Par last year welcomed a Taliban government spokesman and its leaders refused to even shake hands with women. YRP also generated controversy during the campaign when one of her vehicles, unlike her male colleagues, featured a candidate’s photo as a simple black silhouette.

Turkish citizens living abroad began voting in the second round of turkey's presidential election on saturday.

Turkish citizens living abroad began voting in the second round of Turkey’s presidential election on Saturday. – credit: @Felix Hoerhager

“Turkey, like other European countries and the US, is locked in brutal culture wars and Erdogan has tried to consolidate his base with divisive rhetoric on these issues,” says Halil Yenigun, an exiled Turkish academic and now professor at the University of Virginia. , But his “more reactionary” base is still dissatisfied with “remnants of his old pro-women policies”, so while they may have voted for Erdogan in presidential elections, they have opted for more radical parties in legislatures. The same has happened with the increasingly nationalist discourse that Turkey’s leader has adopted in 2015. Abandon the Kurdish peace process and form an alliance with the far-right MHP: “Erdogan has combined religious and nationalist symbols to mobilize the population, demonized dissidents, turned them into terrorists in the service of the West, and incited xenophobia.” This has allowed him to hold on to power, but at the cost of more and more votes being transferred from his party to the MHP.

Many ultranationalists, especially those with a secular tendency, are not satisfied with this alliance with Erdogan, so the ülkücü movement has faced various divisions. The interesting thing is that these cracks did not reduce the support and as if they were spores, they germinated in new areas. The main split, the IYI Party (Good Party), is the second force in the opposition coalition and, although it is not exactly an extremist formation – it has centre-right appeal with the inclusion of internationally renowned figures from the economic and technocratic world. regions- This has helped to generalize ülkücü speeches.

“More than votes, these formations have gained influence. Despite not being very big parties, they have had an influence on the discourse and ideology of both the government and the opposition., explains Kemal Can, a journalist and political scientist who specializes in nationalism. For example, under the influence of the IYI, the opposition-run Istanbul City Council named a park after Nihal Atsiz, a Nazi-influenced nationalist ideologue who was once convicted of racism in the 1940s and called the “French-type was blamed for criticizing nationalism” adopted in Turkey. He was committed to a racial nationalism in which neither Jews nor Blacks nor Arabs nor Kurds could fit.

Kilikdaroglu National Tour

Exaggerating the situation in centre-left Kilikdaroglu’s latest speeches to attract votes from ultranationalists giving false information about immigration They could have been signed by Marine Le Pen: “We will not give up our motherland for this mindset which has brought us 10 million irregular refugees. Borders are our pride. We will not spare our motherland for those who watch this humanitarian tide roll in without lifting a finger and infiltrate our veins with the hope that they will become votes. [para ellos], Tomorrow they will be 30 million, not 10, and they will threaten our existence.

Turkey's republican people's party (chp) chairman and presidential candidate kemal kilikdaroglu addresses anitkabir, the mausoleum of turkey's founder mustafa kemal ataturk, during an election campaign in ankara may 13, 2023.

Turkey’s Republican People’s Party (CHP) chairman and presidential candidate Kemal Kilikdaroglu addresses Anitkabir, the mausoleum of Turkey’s founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, during an election campaign in Ankara May 13, 2023. – credit: @BULENT KILIC

The problem is that this far-right rhetoric is not disposable, but once used, Cove in Society, “We have already seen in Europe how, when centrist parties adopt anti-immigration discourse to try to stop the rise of neo-Nazi and far-right movements, not only do they not stop them, they authoritative the discourse and that prepares the ground for these movements to flourish.

sociological studies point to Nationalist ideas are spreading among Turkish youth, “Erdogan has failed to create the pious generation he longed for. Religiosity is not on the rise among the youth, on the other hand, nationalism is on the rise through the education system and a discourse that exhibits multiple ‘enemies’ both internal and external, criticizes Yenigun. scholar concludes “The center of politics in Turkey has shifted further to the right” turning previously marginal positions into part of Mainstream,

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