The people have spoken in Turkey and reiterated their need for a president they can trust as their country fights both the PKK terrorist organization and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ). Even though people have noticed mistakes made during this fight, they support the fact that the state is doing all it can to eradicate these terrorist groups.
During the election campaigns, people asked themselves an important question: Which one of the candidates would be more effective in the battle against terrorism. It seems they did not want to take any risks. They need their president and government to keep fighting the PKK and FETÖ with determination.
The second-most important issue was the pressure Turkey faces from abroad. People voted in favor of the candidate that can resist this pressure. People believe that recent economic difficulties, including the fall of the lira and rising interest rates, are part of a foreign scheme. They believe these attacks were directed at President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and in turn, reacted by standing behind him.
In other words, Turkish society is in defense mode as they perceive the terrorist attacks, failed coup attempt, and the economic and financial problems as instruments used by foreigners to weaken Turkey. Every time people felt that Erdoğan was under attack one way or another, they have voted overwhelmingly in his favor. Either the foreign world is not capable of seeing it or they keep attacking him because they indeed want him to win.The economy is certainly an important issue. The election results show the people are confident the gigantic infrastructure projects launched by the government will improve their living standards.
Another factor that drew the people's confidence was that the governing party was united around its leader, while the People's Republican Party (CHP) put forth a two-headed image, as the party's chairman preferred not to become presidential candidate himself. People feared that the party could eventually split, harming the country's stability.It was relatively easy for the government to convince voters that what they have already accomplished is assurance for what they can accomplish in the future. This is not to say the people are happy with everything that is going on in the country, but they simply asked themselves: Will the country be a better place if we elect people we absolutely have no idea about? Most of Erdoğan's supporters do not really care about the details of the presidential system, but they do care about Erdoğan and they want him to keep running the country. In other words, more than half of the population believes that the current governing team will be more useful than others for the country's future.
The election's results also parallel the rise of the nationalist and conservative tides around the world. We already knew that the majority of Turkish people are nationalist and conservative, so Sunday's elections reflect the country's sociological realities.
From now on, how the presidential system will function in Turkey is extremely important. Besides, it is of crucial importance how the 48 percent who did not voted for Erdoğan will feel under the new system. We must not underestimate that the main opposition's candidate, Muharrem Ince, had more votes than his own party. The political struggle in the country will certainly be impacted by this new reality.
Some may claim that the election campaigns were unfair and that the results were rigged. These opinions are irrelevant. We know that half the population is determined to keep going with Erdoğan. Turkish people have made up their minds, and foreign countries have no choice but to work with him. So instead of dreaming about a Turkey without Erdoğan, they better find ways to win over a Turkey that will continue to be governed by him.