As the Republican People's Party (CHP), the founding political party of Turkey, participated in the first multiparty election in Turkey, its leadership faced a fatal reality: Voters resented the arbitrary proceedings of the state elite during the CHP's single party rule. In the very first free elections, the Democrat Party (DP) rapidly rose to power and easily secured wide public support. By the coup d'état in 1960, the civil and military bureaucratic elite of the CHP re-seized political power while Turkey's halt of democracy forced the country to pay a heavy price. Since then, the people's perception of the CHP has remained more or less the same, and thus the founding party of Turkey was disappointed by each and every democratic election. Still, the leadership of the CHP continues to be insistent on its enlightened Jacobin despotism and elitist, arrogant attitude toward the people.
Before the March 30 local elections, when an ultra-modern bureaucratic coup d'état appeared on the political horizon, the CHP made, as usual, an alliance with the leadership behind it and proceeded into the elections together with the pro-Fetullah Hodja forces. (Note that the authentic Nur community does not wish to be associated with Fetullah Hodja since the attempted coup on Dec. 17, 2013.) Still, for the CHP, the results of the March 30 local elections were no different from the previous ones, as the people deemed the role of democratic opposition suitable for the CHP. For the presidential election, on the other hand, the two major opposition political parties, the CHP and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), decided to support the same candidate, Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu who comes with an Islamic background.
While opposition political parties attempt to overcome their syndrome of defeat against the relentless electoral success of the AK Party by nominating a religious political figure for the presidency, the demographic structure of the country, along with the manifest voting rates of the political parties, offers no chance for the oppositions' presidential candidate.
According to the results of a survey conducted by the GENAR research company in June 2014, the voting rates of political parties in a general election are calculated as follows: AK Party: 49.5 percent, CHP: 26 percent, MHP: 14 percent, BDP (Peace and Democracy Party): 7 percent and SP (Felicity Party): 3 percent. In this electoral framework, even the sum of the voting rates of the two major opposition political parties cannot exceed the single voting rate of the AK Party. Although the 40 percent voting rate seemed to be achievable for the two major oppositional political parties, a much more dramatic result seems likely in the upcoming election.
According to the results of a survey conducted by GENAR on the upcoming presidential election, 55.2 percent of respondents said they will vote for Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, 35.8 percent for Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu and 9 percent for Selahattin Demirtaş.
According to the data, the oppositions' political strategy in the upcoming presidential election seems to be futile and desperate. In addition to the aforementioned demographic disadvantage, it is not advantageous for the opposition that a technocrat and a largely unknown candidate is nominated against the candidacy of the prime minister, who is the most popular political leader in Turkey in decades. Indeed, even 20 percent of the CHP and 30 percent of the MHP do not support the presidential candidate of their own political parties. As an executive of a research company, it would, therefore, not be too pretentious to claim that the results of the upcoming presidential election are self-evident today.
About the author
İhsan Aktaş is Chairman of the Board of GENAR Research Company. He is an academic at the Department of Communication at Istanbul Medipol University.