As Turkish people look forward to the June 24 elections with growing excitement, the country has been witnessing quite a vibrant campaign period. Squares across the country are hosting a series of ardent rallies. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who is the joint presidential candidate of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), is by far the strongest candidate but the main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) candidate Muharrem İnce has also mobilized the base of his party.Although not as effective as İnce, Good Party (İP) leader Meral Akşener, Felicity Party (SP) leader Temel Karamollaoğlu and the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) leader Selahattin Demirtaş have also mobilized their own bases. So, the upcoming elections will probably enjoy a high voter turnout.
A number of significant steps have also been taken ahead of the elections, such as the operation launched in Qandil. In the Qandil mountains, where the PKK terror group's headquarters is located, a large-scale operation targeting the PKK bases has been kicked off.
As military jets hit a large number of targets, the PKK and other terror groups have suffered great damage in the country. The successive terror attacks organized across Turkey in 2016, including the attack on Reina, an upscale nightclub in Istanbul, on New Year's Eve, had stirred a tremendous unrest and anxiety in Turkish society. But as a result of the large-scale operations launched against Daesh and the PKK, the terror groups were deterred from organizing further attacks.
Currently, the PKK bases in Qandil, which comprise the source of the terror group, have been targeted. This operation, which was determined in March, must be considered in conjunction with the operations in Jarablus, Afrin and al-Bab. The Turkish military has inflicted great damage on the PKK and its Syrian offshoot the Democratic Union Party (PYD) and continues its activities in this regard. It is evident that the PYD, who has recently withdrawn from Manbij, has suffered a serious decline in power as compared to its position last year.On the other hand, the economy stands as one of the main issues the leaders are emphasizing in their rallies. Although the Turkish lira has lately recovered against the U.S. dollar, the historic high seen in the U.S. dollar/Turkish lira exchange rate raised concerns among many people, which reflected on the concerns regarding the following period. But as the polls have started to get clearer ahead of the elections, the uncertainties have been diminishing while the exchange rate is turning back to normal. Turkey increasingly appeals to investors as it strengthens the impression that it is a predictable country.The polls conducted so far and the reports of various international finance organizations indicate that President Erdoğan will win the presidential race by a landslide. This estimation has precluded further uncertainties.For the following period, Erdoğan promises a boost in the integration to the West, the lifting of the state of emergency, the launch of the third airport in Istanbul and the continuity of Turkey's development thanks to many other projects.
It must be remembered that a new system will be introduced following the June 24 elections. According to the new system, the president will appoint the Cabinet officers by himself while a sharper distinction will be drawn between the legislative and executive bodies and the decision-making mechanisms will be accelerated.
During the terms of the AK Party governments, the Turkish economy has grown five times over and Turkey has turned into a strong regional country that is able to determine its own policies, thus increasing its appeal to major investors. The AK Party governments accomplished all this within the constraints of the old system that hampered decision-making with bureaucratic obstacles. As such obstacles have finally been eliminated thanks to the new system; the pace of development is likely to gain speed from now on. I believe that Turkey will increasingly become a more preferable partner for the West with the introduction of these new improvements.
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