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Senior Journalist: For now, Erdoğan’s defeat a little more difficult than his victory

Turkish elections

SHAFAQNA FUTURE | by Dr Abolfazl Fateh*: The first round of Turkish elections was completed with the participation of 86.99% of eligible voters, and Mr. Erdoğan won with 49.5% of votes and Mr. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu with 44.89% of votes, respectively.

In most polls, Mr. Erdoğan received about 43-45% of the votes and Mr. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu about 47-49%, and some polls even gave the possibility of Mr. Oğlu winning in the first round. As we have seen, the results of the first round were significantly different from most polls, and in fact, it was completely the opposite. There are various reasons for these discrepancies, including the desire of the poll designers towards a big change in Türkiye and trying to show and then operationalize this change, the focus of the polls on big cities and central cities and the influence of the opposition media environment and European countries on the public opinion on these cities, the culture of responding to opinion polls in this part of the world and the unrealistic response of a significant number of participants and Erdoğan’s hidden votes, which were formed in a anti Erdoğan atmosphere, where some people called themselves supporters of the change, but actually voted for Erdoğan.

Four other potential factors in discrepancies

According to the author, four other potential factors have played a role in the discrepancies, and these factors mainly entered the election atmosphere three days before the elections, and therefore were basically not included in the polls:

A: Erdoğan’s promise to increase workers’ salaries by 45%,

B: A large number of prominent scholars of the Islamic world announced their support for Erdoğan,

C: Mr Oğlu’s explicit stance against Russia, which led to the activation of regional blocs allied to Russia against Oğlu,

D: The possible support of Tehran and Turkish Shia Muslims for Mr Erdoğan in the last days due to Mr Oğlu’s widely known western orientation.

If any of the above cases were effective in increasing Mr Erdoğan’s votes by one or two percent, the current state of his votes would be largely explainable. In addition, some critics of Mr Erdoğan believe that his campaign took advantage of the votes of many immigrants who obtained Turkish passports in recent years due to the changes in the laws, and even abused the power, including obstructing the reading of votes in some areas and also the use of identity cards of many people who were killed in the earthquake have added to these speculations, which cannot be proven or refuted here.

The second stage of the election

In any case, the first round of elections is over and now the second round has begun. The most important question in the current situation is what will be the final result of the election?

According to the vote map of the two electoral rivals, and considering that the third person has been eliminated, it seems that Mr Erdoğan has a much smoother path to win in the second stage, and it is a correspondingly more difficult path for Mr Kılıçdaroğlu. The voting situation is like a sprint race where one person is in the final 5 meters and the other is in the final 50 meters, and it is natural that in the short time of two weeks left, it is very difficult to fill this gap. With this description, the status of the victory and defeat of each candidate will be as follows:

The probability of Mr Kılıçdaroğlu’s victory

According to the distance between Mr Oğlu and Mr. Erdoğan, if at least 90% of the votes of the third person (Mr. Sinan) go to Mr Oğlu and Mr. Erdoğan does not get any additional votes, then Mr Oğlu will win by a very small margin. Also, if Mr. Oğlu can attract a sufficient number of new voters to the election arena and his opponent is unable to do so, then with the overflow of Mr. Sinan’s votes to Mr. Oğlu, there will be a possibility of victory for the Turkish opposition.

The probability of Mr Erdoğan’s victory

The votes of the first round showed that Mr Erdoğan’s movement has managed to maintain its voter base despite widespread dissatisfaction, especially due to the high inflation rate and inefficiencies during the recent earthquake and despite the intense pressure from the opposition media. This achievement can be due to the loyalty to the Islamism of the Justice and Development Party, the modernization and economic, scientific and military development of Türkiye and the change in the country’s foreign policy towards an Islamic and regional power.

Considering Mr. Erdoğan’s contribution from the first round of the elections, it seems that if the current process continues, his campaign will have an easier and shorter path ahead, and so to speak, for now, Erdoğan’s defeat will be a little more difficult than his victory. The victory of Mr. Erdoğan’s coalition in the parliamentary elections, which is an index of the acceptability of each election campaign, also confirms this.

In the second round, with the elimination of the third competitor, if we assume that each of them will only take their current vote to the second round, out of a total of 51656556 votes, Erdoğan’s share of votes is about 27088360 votes, which is about 52.4%, and Mr. Oğlu’s share with 24568196 votes, will be about 47.6 percent. Therefore, Mr. Erdoğan only needs to keep his vote, while Mr. Oğlu must absorb almost all of Mr. Sinan’s votes or receive the same amount of new voters, in order to remove Mr. Erdoğan from the majority. It is not so easy to attract all the votes of Mr. Sinan for Mr. Oğlu and to create motivation for the participation of new people.

Election earthquake?

Considering the participation of about 88% in the elections, as mentioned, it is difficult to bring new voters into the elections under normal conditions, and if there is a possibility of an increase or decrease in the participation rate, in the current situation for both parties it will be the same to a large extent, unless a unique event happens so that the incentives suddenly increase on one side or decrease on the other side, and therefore, since the existing ballot box must be used and relied on, it can be said that now the probability of Mr. Oğlu’s victory is more difficult and the probability of Mr. Erdoğan’s victory is higher, and only an electoral earthquake or a significant development in the coming days, in a way that adds at least 5% of new votes to Mr Oğlu’s basket, or a big scandal or a historical mistake that significantly reduces Mr Erdoğan’s votes, can keep Mr Erdoğan away from victory. Naturally, this article cannot assess its probability and we should wait for the developments of the next two weeks and the performance of each of the two campaigns.

The achievements of the opposition

Regardless of any result, it can be said that for the first time, the Turkish opposition has managed to get more than 44% of the votes against Mr. Erdoğan’s party and movement and form such a coalition. This coalition in itself is considered a victory for the opposition and even if it loses in this election, if it maintains the existing cohesion and overcomes its weaknesses, which is not insignificant, it can severely put pressure on Mr Erdoğan’s movement until the elections of the following years, and considering the desire for change in the atmosphere of big cities such as Istanbul and central cities such as Ankara and its gradual spread to smaller cities, maybe the opposition can win the next presidential election and Erdoğan’s movement, which from now on feels a real and continuous danger near itself, to maintain the current position will face a difficult task in the coming years and will remain victorious if it performs much better than it does currently  .

The achievements of the election and Erdoğan

Election in its essence is a “dialogue”, if it is true and real, regardless of who wins, it will have profound effects and give capacity and dimension to the society, the political structure and the public sphere . For Mr Erdoğan after twenty years with all his clinging to power and polarizing the political atmosphere of this country and the serious criticisms he receives, and for Türkiye whatever the results, if the elections are kept healthy in the second round, this election is a victory and a proud event and a model of democracy in a region that suffers from many monarchies, dictatorships and performative elections.

Of course, Türkiye, with its history of coups and the involvement of the military and deep security trends in power transitions, and due to the greed of world powers towards this country, should be aware that this election is not a guarantee of everything and there is a long way to reach the institutionalization of democracy, so that no power can disrupt this process in this country and distort the will of the Turkish nation under any pretext.

The next ten days will be decisive for each of the two rival streams. What was written was based on current data. In the next article, if there is a significant change in the election data, a more detailed drawing of the final arrangement of votes in the Turkish elections will be presented.

*Dr Abolfazl Fateh is an Iranian senior Journalist and media expert. This text has been originally published in Persian by Etemad newspaper.

Source: Shafaqna Persian

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