Although many believe that the rule of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is coming to an end, this is not exactly the case, as academics in the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs and European Affairs analyzed on Tuesday.
The committee meeting was attended by Dr. Konstantinos Filis, Professor of International Relations at Panteion University, and Dr. Nikos Moudouros, Lecturer at the Department of Turkish and Middle Eastern Studies, University of Cyprus, for a discussion on Turkey's domestic situation and its impact on politics.
The two academics analyzed the situation in Turkey today to the members of the Committee and a discussion followed after a suggestion by the Chairman of the Committee, Haris Georgiadis, who stated that this is the second hearing since last autumn on issues concerning Turkey. He expressed the view that the role of the Commission is to monitor developments in Turkey.
He said that his intention is to continue this discussion with the active participation of selected members of the university community. “It is an opportunity for the House of Representatives and especially the Foreign Affairs Committee to establish a close relationship with experts in the analysis of Turkish policy,” said Mr. Georgiadis. He did not rule out the possibility of a version of what has been discussed at the end of this round of hearings.
Mr. Moudouros in his own analysis raised some questions, such as what makes Erdogan's power reproduce for so many years.
He said that today, the opposition for three months, and in particular, the Republican People's Party and the Good Party of Meral Aksener, which officially have the opposition alliance, consider that Erdogan's term of power is over and express it with great ease. as well as alternative media in Turkey. At the same time, however, polls show that the AKP is still at 30%, despite a steady decline in the ruling coalition, namely the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Action Party.
He made a historical review of how the AKP managed to win the support of all the traditional historical currents that have been born in modern Turkey, in the area of the right, and how Erdogan managed to maintain his popularity through economic policies.
Referring to the upcoming elections in Turkey in 2023, Mr. Moudouros said that in terms of the immediate future, there are some issues that should be addressed. Among them is Erdogan's need to contain the “worried conservatives” who are too dependent on some concessions of power and who realize that the end may come but they may not see the alternative yet. . It is important what this team will do, he added.
Urbanization is another factor, as Turkey has changed in the last 20 years, with about 85% of its population living in large urban centers. “This has brought changes and new social phenomena, a result of the Erdogan government itself, which now seems to be in question,” Moudouros said.
He also said that the AKP has ceased to have the characteristics of a political party and is now a nationalizing party, and a huge mechanism of 11.5 million members.
For his part, Dr. Filis also stressed that the Greek media is cultivating the feeling that it is a matter of time before Erdogan loses the elections, but the truth is far from what many believe, since the damage he has suffered after 20 years is much smaller than many believe.
Erdogan, he said, has many arrows in his quiver for the election campaign, and although his system is in decline, this is not reflected in the measurements. At the moment, Erdogan needs 51% to win the election, but he starts from about 40%, while the opposition candidate starts from scratch, as no personality has yet been found who can stand against him, he said. Mr. Filis.
For Mr. Filis, the decisive factor that will largely judge the elections is the vote of the Kurds, stating that there is a misconception that traditionally only the Pro-Kurdish Liberal Party votes, which will hardly be found in the next elections. The majority of Kurds voted for the AKP because they are the conservative and religious voters who supported the party.
“If the Kurds decide not to vote for the opposition candidate, not necessarily to vote for Erdogan, it will probably give him victory in the elections,” he said.
He also referred to the youth as another important factor, as about 8 million new voters will vote for the first time in the elections in 2023, which is a problem for the AKP, as he said, since for a young voter the incumbent is Erdogan and several times young people vote anti-systemically. In the measurements, the AKP has a 12% resonance among young people and is one of the biggest issues it will have to deal with, the professor said.
He also referred to a recent poll according to which 60% of Turks identify themselves as conservatives, patriots / nationalists, so, he said, every leader should step on this basis.
Mr. Filis also analyzed Erdogan's moves to normalize foreign relations with all countries except Greece and Cyprus and Ankara's actions in the sea areas of Nicosia and Athens. He said that they show that Turkey in 2019-2020 decided with hostile actions and acts to establish its presence in the region, in the way it wants. From 2021 onwards, he added, he is trying to correct the mistakes of previous years regarding the relationship with neighboring states such as Israel and Egypt as he wants to transform it into something he can offer to the Americans.
It was also reported that there are processes between the United States and Turkey, while the leadership of the State Department has an approach to the role of Turkey that refers to the 1990s, for a strong Turkey, a bulwark against Russian influence. “Because it is difficult for Erdogan to win without US support,” he said, “Turkey has been correcting these relations lately to convince the Americans that it can offer a lot to the United States.”