Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who has been managing Turkey like his own family business for 21 years, will remain in power for another five years after the recent elections.
Erdogan, who received 49.5 per cent of the votes in the first round, secured 52 per in the run-off elections last month. Main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu was close behind at 48 per cent.
No matter how one looks at it, Erdogan’s victory was based on a grossly unfair election.
All the means of the state, which are largely under Erdogan’s control, were used to strengthen and hold onto his position of power. Public resources were spent for Erdogan and his party, the AKP, to win. These include the use of funds and bodies such as councils, the police and even the army. All were forced to act as Erdogan’s representatives.
In addition, 90 per cent of the media, the Directorate of Communications, the government-owned Anadolu Agency (AA), and broadcaster TRT were mobilised for propaganda in favour of Erdogan. While this allowed his speeches to be aired over 30 channels simultaneously, the main opponent could only use one or two alternative channels, which regularly face threats from the government, and self-made YouTube videos from his kitchen to get his voice heard by the public.
Lying, plundering, slander, pressure, blackmail, and unimaginable games. These are the methods Erdogan and those who “served” with him used. They wanted to benefit from the subsidies of the power they held, and so they corrupted and used religion without hesitation.
When Erdogan fell behind in the polls ahead of the elections, he and his agents circulated fake and manipulated videos showing his opponents working with so-called “terrorists.”
At many ballot stations, there were reported attempts of people to vote under false identities or even more than once. Most of those caught red-handed were members and supporters of Erdogan’s AKP party or his fascist allies, the MHP.
Ballot officials, including presiding officers, were attacked, and witnesses and officials from all opposition parties were threatened and even beaten. Many of the main opposition party officials from the CHP party had to leave the ballot boxes and counts due to threats made to their lives. International observers and other independent bodies responsible for monitoring elections were restricted to the main cities.
It is no surprise that a system which enriches a handful of pro-capitalists and Erdogan’s family with the taxes of the people, and that only considers those who pledge allegiance to this government as citizens, does not refrain from stealing votes.
And despite the constitutional laws that require ministers to resign during an election, all ministers refused to step down and continued to work for Erdogan.
Erdogan also pumped out vile propaganda against LGBT+ people in an effort to split the opposition. Regrettably, the main opposition went along with, and even went further than, Erdogan’s assaults against refugees. This weakened the movement against Erdogan.
It is important to note that throughout this, Western countries that raise their voices against Erdogan only do so for their own interest.
While refusing Nato membership for Sweden and Finland, Erdogan has maintained a good relationship with Vladimir Putin and Russia. At the same, by working with the EU to stop migrants from crossing over to European countries, he has kept the EU and other Western countries quiet on all of the injustices that took place.
Following the results, UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak declared that he was eager to work with Erdogan. The UK government is happy to work with such authoritarian leaders as long as it suits them. But this is not representative of the people of the UK which has seen the highest number of Turkish citizens voting against him in the elections.
The past 21 years of Erdogan’s rule have seen thousands of young and skilled people leave Turkey to emigrate to many European countries, including the UK. The way this election has been won and threats made by Erdogan during his acceptance speech have led many people in the opposition, young people, women, and LGBT+ members in particular, to fear for their lives.
Following this, it has been reported the most Googled term in Turkey was “how do I go abroad.”
At SPOT, we want to appeal to the entire UK public. Erdogan will continue to increase his oppression and cruelty. We call on the UK public, political parties, trade unions, campaign groups, charities and all organisations to show greater solidarity with all those who will fight for democracy.