Peaceful transition ‘doubtful’ if Turkey opposition wins in 2023: Ahmet Turk
There are “serious doubts” regarding Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan allowing peaceful transition of power if he loses the elections scheduled for 2023, Kurdish politician Ahmet Turk told Independent Turkish on Saturday.

Turk, who served as deputy from various pro-Kurdish parties and was the mayor of southeastern Mardin province until he was removed by government decree, said Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) was “in no condition to win elections”.

The AKP shifted towards a much more nationalistic outlook, coming to resemble its alliance partner, the far-right Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), Turk said.

 “In this state, the AKP cannot win the votes it desires. For this reason, we are faced with a mindset that would not refrain from any kind of political cheats, tactics, maneuvers and illegal means, dragging society into chaos and conflict,” he said.

Erdogan would likely “try every avenue he can to remain in power”, Turk said. “And, the opposition has no clear stance. They hedge all their bets on elections, but as long as they don’t act together with the people on the streets and get people to participate in opposition activities, they will only be selling a pipedream.”

The opposition Nation Alliance’s plans to take Turkey back to a parliamentary system, abandoning the executive presidential system, ushered in with the 2017 referendum, could fail unless they have active participation by the people and stand tall against an AKP that does not want to leave, Turk said.

 “If the democratic order issue in Turkey is not handled together with the Kurdish issue, any implementation will be lacking, unsatisfactory,” he said. “Kurds are aware of this fact. Despite everything, the Kurdish people uphold their own cause very strongly.”

The Nation Alliance should take a good assessment of the “clear fact” that they cannot win elections without Kurds, Turk said. “This dynamic is needed not just for the ballots but for after the government change, in order to participate actively in all areas of life.”

Turk said he did not think Kurds would vote for capital Ankara’s opposition mayor Mansur Yavas, who was elected from the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) but is a former member of the MHP.

Istanbul Mayor Ekrem Imamoglu “is all well and good, but he speaks differently in Diyarbakır and Rize”, Turk said.

The Kurdish vote had been crucial in the 2019 local elections when both mayors took office, ending more than two decades of conservative mayors in Turkey’s biggest cities. Pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) did not run in western metropolises, instead opting to campaign for its base to vote for the opposition candidate.

Recent polls show Erdogan winning 40 percent of the vote if the election was held now, while CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu stands at 30 percent. Selahattin Demirtas, jailed former co-chair of the HDP who ran against Erdogan in the 2018 elections from behind bars, would win 15 percent of the vote, Metropoll’s April study shows.

An earlier study by the same pollster found that among those who would consider voting for an opposition candidate, 33.7 percent would vote for whoever ran against the president, while 28.1 percent said the decision would depend on the opposition candidate.

According to the March study, HDP voters would vote for whoever ran against Erdogan by 71 percent, while voters of smaller centre-right opposition parties would more readily consider voting for the president again.

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