Ihe recent op-ed by Olivier Bouquet in The world inspired by his experience of the Erzurum election rally on May 5, 2023, draws attention to factors “explanatory” of the results of the May 14 elections in Türkiye. Quickly rejecting the negative explanations, by the multiple pressures exerted on the citizens, it offers a mainly idealistic interpretation of the relative success achieved.
try to understand “why 26 million Turks turned out to vote for Erdogan”, without hasty value judgments or bewilderment in the face of what some consider to be an outrageous form of blindness or willful servitude, is, indeed, legitimate and urgent. Recall the discursive and emotional springs of the persistent attachment of a large number of Turkish citizens to their leader, too.
However, in response to Olivier Bouquet, three points can be debated.
First, by writing that ” The results are in “, he seems to admit the incontrovertible evidence of the latter. Therefore, he evacuates the question of the concrete conditions in which these elections took place: flagrant inequality of campaign means between the parties in contention, severe blows dealt to certain segments of the opposition in order to constrain their room for action.
In fact, to date, the results remain both tentative and quite heavily contested. Tens of thousands of votes intended for the opposition were diverted to the benefit of the parties of the presidential alliance, either when the minutes were drawn up or when the data was transferred to the computer system of the Higher Council of elections. This is the reason why hundreds of appeals and disputes have been filed with this same institution by the parties considering themselves injured.
Narratives either victimized or conquering
In addition, the absence of representatives of the opposition parties from many polling stations (at least 30,000 ballot boxes, out of the 191,000, remained orphans) makes it impossible to have an idea of the conduct of the vote and the counting, which raises doubts. The presence of soldiers and police in polling places, especially in the east of the country or in areas affected by the earthquakes in early February, also raises questions.
In addition, the sharp increase in the number of voters since March 2019 – three times greater than that of the population – raises questions about the methods of drawing up the electoral lists. If the Turkish voters, by turning out en masse for these May 14 polls, gave a kind of civic lesson to the sometimes disillusioned voters of the countries of Western Europe, the way in which the Turkish authorities organized the elections and the campaign was not , meanwhile, not very democratic.
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