After a marginal Erdoğan victory, AKP is showing cracks

Let us emphasize the key point: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has many reasons not to be very happy or relieved with the 51.8 percent of the vote which brought him to the presidency. 

Up until the very last minute, most pollsters — including the one with higher credibility than the others, KONDA — told the public that he would receive at least 54-55 percent. Some of them may have done so in order to manipulate voters, but it is now a fact that the top echelons of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) feel disappointed with the outcome.

Whether or not Erdoğan was aware that he would win by a smaller margin than expected is open to speculation. His rhetoric, we know, became sharper days before the election. He said “they even called me — excuse my language — an Armenian,” he repeatedly emphasized his Sunni identity in rallies and made supporters jeer our esteemed colleague, Amberin Zaman, for “insulting Muslims.” Such actions should be seen in the context of his unease with the possibility of barely winning and his desperate hunt for more votes.

The 51.8 percent of voter support is important in the sense that it will now tie Erdoğan’s hands in how he steers the entire political machinery, how he will utilize the bureaucracy and, more importantly, whether or not he will start losing control over the very party he staunchly chaired since the departure of Abdullah Gül to the presidential post in 2007.

It is not a surprise that 51.8 percent was a figure low enough to make Gül start making political moves. It is a well-known secret that some core elements within the AKP feel disaffected with the way Erdoğan has taken to uncharted waters the party they founded and served rationally and with decency, staying away from corruption and emotional behavior. According to two former major party figures, Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat and Ertuğrul Günay, the “dismayed” constitute up to 30 percent of the AKP.


To read my full column click here.




About yavuzbaydar

Yavuz Baydar has been an award-winning Turkish journalist, whose professional activity spans nearly four decades. In December 2013, Baydar co-founded the independent media platform, P24, Punto24, to monitor the media sector of Turkey, as well as organizing surveys, and training workshops. Baydar wrote opinion columns, in Turkish, liberal daily Ozgur Dusunce and news site Haberdar, and in English, daily Today's Zaman, on domestic and foreign policy issues related to Turkey, and media matters, until all had to cease publications due to growing political oppression. Currently, he writes regular chronicles for Die Süddeutsche Zeitung, and opinion columns for the Arab Weekly, as well as analysis for Index on Censorship. Baydar blogs with the Huffington Post, sharing his his analysis and views on Turkish politics, the Middle East, Balkans, Europe, U.S-Turkish relations, human rights, free speech, press freedom, history, etc. His opinion articles appeared at the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Svenska Dagbladet, and Al Jazeera English online. Turkey’s first news ombudsman, beginning at Milliyet daily in 1999, Baydar worked in the same role as reader representative until 2014. His work included reader complaints with content, and commentary on media ethics. Working in a tough professional climate had its costs: he was twice forced to leave his job, after his self-critical columns on journalistic flaws and fabricated news stories. Baydar worked as producer and news presenter in Swedish Radio &TV Corp. (SR) Stockholm, Sweden between 1979-1991; as correspondent for Scandinavia and Baltics for Turkish daily Cumhuriyet between 1980-1992, and the BBC World Service, in early 1990's. Returning to Turkey in 1994, he worked as reporter and ediytor for various outlets in print, as well as hosting debate porogrammes in public and private TV channels. Baydar studied informatics, cybernetics and, later, had his journalism ediucatiob in the University of Stockholm. Baydar served as president of the U.S. based International Organizaton of News Ombudsmen (ONO) in 2003. He was a Knight-Wallace Fellow at University of Michigan in 2004. Baydar was given the Special Award of the European Press Prize (EPP), for 'excellence in journalism', along with the Guardian and Der Spiegel in 2014. He won the Umbria Journalism Award in March 2014 and Caravella/Mare Nostrum Prize in 2015; both in Italy. Baydar completed an extensive research on self-censorship, corruption in media, and growing threats over journalism in Turkey as a Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.
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