I’ll kick all refugees out of Turkey, Erdoğan rival vows

Authored by politico.eu and submitted by ScoMoTrudeauApricot
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The leader of Turkey’s opposition has pledged to repatriate millions of refugees to their home countries, toughening his rhetoric ahead of a hotly contested runoff election next week.

In a speech Thursday, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu claimed that his rival, longtime President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has “deliberately allowed ten million refugees into Turkey,” saying the incumbent has put “Turkish citizenship on sale to get imported votes.”

“I am announcing here: I will send all refugees back home once I am elected as president, period,” he declared, according to Turkish media.

Turkey is home to the largest number of refugees anywhere in the world, hosting an estimated four million displaced people, many from Syria and other Arab countries.

In 2016, as the Continent grappled with a growing refugee crisis, the EU signed a deal with Ankara “aimed at stopping the flow of irregular migration via Turkey to Europe.” The country has received around €10 billion in humanitarian assistance to help host those fleeing conflict in the Middle East and Africa.

Kılıçdaroğlu will face Erdoğan in a tense second round election on May 28, after neither candidate secured more than 50 percent of the vote in a first round poll last weekend. While the 74-year-old liberal democratic economist Kılıçdaroğlu had hoped to capitalize on growing anger at the government’s handling of the economy and the earthquakes that left 50,000 people dead in February, he came second, securing less than 45 percent to Erdoğan’s 49 percent. He now faces an uphill struggle to topple Erdoğan in the second round.

Kılıçdaroğlu has previously committed to returning displaced Syrians to their home country within two years.

bonzo_montreux on May 20th, 2023 at 15:00 UTC »

Okay, let’s give some context here so people can understand the situation better. I am not a political expert or anything, but being a Turkish national, am a bit more familiar with the situation. It still will likely be a simplification, so apologies beforehand.

There are 4 main voting blocks/clusters in Turkey:

Socially conservative & religious and economically right wing, which is basically AKP and Erdogan’s base (35%) Socially liberal & secular with some nationalist tendencies (more patriotic than ethnic), economicaly middle of the road or left leaning, which votes CHP and Kemal Kilicdaroglu (guy in the pic) (25%) Conservative & nationalistic, but now a bit more in the ethnic lines. This block is currently split between MHP which supports Erdogan and IYIP which is in opposition (20%) Kurdish block, which includes anything between conservative religious Kurds all the way to socialist left leaning ones. Usually AKP picks up the conservative leaning ones, while HDP (or now Yesil Sol Parti) picks up a mix of left leaning Kurds, and nationalistic/federalist Kurds (another 10%)

Up until a few years ago, Erdogan was trying to reach his goals by downplaying nationalistic tendencies and trying to get Kurdish votes in. This backfired in the way that HDP votes increased a lot instead of his own. So he did a total 180°, and went full on with the nationalistic angle, and managed to switch MHP to become partners by doing so. This turned out to be a good move, and while he’s still been bleeding votes towards nationalistic parties, he managed to keep his power. This also resulted in the above mentioned MHP/IYIP split in the nationalistic bloc.

Now the problem is, while CHP was officially in alliance with IYIP, which is the anti-Erdogan nationalists, they also did get votes from the Kurdish block in the presidental election. And Erdogan used this tendency to then bring and consolidate anti-Kurdish nationalists (or, not necessarily against ethnic Kurds, but anti-Kurdish-federation nationalists let’s say) in his block by painting CHP as “collaborating with terrorists”, referring to PKK which are the Kurdish sepetatist insurgents who’s been active since 80’s.

If all went well and CHP/Kilicdaroglu got over 50%, Erdogan would go, and everybody could go onto their merry way. Problem is, it didn’t, and now CHP/Kilicdaroglu needs to squeeze another 5% somewhere.

If he gets too nationalistic, Kurdish block will vote against or abstain. If we goes too pro-Kurdish, he will not get the nationalistic votes.

So, this is where the refugees come in. Since they are neither Turkish nor Kurdish, and is target of a growing resentment across the board because of the perceived unruly way of entering and staying in the country, they are easy targets to get more nationalistic vote without breaking Kurdish hearts. Proof is also the Ogan guy, who got only 5% in the election but his platform was basicaly all anti-immigrant.

So just like in a lot of EU countries, anti-immigrants (or anti-refugees) are in the role of king makers.

I don’t believe Kilicdaroglu has anything against immigrants based on ethnic/right wing views, but he’s more against the deal Erdogan did with EU which landed millions of people in Turkey without having the necessary ways of creating a good environment for either side. But, he will of course not say no to farming those nationalistic votes with this kind of speech, if it works. Especially since this election is seen by many as “our last chance to get rid of Erdogan”.

Hope it helps!

(Previous post is deleted for some reason, so copying my text here.)

HelpfulYoghurt on May 20th, 2023 at 11:18 UTC »

Elections in Turkey be like:

Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu: Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is gay

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu is gay

Albinokapre on May 20th, 2023 at 10:57 UTC »

Is he courting the support of the far right guy from the first round of voting?