On 24 June 2018, Turkey went to both parliamentary and presidential elections. Since March 2014, Turkish voters have gone to the ballot box five times; two parliamentary elections, one local and one presidential election and one constitutional referendum. Finally, the elections of last week signaled the end of transition to the presidential system with re-elected R.T. Erdoğan as the all-powerful executive at the top. The results in both elections were a repetition of the previous elections with regard to voting patterns, and the winning and losing blocs. Furthermore, the results once more confirmed the dominance of nationalist/conservative mass base in the Turkish elections; a large base which continued to be consolidated by Erdoğan. However, there seems to be a shift towards Turkish nationalism inside the dominant bloc. The next Majlis will try to provide both insights about the political blocs and voter shifts among different alliances and also observations on apparent rigid polarisation in the country.
We will ask:
• What was the context and the background of this election? Who were the major players and what were the major issues in the campaign in the elections?
• What were the alliances in the elections and what to expect in the future for various political positions in Turkey such as secularism, Islamism/conservatism, Turkish nationalism and the Kurdish movement?
• Is Turkey now under a far right-Islamist coalition, a one-man authoritarian rule or has something left over from democracy?
• What are the implications of the elections for Turkish politics and future Turkish foreign policy?
Joining us for the discussion is Dr Mustafa Murat Yurtbilir, an Associate Lecturer in the Turkish Program of the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, ANU. He has two Master degrees: one in International Relations from Istanbul University, and one in Development Studies from Uppsala University, Sweden. He completed his PhD in the International Relations Department of METU. Dr Yurtbilir taught at the Kyrenia American University, Cyprus, and he has also been a visiting fellow at the University of New South Wales, Canberra. His research focuses on Turkish domestic politics and foreign policy, nationalism and ethnicity studies, and international relations.
The following readings are suggested background materials for this topic. They are not required for participation, but provides a few early post-election analyses in English language: