There is hardly any other country where political awareness of its people is like the Turkish nation. As a result of such awareness, the internal politics in Türkiye demonstrates a dynamic structure. Public opinion is constantly moving according to the performance of the governments and the discourse of the opposition.
Until the last four or five months, the Turkish people paid attention to what the opposition said and what the opposition bloc – known as the “table for six” – was discussing. While Türkiye’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has been in power for 20 years, it continues to be the first party with nearly 40% of the votes. However, being in power for a long time and the voters’ implicit seeking created expectations of whether the opposition parties would demonstrate competence. And this expectation sometimes brought the votes of the opposition parties closer to the level of the ruling party.
However, the ruling party started to regain its popularity after the economy stabilized again. The market prices have been stable for the last two months. The U.S. dollar-Turkish lira exchange rate only varies if the dollar’s position changes against other major currencies in the international markets. The money flow in the economy is steady.
Another change in Türkiye has been in the demand curve. In 2019, while the local elections took place, all infrastructure investments in Türkiye were already completed. The people were well aware that the infrastructure was there, as they were using it. Therefore, the motivation of the voters has turned to more individual demands rather than expensive infrastructure investments. The voters demanded improvements in personal benefits, such as salaries, health issues, student backing, scholarships and social support for the poor.
The voters’ message
The AK Party government continues to deal primarily with the country’s problems. The government demonstrated significant conduct in the country’s administration, especially in international relations. The AK Party also accurately interpreted the voters’ message of individual demands in the previous elections. When one reviews the government’s performance after the elections will notice that the regular increases in salaries, the rise in social support, and the adjustment of the minimum wage realistically according to purchasing power were the factors that gradually reasserted the public trust in the government.
The period in which all these developments are taking place corresponds to a period in which a series of global catastrophes occurred, each of which would change the international paradigm alone, such as pandemics, regional conflicts, wars, the break of the supply chain and food and energy crises. Of course, domestic politics will inevitably be affected by foreign policy. Especially the role President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in the Ukraine-Russia conflict has begun to influence domestic politics step by step. As underdeveloped countries face poverty and hunger, Erdoğan’s resolution of the grain crisis between Ukraine and Russia impacted domestic politics.
Samarkand and New York visits
President Erdoğan’s attendance at the 22nd Heads of State Council summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and his speech at the 77th United Nations General Assembly annual meeting in New York have significantly increased such influence on internal politics. Since Türkiye is active in many fields in Africa, Central Asia, and Europe, Erdoğan takes successful steps in international relations, and voters’ sympathy turns in favor of the government in the country. Recently, Türkiye and Erdoğan have been more influential in solving some problems than the United Nations and its Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
In addition to all these, the affordable housing initiative by the state-run housing construction agency TOKI has also mounted on the rising tide. We will see that from now on, as in the previous 15 years, the government will be leading the politics, and the opposition parties will discuss the effects of the results. In this sense, while the votes of the AK Party are gradually increasing, the popularity of all opposition parties will continue to decline as the interest in the Republican People’s Party (CHP) has faded following a gleam a few months ago.
In my opinion, if this wave continues for two more months, the political parties will approach the same vote level as they got in the previous election, which promises a brighter future for the ruling party.