Q&A – Close Look at the Candidates of Upcoming Elections in Turkey

Turkey will hold two elections: parliamentary and presidential next month. The first round of presidential elections will be held on June 24. If no candidate can achieve to get more than %50 of the vote, the second round of voting will be held on July 8. The final result will be announced on July 12.

Who are the candidates?

According to the list released by Supreme Election Board six candidates will run for the presidency in Turkey:

1. Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Incumbent president Erdogan is the joint candidate of what’s called the People’s Alliance – made up of the governing Justice and Development Party, the Nationalist Movement Party and Great Unity Party (another nationalist party).

2. Muharrem İnce

Turkish Progressives’s CHP has nominated Muharrem Ince as its presidential candidate for the June 24 snap elections.

Born in May 1964, İnce studied physics and chemistry at the university. He worked as a teacher and school principal in the early years of his career.

He is regarded as a charismatic and resilient politician who may also be welcomed by conservative voters too due to his rightist family roots.

İnce promises to take ‘bold and courageous” steps to solve Kurdish issue. Lasts week he has visited HDP’s imprisoned presidential candidate Demirtaş. As a social-democrat candidate İnce may also have great support from eastern Turkey voters.

For more: Exclusive Profile of CHP Presidential Candidate Muharrem İnce

3. Meral Aksener

Aksener served as the first female interior minister of Turkey and is known for her nationalist background.

She founded the IYI Party last December after she was separated from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) after MHP Chairman Bahceli started to cooperate with Erdogan.

Right after the announcement of snap elections, 15 deputies from CHP resigned to join the IYI Party to make it eligible to form a group in parliament and the Chairman Aksener to run in the elections.

She is expected to have significant support from pro-nationalists and rightist electorates.

4. Selahattin Demirtas

45-year-old candidate studied law at Ankara University. Demirtas is elected as a deputy in 2007 from the Democratic Society Party, which later was closed due to the accusation of terrorist group PKK links.

In 2016, Demirtas was arrested on the PKK-related terror charges. Imprisoned candidate ended in third place with %9 support of the votes in the last presidential elections held in 2014.

In 2015, his party, HDP, achieved to get more than %13 of the vote, passing the electoral %10 threshold for the first time in history.

Not taking place in the National Alliance, HDP’s passing the %10 threshold in the elections will be crucial for the opposition to have the majority in the parliament.

The next trial of Demirtas will be held on June 8, 2018. It would be surprising he got released and join the elections out of prison.

5. Temel Karamollaoglu

Felicity Party declared its chairman, Temel Karamollaoglu who has surpassed 100,000 signatures to be a presidential candidate.

77-year-old has BS and Master degrees from textile technology at Manchester University. He joined the parliament in 1977 from the conservative National Salvation Party.

He was elected as a deputy in 1995 elections from the Welfare Party. While serving as the party’s deputy chairman of the party he worked with Erdogan in that period.

Karamollaoglu is expected to get support from the conservative votes and also from some disappointed voters of Erdogan’s AKP.

6. Dogu Perincek

Chairman for Patriotic Party Perincek has also surpassed 100,000 votes to become eligible for being a presidential candidate.

Graduated from the Faculty of Law in Ankara University, Perinçek was a founder of the communist Revolutionary Workers’ and Peasants’ Party of Turkey in the 1970s.

He is known for his Maoist, communist and socialist tendencies.

What about the parliamentary elections?

The Nation’s Alliance is made up of the CHP, Iyi Party, Felicity Party and Democrat Party have nominated their own presidential candidates (except Democrat Party) to run in elections but will run as an alliance for the parliamentary election, which is scheduled for the same day. Polls reveal that People’s Alliance have around 40% support and will lose the majoity of the seats in parliament.

CHP EU Representation

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