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Identity conflict dominates the Turkish elections
Saturday, May 20, 2023 05:48 AM
Identity conflict dominates the Turkish elections
The election results confirmed that no voice is louder than the voice of identity as the first factor in determining the orientations of the Turkish voter.
The religious factor entered the line again as another identity component in addition to nationalism, to direct a Kurdish-Islamic conservative bloc to support the Justice Party, despite its declining proportion of the number of Kurds.
The strongholds of the Justice Party remained supportive of it, as were the strongholds of the opposition, in Konya and Fatih in Istanbul. The percentage of support for the ruling coalition did not change much, and the same applies to the opposition in Diyarbakir and Besiktas.
The national and sectarian factor remained a pivotal actor in guiding society politically. The Kurds in their provinces maintained their support for parties opposed to the Justice Party, such as the alternative to the Kurdish Peoples’ Party and the Republican People’s Party.
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There are many factors that affect the attitudes of the Turkish voter, from the economy to the age group and educational level to partisan political orientations and others, but the most important factor that always overshadows everything else is identity, with its components drawn from nationalism and religion, as Turkey resembles the countries of the Arab East with its ethnic and sectarian components, the Kurds and their cause Nationalism is present and strong, and the Alawites, and their sectarian distinction from the Sunnis, is always reflected in the political stance and is translated into the ballot box.
Despite the focus of a large segment of analysts and writers on the role of the economy and the difficult living situation in these elections and the prediction that it will be the straw that will end the Erdogan era, especially after a devastating earthquake that showed a clear government failure to respond and before it to supervise construction plans, the election results confirmed that no voice is louder than The vote of identity as the first factor in determining the orientations of the Turkish voter.
The strongholds of the Justice Party remained supportive of it and the strongholds of the opposition remained loyal. In Konya and Fatih in Istanbul, the percentage of support for the ruling coalition did not change much, and the same applies to the opposition in Diyarbakir and Besiktas. The national and sectarian factor remained a pivotal actor in guiding society politically. The Kurds in their provinces maintained their support for the parties opposed to the Justice Party, the Green Left Party, the alternative to the Kurdish peoples, as well as the Republican Party.
This does not prevent the religious factor here from entering the line again as a second identity component in addition to nationalism to direct a Kurdish-Islamic conservative bloc to support the Justice Party, although this group has eroded a lot and its percentage has decreased in the size of the Kurds due to the alliance of the ruling party with Turkish nationalists who adopt a hardline discourse towards the Kurds. And their identity in the Turkish state.
The same is the case with the Alevi regions, such as the city of opposition leader Kilicdaroglu, which continued to support his party at a high rate, where secular and leftist currents such as the Communist Party dominate there as the only option that expresses an old and renewed aversion to a current that some describe as neo-Ottomanism!
And the matter is not limited to the Turkish Alawites, but extends to the Arab Alawites in Antioch, who maintained an overwhelming percentage of the vote in favor of the opposition Republican Party in their regions such as Samandag, Dafna and Arsuz, while the votes of the Sunni regions went to the ruling coalition in its two parts, the Justice and Nationalist Party, and because of the convergence of the percentage of the two groups in the province of Hatay, the victory of The opposition or the Justice Party always had a difference that did not exceed 2% or 3%.
Thus, Hatay voted for Kilicdaroglu with a difference of no more than half a percent. However, the Justice Party maintained its electoral bloc there and won nearly half of the province’s votes despite the earthquake and the government’s poor performance there, and even because Hatay was the province most affected by the earthquake, but the Justice Party He was able to control the majority of the 11 seats in the province, and the proportions and attendance of the parties were similar to those of most of the previous elections, which means that the earthquake did not affect the voter’s decision.
One of my neighbors in Antakya, a Turk of Arab origins from Antakya, was a supporter of the Justice Party and Erdogan. After the earthquake, he became his fiercest critic, and even resented the ruling party because of his mismanagement of the crisis, but because of his religious leanings he voted in the end for the Justice Party. It is the identity !
* Wael Essam is a Palestinian journalist writer
Source | Arab Quds
Turkey Alevi Kurds Left Identity conflict Turkish elections Justice and Development Republican People’s Party
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