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Erdogan seeks to gain votes by scare tactic: Analyst

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan delivers a speech during a meeting at the Presidential Palace in the capital, Ankara, on October 19, 2015. (AFP photo)

Press TV has interviewed Jeff Steinberg, senior editor of Executive Intelligence Review in Leesburg, to discuss Turkey’s snap parliamentary elections.

Following is a rough transcription of the interview.


Press TV: Tell me about the significance of this election we saw just a few months ago and basically the current ruling party could not form a government. What has changed, if anything? What will make this time around different?

Steinberg: Well really that remains to be seen because what happened in that interim period is that the Erdogan forces have unleashed a terror campaign against the Kurds in the hopes of creating a kind of a climate of fear and terror that will convince voters to abandon the Kurdish Party which for the first time in those June elections had gotten substantial non-Kurdish votes because they represent a certain democratic opposition to what people now increasingly see as Erdogan’s effort to go for an Islamist dictatorship that would rip up the historic, traditional constitution that provided for a secular state with a very strong role for the military as a kind of patriotic institution.

So by launching a military campaign and a political scare campaign against the Kurds, Erdogan is hoping to pull off a majority to then go for what would be a constitutional coup.

Press TV: But at the same time if we look at what has actually happened, from the situation that is happening with the Kurds and also just in general the deterioration of security, the crackdown on journalists inside of the country. There are many that say as a matter of fact things have gone from bad to worse and that actually Erdogan has basically shot himself and the government in the foot. How do you see it overall? Do you think that the scare tactics are going to work or will they serve against him?

Steinberg: Well I think that number one, that observation is absolutely correct. And I hope that the result tomorrow will be an actual honest reflection of that shift.

Now we know that because of the Turkish-Saudi alliance around the Syria situation and other issues in the region, support basically for the Salafist insurgency, that massive amounts of money have been  pouring in from Saudi Arabia into the AKP (the Justice and Development Party) for this election. I am not there on the ground. I cannot say what impact those increases in funds will have. Also there has been a very thriving black market between the ISIS (Daesh) and al-Nusra forces inside northern Syria with black market networks in Turkey that ultimately have alliances with Erdogan’s forces.

So the factor of money being here in United States and being hypersensitive to the role that money can sometimes play in upsetting the general wishes of the population during an election, I am hopeful that the backfire will in fact occur, that Erdogan’s clear efforts to crack down on any dissenting voices will cause a backlash and the AKP will lose by an even larger margin but until we see the outcome early next week it is going to be uncertain. I am concerned because there has been such a vicious campaign waged on behalf of Erdogan and so I am not comfortable making any predictions. I am hopeful but uncertain.

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