Türkiye: Erdogan's new radical competitor | EUROtoday

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Vor 5 years in the past, the star of Ekrem Imamoglu rose. The good and combative politician from the Republican People's Party (CHP) was elected mayor of Istanbul. A symbolic success within the metropolis the place Recep Tayyip Erdogan was elected to the identical workplace 1 / 4 of a century earlier – and a delicate blow for the Erdogan regime.

But opposite to expectations, it was not Imamoglu who ran towards Erdogan within the 2023 presidential election, however the then CHP chief Kemal Kilicdaroglu – and misplaced. The broad alliance of Erdogan's opponents, which had supported each, has fallen into items. Instead of a spirit of optimism, there’s disappointment. And Imamoglu is an incumbent with a blended document. He is combating for political survival within the native elections this Sunday.

His luck: Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) is sending a pale technocrat into the race, ex-environment minister Murat Kurum. And the AKP faces a shocking competitor: the New Welfare Party (YRP), led by Fatih Erbakan, son of the founding father of the Islamist Milli Görüs motion, Necmettin Erbakan.

Just because the secular-nationalist and Kurdish rivals might steal the decisive share factors from Imamoglu, the YRP might value the AKP its victory in Istanbul. The YRP additionally has an opportunity of successful within the nation's eighth largest metropolis, Sanliurfa, in addition to some smaller cities.

Erdogan's rise additionally started with small successes

That doesn't sound like a lot. But the triumph of its predecessor, the historic Welfare Party, of which Erdogan himself was a member on the time, additionally started in 1989 with modest successes. Five years later it captured town halls of Istanbul and Ankara. In 1996, Necmettin Erbakan turned head of a coalition authorities earlier than being pressured out of workplace by the navy in 1998. The Welfare Party was banned and Erdogan was briefly imprisoned.

After one other celebration ban, the traditionalists gathered round Erbakan within the “Party of Happiness”. The “reformers” round Erdogan cut up off into the AKP, in line with him a “Muslim version of European Christian Democracy”. Erdogan has solely invoked the Milli Görüs legacy since his authoritarian-Islamist flip – and since Necmettin Erbakan, who died in 2011, has not been in a position to contradict it.

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The Centrum Mosque in the St. Georg district of Hamburg
Islam motion Milli Görüs

A big a part of the YRP's personnel comes from the ranks of the “Party of Happiness”, which by no means rose above remoted native significance, supplemented by a number of AKP defectors. Only the present 45-year-old celebration chief – a health care provider {of electrical} engineering, full identify Muhammed Ali Fatih Erbakan, named after the US boxing legend – solely entered the stage with the founding of the New Welfare Party in 2018.

At first, the general public paid little consideration to it, in contrast to the brand new corporations based by former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and former Economics Minister Ali Babacan. However, each events fell far in need of their calls for. Fatih Erbakan, alternatively, was by no means a part of state energy, which is why nobody can accuse him of being partly liable for the financial disaster and mass impoverishment.

Alternative inside the fitting

But he by no means joined the anti-Erdogan bloc both. In the eyes of Islamist, nationalist and conservative voters this implies: he has not dedicated treason and presents another inside of the fitting. While the normal Islamists and average Islamic new foundations of Davutoglu and Babacan supported Kilcdaroglu in 2023, Fatih Erbakan initially registered a presidential candidacy himself.

He withdrew on the final minute, and on the identical time the YRP joined Erdogan's alliance and received 2.8 p.c and 5 mandates. Once once more, Erdogan appeared to have eradicated a possible competitor with a hug. In reality, the pinnacle of a small celebration had wrested an alliance settlement from the highly effective president.

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It notes: struggle corruption and nepotism, abolish the ban on violence in marriage, and criminalize adultery. Erbakan doesn’t consider that these objectives have been achieved, which is why he’s now distancing himself: “We did not sign this agreement for fun,” says Erbakan. But he is aware of that for a lot of dissatisfied AKP voters, criticizing the president is a sacrilege, which he largely avoids.

And whereas the themes of Babacan and Davutoglu – development, the rule of legislation, Europe – come from the AKP's “golden era” however appear outdated right this moment, Erbakan is on the top of world right-wing populism. He has turn out to be a spokesman for vaccination skepticism, doubts local weather change, rails towards “LGBT ideology” and requires a “gentle” return of the 5 million migrants in Turkey.

Strategic imaginative and prescient as a substitute of charisma

He doesn't body any of this as a frontal assault on Erdogan. His criticism of the Gaza conflict is. The father was a cussed anti-Semite; the son Erbakan accuses the president of buying and selling with Israel regardless of verbally siding with Hamas. Erbakan has neither his father's mischievous humor nor Erdogan's rousing, combative rhetoric. He replaces his mediocre charisma with strategic foresight.

However, his well mannered, barely brittle nature shouldn’t obscure his fundamentalist views. Another recipe for fulfillment: Erbakan's New Welfare Party focuses neither on opposition work within the powerless parliament nor on social media activism. She does primary work.

In the provinces, but in addition within the city working-class districts that his father as soon as disputed with the left and which nonetheless type the AKP's energy base right this moment. If Erbakan Jr. achieves a good success, he might really feel the total wrath of the regime. But Erdogan's biography exhibits: ostracized, even persecuted, can encourage a political profession. Possibly all the way in which to the highest.

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