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Who will be the leader of Turkey after Erdogan?

By Emir Eksioglu

Since President Erdogan has been successful in every election he has entered for years, there is a view that “Erdogan will never lose” which is accepted by most of the people in Turkey.This is actually a reasonable view because, despite several adverse events, Erdogan and the AK Party have been superior to the polls for years.

I think that President Erdogan will win the next election, even if he is not as strong as he used to be, as long as his health allows him and he wants to be in the political arena.

But of course, it is a fact that Erdogan is not as powerful as he was a few years ago, and the criticism towards the Erdogan government and the country’s course, including those who voted for him, is too much to be underestimated.We can also understand this from the alliance he had formed with the president of the Nationalist Movement Party, Devlet Bahçeli, which had criticized him repeatedly in the past. The AK Party, chaired by Erdogan, is no longer a party that will win the elections alone.

But it should also be noted that AK Party is a lucky party.Because, CHP (Republican People’s Party), which has been acting as the main opposition party for years, is not a party that can take over the majority of the people because of its constant chaos, wrong choices and attitudes.You may not be able to see another major opposition party, which draws an amateur image like CHP, in any country of Europe.

As a matter of fact, many secret meetings have been organized with many people who want to be in charge of the country’s government after Erdogan.I want to write the names of the different profiles that could play the first chair in the leadership of Turkey after Erdogan.

The only one who can win elections against Erdogan

Meral Akşener, who was elected to the parliament for the first time in 1995, while President Erdogan was the mayor of Istanbul, and served as the first female Minister of Internal Affairs in Turkish history after a year, is a respected name for her political experience by many people today.

In 2001, Akşener, who took part in the founding stages of the AK Party with two names, Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Abdullah Gül, who later served as the Prime Minister and the President, left the party as a result of disagreements in the establishment of the AK Party, then turned into a very popular political icon in the Nationalist Movement Party, which is one of the most well-established parties of Turkey.

After the failed election results of the Nationalist Movement Party, where she served as a member of parliament and parliamentary deputy speaker for many years, Akşener, who rolled up her sleeves to become the party’s leader, has formed The Good Party against the obstructions of Devlet Bahçeli, who is thought to run the party with a dictatorial approach by many, andher party achieved a successful result in its first year, surpassing the 10% threshold.

I think Meral Akşener is the only name to win the election against President Erdogan, who has been superior to his rivals in every election for years. Meral Akşener is a politician who is at the forefront with her nationalism but keeps it in a very good balance and she’s not a person like French Marine Le Pen, who has rhetoric towards racism and fascism.

In Turkey, the majority of the population position themselves as the center-right wing and both the AK Party and most of the political parties that have been successful in the past are center-right parties. Meral Akşener is a figure who is positioned in the center-right wing, but she is also a strong social democrat leader with strong rhetoric and sympathetic attitude.

I can already say that Meral Akşener will continue her successful political graphics and that one day she will be at the highest level of Turkish politics, although she is subjected to a great deal of pressure from her party and her rise.

He loves Erdogan and the people love him

Suleyman Soylu, who was the president of the Democratic Party, which had an important place in Turkish political history in the past as it elected three presidents and seven prime ministers, became one of the most trusted names of President Erdogan after a few years, even though he did politics in opposition to Erdogan and the AK Party at the time.

Suleyman Soylu, who currently serves as the Minister of Internal Affairs, is one of the most respected names of the nationalist-conservative wing, just like Meral Akşener.Especially in recent years, his successful and determined struggle against the PKK, the terrorist organization that committed numerous murders in Turkey and his being in the forefront of positive developments regarding internal security has gained Suleyman Soylu a very positive sympathy by the Turkish people.

However, the possibility of Minister Soylu taking over the leadership of Turkey does not seem to be much at the moment, because Minister Soylu, who has expressed his loyalty to Erdogan at every opportunity, cannot make such a move when Erdogan is still the President.He even made it clear that he was planning to leave politics after Erdogan on a TV show he attended on CNN.But of course, there is a saying in our country that “A period of 24 hours is a very long time for politics” and we can see that Soylu to make a move for leading Turkey after Erdogan.

Besides, I have to say that apart from Suleyman Soylu, politicians who are currently working at the AK Party will crave for their seats in the AK Party in a possible disintegration process because, people, who have the qualities of leadership to meet the demands of the people like Erdogan, do not take part in the AKP positions.

Perhaps the only hope of the left in Turkey

As I mentioned before, if we look at the dynamics of Turkey, it is a very low possibility that a power with the left understanding rule the country, but Muharrem Ince, who is backed by the social democratic masses against Erdogan in the presidential election on June 24, 2018, and who has the characteristics of a leader that has been longed for years, is the strongest name on the left that can change this dynamic.

It would not be wrong to say that Ince, who served as a member of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) since 2002 when AK Party came to power, is Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s biggest rival, who has been sitting in the chair of the general presidency for years despite the party’s failed results.Although Muharrem Ince, who has been competing against Kılıçdaroğlu at every CHP congress in recent times, has not yet achieved this goal, but he is the is the most important name forcing Kılıçdaroğlu to resign and it will be a development that we can see very soon.

Muharrem Ince, who has already declared that he will be a candidate for the presidency in the elections after five years, has carried out a successful work in the elections a few months ago.Despite the intense love of those who voted for him, he got 30% and fell below Erdogan’s 52% electoral success.

To become the leader of Turkey, Ince has to step up on this rate and gain the sympathy of the right wing in Turkey.This is difficult, but with its political attitude and populist style, Ince can achieve it.

Turkish people may need the experience and knowledge of their former prime minister

Ahmet Davutoglu, who was one of the most important figures of the AK Party until a few years ago and who was both the president of AK Party, and the Prime Minister of Turkey between 2014 and 2016, is a name with a reputation in AK Party although he had to resign as a result of a ridiculous statement published by several media oligarchs in Turkey.

It would not be wrong to say that Davutoglu, who has not met with Erdogan in any way lately, has withdrawn into his shell because he is not as active in political developments as he used to be.I think that Davutoglu, who is said to be founding a strong political party against Erdogan from time to time, should carry out an active and correct opposition policy against Erdogan in order to become Turkey’s leader after Erdogan because, so to speak, it is not possible for the people to sympathize with the return of a name that is scratched and forced to withdraw to his shell by Erdogan to active politics after Erdogan.

However, Davutoglu, who is touted as Ahmet Hodja in the conservative sector, is one of the most experienced politicians in the country and is always a name that is likely to be re-elected to the top seat.One of Davutoglu’s greatest advantages will be the support given to him by some of the prominent figures who have successfully taken part in Turkish politics.

There are other alternatives as well

As we often see in Turkish political history, a name that is not known very much, may show up suddenly and become the leader of the country.So even though I can guess a few names, we should not forget that it may not be possible.

For example, Cihangir Islam, who is preparing to succeed the wise leader of Felicity Party that once came to power, Temel Karamollaoğlu, is a new hope of the highly conservative group in Turkey, even if he is far from his former power.Islam, who maintained his medical success in parliament and made a good opposition, will be one of the most remarkable figures of the parliament until the next general elections scheduled to take place in 2023.At the same time, he is a politician with a vision that can move Felicity Party and its masses, which is declared as reactionist by some people, to a lot of innovations and to get votes from the voters who are opposed to him.

If the wave of young leadership spreads to Turkey as it did with Macron in France, with Kurz in Austria, with Trudeau in Canada and with Tsipras in Greece, Faik Tunay, who became a CHP deputy at a young age, is also a name that can play first chair even though he is of central right origin.Tunay’s strong international connections and his ability to speak many important languages will be a great advantage for him and for his leadership of Turkey.Although Tunay has not been seen much in the political arena lately, it is quite likely that he will progress in the right direction at the right time, using his young age’s advantage.

Of course, even if they haven’t been involved in politics until now, the successful names of the business world can step in this direction in a possible conjuncture. Ali Koç, who is the member of the country’s richest and most respected family, is the first to come to mind in this direction although he is dealing with the very unsuccessful outcomes of the football club he is currently president of.Although he has repeatedly stated that he does not intend to enter politics, he is a businessman who can be accepted by the public with his charisma and success.In the past, we have witnessed ultra-rich names such as Cem Uzan and Cem Boyner enter into politics and fail.Ali Koç, on the contrary, can be an example of success.

In conclusion, I should say that the emergence of a successful name from the business world to the leadership of Turkey will not produce as negative results as in the case of Trump, the first example in the world that comes to mind.At least in the international perspective…

Emir Eksioglu is a journalist and an entrepreneur. His articles have been published in Times of Israel, Huff Post, U.S. News, GQ, Tehran Times, Cumhuriyet.

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