Since for many years Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been successful in every election he has entered, many people there accept the view that “Erdogan will never lose.” This is reasonable because, despite several adverse events, Erdogan and his AK Party have been superior in the polls for a long time.
I think that President Erdogan will win the next general elections, scheduled to take place in 2023, even if he is not as strong as he used to be, so long as his health allows him and he wants to continue in the political arena.
However it is a fact that Erdogan is not as powerful as he was a few years ago, and that criticism towards his government and the country’s course, including those who voted for him, cannot be underestimated.
We can also understand this from the alliance he formed with the president of the Nationalist Movement Party, Devlet Bahçeli, who 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 the AK Party is fortunate since the CHP (Republican People’s Party), which has been acting as the main opposition party for years, is not a party that can take over because of its constant chaos, wrong choices and attitudes. No country in Europe has an opposition party which draws an amateur image like CHP.
Many secret meetings have been organized by people who want to be in charge of the country’s government after Erdogan.
In my view, the most likely politician to win an election against Erdogan is Meral Aksener, who was elected to the parliament for the first time in 1995, when Erdogan was the mayor of Istanbul. She served as the first female Minister of Internal Affairs in Turkish history. and is well-respected by many for her political experience.
In 2001, Aksener – who founded the AK Party with Erdogan and Abdullah Gül, who later served as the prime minister and president – left the party as a result of disagreements. She then became a popular political icon in the Nationalist Movement Party, serving as a member of parliament and parliamentary deputy speaker for many years.
After the party’s failed election results, Aksener rolled up her sleeves to form the Good Party. Against the obstructions of Devlet Bahçeli, who is thought to run the party with a dictatorial approach by many, the party achieved a successful result in its first year, surpassing the 10% threshold.
I think Meral Aksener is the person most likely to defeat President Erdogan. Aksener is a politician who is at the forefront with her nationalism but keeps it in balance.
She’s not like France’s Marine Le Pen, whose rhetoric in tinged with racism and fascism.
In Turkey, the majority of people position themselves as center-right. The AK Party and most of the political parties that have been successful in the past are center-right.
Meral Aksener is positioned in the center-right, but she is also a strong social democrat leader with strong rhetoric and a sympathetic attitude.
I can already say that Meral Aksener will continue her successful political graphics and that one day she will be at the highest level of Turkish politics.
Another contender to replace Erdogan is Suleyman Soylu, who was the president of the Democratic Party. That party has played an important place in Turkish politics as it elected three presidents and seven prime ministers. Soylu, who currently serves as the Minister of Internal Affairs, is one of the most respected names of the nationalist-conservative wing, just like Aksener. The determined struggle he has led against the PKK, the Kurdish terrorist organization that committed numerous murders in Turkey, has gained Suleyman Soylu a great deal of support amongst the Turkish people.
However, the possibility of Soylu taking over the leadership of Turkey in the near future seems unlikely because he has expressed his loyalty to Erdogan at every opportunity. He 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 there is a saying in Turkey that “A period of 24 hours is a very long time for politics.” I can see Soylu making a move to lead post-Erdogan Turkey.
Besides Aksener and Soylu, another politician who many Turks hold with esteem is Ahmet Davutoglu. One of the most important figures of the AK Party until a few years ago, he was both the president of the party and prime minister of Turkey between 2014 and 2016. Notwithstanding his reputation in the AK Party, Davutoglu had to resign as a result of a ridiculous statement published by several media oligarchs in Turkey.
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 reelected to the top seat.
As well, there are other alternatives.
As we often see in Turkish political history, a name that is not well-known may show up suddenly and become the leader of the country. Even though I can guess a few names, we should not forget that it may be possible.
For example, Cihangir Islam is preparing to become leader of the Felicity Party, and Temel Karamollaoglu is a new hope of the conservatives.
If the wave of young leadership spreads to Turkey as it did with Macron in France, Kurz in Austria, Trudeau in Canada and Tsipras in Greece, Faik Tunay, who became a CHP deputy at a young age, could also one day replace Erdogan. Tunay’s strong international connections and his ability to speak many languages will be a great advantage for him and 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 to his advantage.
Finally, successful names of the business world could step forward in the future to lead Turkey. But wealth is no guarantee of votes. In the past, we have witnessed tycoons such as Cem Uzan and Cem Boyner enter politics and fail.
From an international perspective, if Donald Trump, a wealthy real estate developer with no political experience, can become president of the United States, similarly a rich businessman could enter the presidential palace in Ankara.Emir Eksioglu, is a journalist and an entrepreneur