Erdoğan’s Turkey and the Problem of the 30 Million

published 04.06.2020 09:50

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In a speech delivered in December 2019, Erdoğan said: “In this country, we have made local and national versions of everything, only the main opposition, have we not been able to make in this way,” eliciting laughter from the front row of VIPs.

Moving from right to left, the first, and closest to the government, are small groups of opposition nationalists of various stripes: The aging Kemalists, pan-Turkic nationalists, and Islamists together make up the group of roughly 10 million that Erdoğan thought would support his own voter base on the night of July 15.

On the far end of the gradient are the leftists and adherents of the Kurdish movements — the most intractable opposition to the government.

Today, the left end of the spectrum is represented in parliament under the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which is built on the Kurdish movement but also serves as a stronghold of the non-Kurdish left.

While Turkey’s politics is polarized between the government and the opposition, this creates a second polarization, this time within the opposition camp.