On June 12, Turkey goes to the ballot boxes. “The ongoing campaign is probably the most person-oriented campaign that I’ve ever seen in Turkey” comments Thomas Gür, senior advisor to the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation. While the AK will claim a landslide victory “with 40 to 50 percent of the votes” and form a majority government, the key issue is whether the AKP will manage to achieve at least 330 of the 550 seats in Parliament. “With such a majority, the AK Party would be able to put constitutional changes up for a public vote. Making constitutional changes in Parliament would require 367 of the votes, i.e. two thirds.”
The classic ferry route across the Bosphorus leaves from Eminönü, home of the new Mosque (inaugurated in 1655), to the Üsküdar, a city founded in the 700’Th century and formerly known as Chrysopolis or Scutari. At the ferry slip at Üsküdar, nowadays a municipality within Greater Istanbul, the campaign for the June 12 election is running on full speed.
Campaign workers hand out leaflets to surpassing ferry passengers as they enter and leave the terminal. The air is filled with the sounds of fluttering party pennants and flags hanging from the trees and streetlights, side by side with the mandatory Turkish flags. However, the sound environment is not likely to invite to neither spontaneous small talk nor serious discussion with party representatives. The low key square meeting speakers have been replaced by loudspeaker from at least three parties at the time – all of them shouting out pompous music mixed with recorded speeches of the party leaders. The loudspeakers thrones at the top of huge trucks with open sides – combinations of mobile election stands and propaganda machines equipped with some serious audio visual technology. (more…)