Velvele Reports: Elections in Turkey

Today, we are publishing the first installment of our Elections 2023 Reports. With news reports published in English every week until the May 14 Elections, we aim to inform our readers in Turkey and in the Diaspora about the latest developments regarding LGBTQI+ and the elections in Turkey. We hope our reports will highlight various achievements of LGBTQI+ individuals and organizations in the field of politics while establishing an archive of the 2023 Elections. Please feel free to share these reports with your friends, families, and colleagues who are looking for more information on the upcoming elections and LGBTQI+ in Turkey.  

Trans activist and actress Esmeray Özadikti and openly trans municipality worker Niler Albayrak have applied to the Workers’ Party of Turkey to be considered as MP candidates.

SPoD, Social Policy, Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Studies Association, has started its campaign “Leaving No One Behind!” for the upcoming elections. The campaign will consist of the association’s actions towards ensuring the safety of the election process for the LGBTI+ people, including policies related to LGBTI+ rights in the election programs and declarations of political parties, and ensuring that LGBTI+ people are not forgotten by the political parties during the election process. In addition, SPoD will increase their efforts to ensure that the LGBTI+ community can vote safely and that democratic political spaces can be protected. Last but not least, they will examine the discourses of all political parties participating in the elections on all social groups, especially LGBTI+ people, and evaluate their election declarations.

Yöneylem Sosyal Araştırmalar Merkezi, a research center based in Turkey, released its latest poll. According to the poll conducted last week, here is each party’s potential: 30,2% AKP, 24.2% CHP, 8.4% HDP, 8% İYİ Parti, 5.9% MHP, 3,1% Memleket Partisi, 2.8% TİP. 10% is undecided. 

Government and opposition blocks have been scrambling to solidify their alliances all week. Former Minister of Treasury Mehmet Şimşek rejected joining AKP’s election efforts, throwing AKP’s plans to return to orthodox economic models into disarray. Yeniden Refah Party, an offshoot of the traditional political Islamists, accepted Erdoğan’s invitation to join the pro-government alliance. Yeniden Refah wants to shut down LGBTQI+ associations. Yeniden Refah’s demands to abolish the Law No. 6284 to Protect Family and Prevent Violence Against Women in order to join forces with AKP triggered an internal party debate and Özlem Zengin, an AKP MP who was against abolishing this law, was targeted by Islamist online troll armies for standing in favor of the law. Zengin is a well-known anti-LGBTQI+ politician in Turkey. HÜDA-PAR also joined AKP’s alliance.

The Labor and Independence Alliance, led by HDP, has declared that they will not have a presidential candidate. They have not declared which candidate they will support in the presidential elections. Kılıçdaroğlu met earlier this week with HDP at the Parliament and said the solution of the Kurdish question will be found in the Parliament. 

The Directorate of Communications, led by Farhettin Altun, has spent 188.2 Million Turkish liras (~10M USD) in February 2023 alone, triple its expenditure in February 2022. The Directorate spent more than 10% of its 2023 budget in the shortest month of the year. Most of February’s spending is thought to be channeled to uplifting the government’s image after the earthquake.

224 people were arrested at the Nowruz Celebration organized by HDP, the Kurdish party, in İstanbul. In the Nowruz Celebration in Amed, many LGBTQI+ people were attacked. HDP İstanbul MP Züleyha Gülüm said on Twitter that “We do not accept the violence and the attack. No group can make the Nowruz space, where millions come together and advocate for peace and life where everyone lives equally with their rights, a tool for hate speech and action.”

Muharrem İnce, the opposition’s candidate against Erdoğan in the 2018 elections, is under scrutiny from the opposition since he is running a presidential campaign that is considered disruptive towards the opposition’s efforts to overthrow the current government. İnce claims to have 30% support, but polls show his support is in single digits.    

Click here if you would like to support Velvele


1 Comment

Comments are closed.