Bayram Balcı, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, August, 9 2014: “Even Authoritarian, the Turkish Prime Minister Remains a Key Player in the Middle East”
This coming August, for the first time in its history, Turkey will elect her president in a direct election. This direct election will inevitably increase the power of the president. Moreover, since the probable winner will be Recep Erdogan, who is already a charismatic and a powerful leader, there is no doubt that the new electoral system will reinforce the already very authoritarian tendency towards power in Turkey. However, despite his incontestable authoritarianism, the Turkish leader remains the most legitimate leader in the region and a key player for U.S. policy in the Middle East.
Three candidates are in the competition for these elections: the current Prime Minister Erdogan who benefits from the support of his strong ruling AKP party; Ekmeleddin Ihsanoğlu, former general secretary of the Organization for the Islamic Cooperation who is mandated by the main opposition parties CHP and MHP; and, last but not least, Selahettin Demirtas, leader of the Kurdish party BDP which is expected to play an arbitrary role in these elections.