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Turkish opposition remains in denial of its failed strategies

The Turkish opposition is unable to admit its failures and blames those who did not turn out to vote for the outcome.
The main opposition candidate in Turkey's presidential election, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu speaks after he cast his vote for Turkey's presidential election at a polling station in Istanbul, Turkey, on August 10, 2014. Turks were voting in their first direct presidential election Sunday _ a watershed event in TurkeyÕs 91-year history, where the president was previously elected by Parliament. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has dominated the country's politics for the past decade, is the strong front-runn

On Aug. 10, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan became the first directly elected president of the country with 51.8% of the vote. While Erdogan consolidated his victory with the support of his loyal constituency, voters opposed to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) policies did not rally behind Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, the joint candidate of the opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Nationalist Action Party (MHP). In fact, the two opposition parties saw a significant drop in votes compared with the March 30 local election. In denial that their strategy had failed, CHP and MHP blocs blamed the low turnout of 75% — compared with 89% in March — and the more than 15 million people who chose not to vote in this election as being co-conspirators in taking Erdogan to the country’s highest office.

“If people had bothered to vote, the result of this election would have been very different,” MHP leader Devlet Bahceli said Aug. 10 in an angry tone. CHP leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu echoed the same thing. “If it had not been for vacationers, those boycotting the election and others who did not go to the ballot box for their own reasons, [Erdogan] would not have won that 51% and this election would have gone to the second round,” he said.

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