Sputnik: What is the main significance of these elections, in your estimation?
Zenonas Tziarras: These are historic elections for a number of reasons. Perhaps the most important is that the Turkish political system will transition into a presidential democracy with many powers concentrating to the person of the president, which most probably will be Erdogan, although this is not certain.
This will complete (or start the completion of) a transition that has been taking place in Turkey on a social, political and economic level over approximately the past fifteen years.
So the whole world is looking, because the domestic [outlook] of Turkey is changing, but also the international outlook of the country as well.
Sputnik: Can you tell us about what exactly is going to be the primary change in the political system made following the vote? The president will have more powers, but how much of an impact is that going to have, and what role will parliament now be playing?
Zenonas Tziarras: Most importantly perhaps is the fact that the president will be able to rule essentially by decree, overrunning the parliament. The parliament will maintain some control, especially when it comes to constitutional amendments, but the president will also have the authority to appoint judges to the constitutional court, and also the vice president, ministers and so on.
All bets are off at this point and the most possible scenario is that the ruling party will lose the majority in these elections.
Sputnik: Recently there was a constitutional referendum where Turks decided to give more power to the president and create what you correctly called a 'more authoritarian state'. What do you think drove people to vote for this?
Zenonas Tziarras: To be fair, we should remember that it was only a marginal [victory] of 51.4%, but you're right that it was still a 'yes' vote and the constitutional amendments [passed].
The economy has been collapsing, but at the same time, Erdogan has found a way to gather up votes on a different sort of ideological basis, that has a lot of degree of conspiracy and Turkish exceptionalism [at its core]. This has allowed Erdogan to get the majority that he wanted in the last referendum, but as I've said, it was only marginal, and actually many analysts have said that there was some vote-rigging of around 2 million votes…These were the votes that allowed Erdogan to get his 51.4%.
Dr. Zenonas Tziarras is a post-doctoral researcher at the department of social and political sciences at the University of Cyprus. The views expressed by Dr. Tziarras are those of the speaker, and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.