By Edmond Y. Azadian
The parliamentary elections in Turkey on June 7 are closely watched events by all parties in the region who will be impacted, one way or another, by their outcome. Turkey is a regional superpower and an arrogant one at that, under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. It has its influence and opinion on many conflicts in the region. It has its tentacles in the Balkans, it is directly involved in conflicts raging in Syria, Iraq and Libya and it even supports the Uighur Muslim unrest in China. But above all, it blockades Armenia and sets the tone of Azeri President Ilham Aliyev’s belligerence.
Therefore, should the elections cause any power shift domestically, that may affect Turkey’s foreign policy and its capacity to meddle in its neighbors’ internal affairs.
During the last election, President Erdogan garnered 52 percent of the popular votes. But Turkey’s weakening economy, endemic corruption scandals and the president’s dictatorial instincts have eroded the influence of Erdogan’s AKP party, which has been in power for the past 13 years.
A recent scandal may further deteriorate the situation for the ruling party. Turkey has been accused of supporting ISIS and supplying them with arms, while its main NATO partner has been bombing ISIS targets to get them to curb their barbaric wars waged in Syria and Iraq.
All along, the Erdogan government has been in denial mode. But, a whistleblower by the name of Can Dundar came forward in the daily Cumhuriyet to expose the operation of Turkey’s secret service agency, MIT. The police had caught trucks carrying arms to Syrian insurgents, under the cover of sending crates of medicine and food. Two thousand trucks have crossed from Turkey into Syria. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has claimed that it is nobody’s business what those trucks deliver. Mr. Erdogan has sued Dundar as a traitor and Mr. Dundar has complained that the judiciary is punishing the whistleblower rather than the culprit.