Projecting power and influence abroad, Erdogan will stage election rally in Sarajevo

  • Mihai Turcanu
  • 25.4.2018 19:39

On 25 April, Turkish pro-government outlets reported that President Recep Erdogan's regime will organise an electoral rally in Bosnia's capital, Sarajevo, on 20 May. After Austria, the Netherlands, and Germany banned similar pro-Erdogan's rallies, 10,000 ethnic Turks living in Western Europe are expected to be brought in to attend this event.

The announcement is aiming to impress Turkish domestic audience by projecting Erdogan's power and influence in Europe, and rally voters behind him at the snap parliamentary and presidential elections announced last week for June 24. Before this, on 13 March, Turkey adopted a new voting law, making elections less free while favouring Erdogan's further entrenchment in power. But the logic of occurrence behind these latest announcements goes back to last year's 16 April referendum when Turkey became a centralised executive presidency. Many of the new sweeping powers with which the President is invested were not expected to come into force until after the November 2019 elections. Erdogan's frequent appeal to millions of Turks living in Europe, like his 17 March 2017 call for Turkish families living in Europe to increase procreation rate, coupled with the increasingly Islamist tendencies of his regime, will test the level of integration of ethnic Turks living in the West and will further strain Turkey's relations with European (including Balkan) countries.

 

 

About author: Mihai Turcanu

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