While going to the 2023 elections, the psychology of the voters and politicians will determine the results. Voting tendencies of undecided voters, Kurds, young people and resentful ones have strategic importance. President of the People’s Alliance Erdogan While the opposition candidates are still unclear. Despite the strong election mood ahead of time, we are not considered to have entered the period of real election campaigns until the candidates are clarified. We can point out the existence of three emotions that affect/will affect the preferences of the voter groups I mentioned: Anxiety, anger and hope. These three emotions, of varying intensity among different constituencies, are interconnected. And the parties and candidates that are successful in addressing these emotions at the same time will come to the fore. Political discourses produced around anxiety “permanence” points to the issue. For the ruling party, this is the feeling that if the 6-way table wins, the country will suffer a serious loss of national interest in foreign policy, security and the fight against terrorism. In other words, it is the understanding that the opposition cannot bring the balance established between the West and Russia and will make concessions against the USA, EU and Greece. It is the feeling that national interests in Libya, Azerbaijan, the Eastern Mediterranean, Syria and Iraq will decline. It is also the fear of religious-conservative segments losing their democratic gains. It is the possibility that the PKK and FETO will become effective again due to the messy and bad choices of the 6-way table. For the opposition, the continuation of the current power, democracy and the future is a matter of survival. Representatives of these circles want to get rid of the AK Party government’s actions, except for a few areas such as the defense sector, and talk about “reconstruction”.
Anger, a stronger emotion fueled by anxiety, is often hidden. The phenomenon of opposition, marginalization and polarization emerges around anger. The indiscretion of the opposition on PKK and FETO issues causes anger, albeit at low intensity, among those who support the government. It’s a different kind of discomfort than anxiety. The feeling of anger is more intense in opposition. The reaction to the lifestyle debates, the pains of lost elite power and “This time Do we lose too?” it turns into revanchist language and feelings by combining with his suspicion. The rhetoric of reckoning, making a denial, and closing the AK Party as a criminal organization arises from this half-hidden, half-open secularist anger. It seems difficult to placate the secularist anger with Kılıçdaroğlu’s naive apology or with some small parties saying “We are here”.
The positive emotion of election campaigns is, of course, hope. more prosperous, more a democratic and stronger Turkey imaginary… Hope is the other name of vision. The world, under the shadow of energy and food crises, is heading towards new great power struggles. Here in this environment, hope points to inclusive policies that focus on economic problems such as combating the cost of living and income distribution on the one hand, and on the other hand, put different identity demands on their agenda. It corresponds to the success of positioning Turkey as an effective and powerful country in the international arena after 2023. The opposition is of the opinion that the AK Party’s departure from power will solve all the problems. He thinks saying this is promising. Since the 6-way table cannot come up with a common vision, it cannot create a feeling of hope in the undecided voters. His stance on HDP and FETO issues also creates anxiety among his nationalist voters. The table is sending mixed messages to its base while trying to give hope to the partners next to it.
It can be expected that both the government and the opposition will be on the agenda with the collages of these three emotions during the election period. By observing each other’s discourses, they will try to manage the anxiety, anger and hope in the electorate in a dynamic and dialogical way. President of the People’s Alliance Erdogan this triple has more possibilities for balancing: Experience, being the only candidate, global like leadership… It seems very difficult for the opposition candidate or candidates to be able to make an effective campaign and present a vision within the limits set by the 6 general presidents. In short, the emotion management of the election period is very important. Overemphasis on anxiety (survival) feeds anger (contradiction) and weakens hope (vision). The golden synthesis of anxiety and hope can mobilize the electorate.