Two years on, Turkey’s Green Party held up by bureaucracy

Turkey’s Green Party is struggling to take part in next year’s elections, as it continues to grapple with years-long bureaucratic hurdles despite having met eligibility criteria for formal establishment, Turkey Recap reported on Monday.

The Greens have been waiting since August of 2020, when they submitted their documents to the Interior Ministry to launch their party, it said, and have not heard from Ankara since October of the same year, despite all their attempts to get the ball rolling on their political formation.

Pundits believe that the foot-dragging may be caused by the government’s concerns about the party, which is slated to appeal to Tukey’s sizeable  young demographic, or part of a larger plan to minimize opposition voices.

The party's programme includes very ambitious goals and principles, from a carbon-free economy to gender equality, the right to water and health, the right to education in the mother tongue, freedom of different beliefs and identities, as well as local and direct democracy.

“...There is a strong undercurrent that is hard to control or direct, and they can’t predict how this will play out amongst undecided voters, young voters, concerned conservatives or Kurds,” Fuat Keyman, political scientist at Sabancı University and director of the Istanbul Policy Center, said. “There may be an undercurrent attracted to green politics, and it may gravitate towards the Greens, these are hard to assess.”

The Greens potential appeal is to Turkey’s formidable Gen Z population, which could make up to some 16 percent of votes in the 2023 elections, according to Turkey Recap.

Ozer Sencar, director of the polling company MetroPoll, maintains that the Greens have been prevented from moving forward as part of the government’s plans to suppress a potential movement that seems more “reasonable.”

“It doesn’t make sense for the AKP to consider the Green Party a rival,” Sencar said, adding that even if some youths were to back the Greens, they would come from the opposition bloc, and not the ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) own constituents.

“It’s not possible to say the youth is waiting for the Green Party with bated breath either, at least I can’t say that,” Sencar told Turkey Recap.

If launched, the new Greens would be the third Green Party in Turkey's history following two such short-lived endeavours in 1988 and 2008, neither of which caused enough of a buzz to prompt fears about a third attempt, Turkey Recap said. 

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