Democratic-values against authoritarianism? In the end it will be [again] the economy, stupid!

Eliamep policy brief (28 July 2022) summarising the main aspects of the the fourth episode of the ELIAMEP-MEDYASCOPE MEDIA SERIES (ELIMED), entitled “Value-based opposition against authoritarianism” (28 June 2022). The participants of the program, which I moderated, were Özge Mumcu Aybars, Sezin Öney and Osman Sert.

Link to the pdf:


  • Οpposition parties around the world (e.g., in Hungary, Poland, Brazil and Turkey) have started to form alliances against authoritarian and illiberal leaders.
  • The introduction of a presidential system in Turkey in 2018 made political parties join forces, since 50+1% would be needed to win the presidential elections.
  • Since May 2018, first four and now six opposition parties have formed the so-called “Millet [Nation] Alliance”; almost all the polls place the Alliance well ahead of the government AKP-MHP alliance.
  • In 2019, Millet Alliance candidates were able to win the municipal elections in Istanbul and Ankara
  • In May 2022, the Millet Alliance published ten clear, value-based principles, ranging from non-discrimination to freedom of the press, religion and thought through to the independence of the judiciary.
  • The parties of the Millet Alliance are not remembered for defending democratic values in the past, but will they now?
  • On topics like the Kurdish issue or refugees, the Millet Alliance is often harsher and more exclusionary than the government.
  • However, the economic situation and the candidate put forward by the Millet Alliance More will be more decisive for the elections than a debate over values.
  • Turkey does not have a choice between black and white, but rather between different shades of gray.

ELIMED is a collaborative project between the Turkey Program of the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) and Medyascope. The Centre for Applied Turkey Studies (CATS) at Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (SWP) in Berlin is funded by Stiftung Mercator and the German Federal Foreign Office. CATS is the curator of the CATS Network, an international network of think tanks and research institutions working on Turkey. “ELIAMEP-MEDYASCOPE MEDIA SERIES (ELIMED)” is a project of the CATS Network.