Nonresident Senior Fellow Howard Eissenstat Quoted in Ahval

On December 13, 2017, POMED nonresident senior fellow Howard Eissenstat was quoted by Nick Ashdown in an Ahval article entitled, “Will the Turkish opposition be going into the next election blindfolded?

“In the municipal elections in 2014 and then again in the April 2017 referendum, we’ve seen that the opposition not only has to compete on an uneven playing field, but that the count cannot be assured,” Howard Eissenstat, a history professor at St. Lawrence University and non-resident senior fellow at the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) said in an email.

The next election was crucial for Erdoğan, who will not be taking any chances, Eissenstat said.

“To me it boils down to this: Erdoğan would certainly prefer to win the elections without outright ballot rigging. But is he willing to lose? I don’t think so. The next election is existential for him. He will win it by hook or by crook,” he said.


Eissenstat said that even most people who are against Erdoğan did not support the coup and want to see the president gone by democratic means, so legitimate elections remain their last hope.

“They may not like (Erdoğan), but they believe he can be – and should be – removed by the ballot. If they no longer believe that is possible, then they are out of options. They can flee abroad; the can accept perpetual domination; or they can seek to voice dissent outside of elections.”

Read the full article here.