Turkey's election turns on two Turguts
Istanbul — The race in Turkey's current campaign for parliamentary elections Nov. 6 is between two Turguts: Turgut Sunalp, leader of the Nationalist Democracy Party, and Turgut Ozal, leader of the Motherland Party.
Both parties are center-right and entered politics for the first time after a three-year military rule.
There are important differences between the two candidates - if not so much between the two parties.
Turgut Sunalp is a retired general who served with the invading Turkish forces in Cyprus in 1974. He was named ambassador to Canada shortly after his retirement. His manners are soldierly and tough. His main concern is the preservation of law and order, which was restored by the military after the takeover in 1980.
Turgut Ozal is a technocrat who served under different governments as chief economic planner. He introduced Turkey's economic stability program in 1980, shortly before the military takeover. The positive results of that policy won him a reputation as an ''economic wizard.'' His campaign is designed to attract support by promising a better economy and better living conditions.
Sunlap claims he is in the best position to preserve peace and that he has the support of President Kenan Evren and the military council. He describes his party as right-center and progressive in the best tradition of Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Turkish Republic, which celebrates its 60th anniversary this weekend. He also promises to keep a mix of private and public enterprises in the country.
Ozal advocates a free market economy - to the point of turning much of the state sector to private and foreign investors.
The third candidate is Necdet Calp, leader of the left-of-center Populist Party. Mr. Calp is a civil servant whose was undersecretary for the prime minister. He emphasizes social justice, trying to gain support from workers and peasants.
The well-known politicians - like Suleyman Demirel and Bulent Ecevit - and their parties are excluded from these elections. The military blame them for creating the political chaos that forced the Army to seize power.
The election campaign started on a dull note, with poor attendance at public rallies, but has been picking up in the last few days after the leaders appeared in debates and met the press interview programs arranged by the nationwide state-operated television network. This gave Turks a chance to know the new political leaders better.
Still, low interest in the campaign is caused by the lack of charismatic personalities and hot issues, as well as little differences among the parties.
Differences might have emerged had the military allowed two recently established parties to participate in the elections. Both were branded as the heir or continuation of the banned Right Way Party of Demirel and the Social Democratic Party of Ecevit.
The key question is how the mass of supporters of these two parties will vote. The conservative Right Way Party is urging the people to cast a blank vote (voting is compulsory in Turkey), while the Social Democratic Party has left its supporters free to make their own choice. Public opinion polls indicate that more than 30 percent of the electorate are undecided.
''The votes may swing either way,'' an experienced analyst said.
''The swing may be strong enough on one side and produce a strong and stable government headed by one of the Turguts, or it can give either of them a plurality and not a majority, which means a coalition (perhaps between the two Turguts), but a rather weak government.''