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In Turkey, the campaign poster in the form of an indictment of the Erdogan years

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LETTER FROM ISTANBUL

A poster has never made a campaign, with very few exceptions. In France, we remember the photo of François Mitterrand with his slogan ” The quiet force “ – beautiful oxymoron – which accompanied the socialist candidate to victory in 1981. That also of Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, in 1974, who posed with his daughter Jacinthe under his simple surname.

In Turkey, political posters have also punctuated, in their own way, electoral life and its convulsions since the end of the Second World War and the introduction of the multiparty system. Even if the giant billboards at the edge of the roads have been almost monopolized in recent years by the omnipresident Recep Tayyip Erdogan in a staging that is most often identical (bust portrait with a rather virile sentence of the type “A great Türkiye wants a strong leader”), the country has also experienced some flashes in political imagery.

In 1950, the campaign of the Democratic Party (PD), which won the legislative elections against the former single party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the formation created by the founding father of the Republic, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, is exemplary in this respect. The poster, of an extremely refined simplicity, shows a raised hand next to the injunction: ” That’s enough ! The floor is up to the people! » For a first electoral alternation, the effect was guaranteed.

The campaign posters of the Turkish Democratic Party for the 1950 legislative elections (left) and of the Social Democratic People's Party for those of 1987 (right).

Nearly four decades later, the photo of a hand this time enclosing a citrus fruit and attached to the slogan in the form of a question, “Do you have the strength to be squeezed five more years like a lemon? », will also mark the spirits. The metaphor against the high cost of living will not allow the Social Democratic People’s Party (SHP, opposition) to win the elections, but it will help to double its score at the ballot box, going from 12% to 24% of the vote. The pressed citrus fruit will be reused on several occasions, notably in 2015 by Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, the president of the CHP and then candidate for the legislative elections.

An illustrated indictment

The leader of the Kemalist formation has put the lemon away today, but he returns with a poster of unusual strength and political audacity, which could well also be a landmark. And not just at the image level. Presidential candidate of May 14 from a broad opposition coalition, ranging from the extreme right to the center left, Kemal Kiliçdaroglu, known rather for his lack of charisma, chose to target the power in place with an impressive gallery of portraits and symbols.

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