In the weeks leading up to Turkey’s tightest elections in two decades, some of the 64 million eligible voters didn’t look to opinion polls for predictions about the outcome.
They turned to astrologers.
A few weeks ago, Dincer Guner, a renowned astrologer, carefully examined the birth chart of the Turkish republic (founded Oct. 29, 1923) and those of the presidential candidates. The result, he announced in a YouTube video, was clear: Kemal Kilicdaroglu, the leading opposition candidate, would win the presidential vote, ending President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s 20 years in power.
Mr. Kilicdaroglu’s supporters rejoiced. But Mr. Guner is just one among a universe of celebrity astrologers giving forecasts in Turkey. They enjoy large followings on social media, offering hopes of clarity amid the uncertainty of nail-biting election polls, a crippling cost of living crisis and the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes in February that killed more than 50,000 people in Turkey and upended millions of lives.
Another prominent astrologer, Meral Guven, known for accurately forecasting the national soccer championship, predicted an election win for Mr. Erdogan, saying he would rule Turkey “until the day he dies and even after that.”
The election predictions are part of a spiritualism that is common in Turkish society, where people read the future in coffee grounds, consult fortune tellers before major life decisions or visit the purported tombs of ancient mystics to make wishes.
Even top politicians seek celestial guidance: Mr. Kilicdaroglu wears a martenitsa, or “wish ribbon,” on his right wrist, to be untied when his wish comes true. When a supporter asked him last month what the wish was, he replied, “This is a secret everybody knows.”
Astrology serves as a balm in a country where a powerful government has eroded many people’s sense of control, according to Feyza Akinerdem, a lecturer in sociology at Bogazici University in Istanbul.
“Individuals are disempowered by the grip of the state in Turkey,” Mrs. Akinerdem said. “Reliance on astrology is one way to endure the lack of power over one’s own life, particularly in tumultuous times.”
Mr. Guner, whose Twitter account has more than 700,000 followers, points to 2018, when Turkey’s currency began to lose value, as the start of a new surge of interest in astrology as people sought financial counsel. “People have been increasingly asking me about where they should invest their savings, whether the exchange rate will go even further,” Mr. Guner said in an interview.
“I refrain from precise answers because financial astrology is not my field of expertise,” he added.
Mr. Guner must choose his words carefully, especially around politics, given that insulting the president is a criminal offense in Turkey and free media is largely muzzled. Although he predicted a defeat for Mr. Erdogan, Mr. Guner has warned the political opposition against repeating the mistakes of Turkey’s short-lived coalition governments of the 1990s, an era characterized by political bickering and economic troubles, since his readings suggest a similar pattern for the country over the next two years.
While the political season has kept him busy, the astrologer said he looked forward to other pressing questions once the elections are over.
“I miss people asking me about their love lives,” he said.