Pros and cons of the elections

Published 05.06.2015 23:52
Updated 06.06.2015 00:02

One of the most interesting election periods that Turkey has experienced over the past decade is about to come to an end. Let us make an assessment by considering the performances of four large parties in Parliament. For the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), it was a challenging election period as the party was not led by its former leader, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Although the party's current chairman, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, worked hard by almost doubling the rallies held by other leaders, the election campaign did not have a narrative. In all previous election campaigns, the AK Party gave messages to the public to protect their will by establishing a line of defense, particularly through the offences that were aimed at Erdoğan. This included the memorandum issued by the military, the closure case that was filed against the AK Party, the Gezi Park protests and fighting the Gülen Movement's "parallel structure" within the state. Indeed, such offences have not ceased at the point we have reached, but Davutoğlu and his team might have thought that they could obtain a favorable result by speaking of the party's previous practices and by pointing out the poor performances of coalition governments. The AK Party might be frustrated by the election results, but for Erdoğan's rallies, which were held although Erdoğan is not officially affiliated with the party, makes us feel that he still keeps an eye on the AK Party. The latest opinion polls reveal that after Erdoğan made an appearance in a meeting, the vote for the AK Party achieved its previous levels.

As for the Republican People's Party (CHP), it went through a painful and troublesome campaign period, as both the Doğan Media Group and Gülenist media preferred to uphold Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş instead of "Gandhi Kemal," an epithet attributed to CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. Therefore, Kılıçdaroğlu's election campaign had a low profile that was beneath the campaign of a main opposition party. I think there are no people left expecting that a great surprise will emerge for the CHP from the ballot boxes. This is mainly because the CHP administration gave in to stimulation instead of pursuing a unique policy. The CHP is leaving behind a period where those who it embraced in the past give it the cold shoulder today. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) also experienced an interesting election period. This is because for the first time some MHP supporters showed tendencies to vote for the HDP. MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli criticized neither the CHP nor the HDP, as if winking at the possibility of a coalition government. Since it acted like a poor imitation of the CHP in all aspects, it failed to attract considerable attention. If the vote for the MHP increases, the major reason for this might be the rise of the HDP's visibility.

Throughout the history of the PKK, the HDP has never been praised to such a great extent by the main stream media as in this election period. The anti-Erdoğan media strove and achieved to present the HDP as a "child as good as gold," although normally it is pleased if it is not treated as a terrorist. Just nine months ago, Demirtaş called on Kurdish people to pour into the streets, sparking violence that resulted in the death of some 50 people. Just five days ago, a HDP supporter opened fire on Free Cause Party (Hüda-Par) members who were carrying out election work, killing two and injuring six. However, mainstream media helped the HDP look like a Swedish social democrat party either by overlooking the act of violence or by justifying it. Yesterday, Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) leader Cemil Bayık in northern Iraq's Qandil Mountains made statements about how the HDP will act. People have been made to forget that the HDP is administrated from the Qandil Mountains, rather than from Ankara where the party headquarters is located. CHP and even MHP supporters were called on to undermine the AK Party's parliamentary arithmetic by helping the HDP pass the election threshold. We do not know to what extent the HDP will succeed as a media project, however, it has certainly achieved an outlook heading toward the center more than ever before in all aspects.

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