Back to the electoral alliances for the local vote

Published 23.11.2018 20:28
Updated 24.11.2018 00:01

The Turkish political arena undergoes a radical change as Turkish democracy's transition to the presidential system revolutionizes the very nature of politics in the country. As the president represents executive power and Parliament constitutes legislative power, the role of political parties will diminish in importance. Resembling the American way of democracy, political parties will come to the front of politics mainly in electoral contexts.

A vital alliance in Turkey has emerged from the political turmoil that was caused by the failed coup d'état of July 15. Turkish people interpreted the attempted coup not as a fantastic attempt of a lunatic, but as an organized attempt of occupation backed and encouraged by Western political powers. As the offshoots of those patriots who had mobilized against Western invaders in the early Republic, Turkish people resisted the coup with total indignation and determination. Thus, they set an unprecedented example of civil resistance against a possible military regime.

Anxious about the perpetuity of the Turkish Republic, nationalist and conservative segments of society have come together by putting their internal differences aside; hence, the sociological emergence of the People's Alliance.

Although the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) leadership long aimed to introduce a presidential system, public support for Turkey's transition from a parliamentary to a presidential system could not have exceeded 35 percent of the people until July 15, 2016. After the emergence of the People's Alliance, however, 50 percent of the people showed their support for the constitution of the new presidential system. The People's Alliance has put its signature under significant successes:

Threatened by the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and its own internal opposition, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has succeeded, thanks to the People's Alliance, not to be fragmented, and thus to protect its institutional identity as an essential political party in Turkish politics. In the general elections, the MHP passed the electoral threshold and had the upper hand over its main competitor, the Good Party (İP).

The People's Alliance of the AK Party and the MHP won the presidential referendum against the Nation's Alliance and its other political competitors.

Finally, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the presidential candidate of the People's Alliance, won the presidential election.

Since the July 15 failed coup, the People's Alliance has successfully managed the political process by showing an unprecedented unity. Representing 60 percent of Turkey, the alliance doesn't serve short-term issues, but Turkey's historical interests by standing against global designs and uniting the people and the state.

In the Syrian civil war, as the United States stalled Turkey and Syrian opposition groups, terrorist organizations Daesh, the PKK and FETÖ took the upper hand for a period of time to such an extent that they dreamed of annexing Turkish lands. The Turkish state responded to these existential threats with Operation Euphrates Shield and Operation Olive Branch on Afrin, which vanquished, respectively, Daesh and the PKK in northern Syria. In this vital political context, President Erdoğan brought forward the Lausanne Treaty by implying, "Turkey shall never renounce its sovereignty on any piece of its lands." After defeating Daesh and the PKK outside Turkey's southern borders, Erdoğan's leadership has succeeded to eliminate FETÖ, which had infiltrated the state and military structures.

A month ago, the controversy between the AK Party and MHP seemed to get the People's Alliance in a political deadlock. When journalist Fadime Özkan from the Turkish daily Star asked, in her interview with me, about the rising tension within the given alliance, I strongly emphasized the benefits that the People's Alliance provided for Turkey, and concluded, "The spirit of the People's Alliance must be preserved." Today, both the AK Party and the MHP have gotten together again with mutual awareness about the benefits of their alliance.

On the other hand, the opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) seeks an open alliance with the Good Party (İP) and a closed one with the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). Although this alliance, I believe, will also come together, nationalist elements exist in both the CHP and the İP that are not content with the ongoing rapprochement between the CHP and the HDP.

As in the general elections, the results of the upcoming local elections will be determined by electoral alliances. Thus, the new presidential system continues to form Turkish politics in a substantial manner.

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