Turkey already longs for stability

Published 10.06.2015 23:41
Updated 11.06.2015 01:04

The results of the parliamentary elections, which were waited for impatiently by Turkey and world, have been completed. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which has ruled the country for 13 years, came in first, receiving 41 percent of the vote. The Republican People's Party, which represents middle-class and upper-class elites, could not take advantage of being in the opposition this time either, and its votes remained at 25 percent, dropping 1 percent compared to previous general elections. The Nationalist Movement Party (MDP) received 16 percent of the vote while the vote for the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), which was the key party of the elections, skyrocketed in the strictest sense of the word, and doubled. It took 13 percent of the vote and became the fourth party to be voted into Parliament. According to these results, none of the parties can form a government on their own, a situation that leaves Turkey with three alternatives: A coalition government, a minority government or early general elections. To begin with, the first alternative, being in line with the current parliamentary arithmetic, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will firstly assign the task of forming a coalition government to the AK Party, which outscored its nearest challenger by 16 percent. As a first step, the AK Party is expected to apply to the MHP, which is in tune with the AK Party more than other parties in terms of the similarity of the tendencies of their bases. However, the MHP's ultra-nationalist discourse might cause trouble for the AK Party, which has a reformist attitude toward topics such as the Kurdish question. A coalition of the AK Party and the CHP seems like too broad a based ground, and a possible government of the two parties would not last long due to their totally conflicting political perspectives. A coalition of the AK Party and HDP is hardly likely to occur because of the HDP's ties to the separatist PKK, the armed militants of which are still deployed in northern Iraq's Qandil Mountains.

The only coalition alternative that excludes the AK Party from the government is a cooperation of the three opposition parties. Reconciliation between the Turkish nationalist MHP and the Kurdish nationalist HDP, two parties that exist through mutual hostility, seems almost impossible. Yet still, anything is possible in politics. Perhaps their hatred of the AK Party, which they could not overthrow through elections over the past 13 years, might spark this impossible love. It is not hard to guess that such a marriage of convenience will eliminate both parties until the next elections, considering that the proponents of the two parties could not stand even coming across each other in the streets before the elections. As far as the practices of Turkish political life are concerned, the formula of a minority government is synonymous with early general elections. This is because the perspective of power in Turkey is attractive enough so as to make political actors greedy for power and Turkey's culture of consensus is poor. Furthermore, the major distinctive element between the parties is not technical programs, but hardline ideological barriers. In other words, any party that supports the government from the outside but cannot make the most of government cannot explain why it shares responsibility with the government to its voter base. In such a case, a minority government cannot last for more than a year in the best-case scenario, paving the way for early elections. Early elections are a significant alternative, which the opposition is highly unlikely to lean toward. The AK Party's offended voters, who have seen the present chaotic atmosphere, have already started to confess that the lesson that they taught the AK Party was a harsh one.

A presidential system is the sole remedyLet us see how Turkey will resolve this stalemate as a country that has enjoyed uninterrupted stability following political and economic crises caused by long periods of coalition governments. More importantly, how will it maintain the democratic and economic achievements of recent years during this political adventure? Perhaps this stage is an essential turning point in the 13-year civil transformation process of Turkey, which is used to sudden and unexpected revolutions staged by military and bureaucratic elites. Since the day Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was elected president with 52 percent of the vote, the Turkish-style parliamentary system entered a deadlock. The results of Sunday's elections might make this problem understood more deeply. Therefore, discussions about a presidential system, which is almost demonized in Turkey in a strange way, might progress on healthier ground.

Another taboo that has been broken by the elections is the accusations of one-man rule and dictatorship that are aimed at Erdoğan. Such accusations, which were created by the opposition, are also approved by some Western political circles and newspapers. Just think, where on earth can a dictator's party not achieve enough votes to form a government? Let us remember that the opposition parties, which hold on to the excuse that the elections are rigged whenever they sustain an electoral defeat, did not raise any objection when the AK Party could not secure enough votes to form a government on its own. Do you think American and European orientalist journalists, who implied in their pieces that NATO should interfere in Turkey for the same reason before the elections, have an answer to this question?

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