The political spectrum in Turkey has come to be dominated by radical left and radical right parties. Since there is no chance of the CHP turning into a centrist party and end this irrationality, it has lately turned its eyes to the HDP
It is not easy to do politics in Turkey. The most bizarre combinations, alliances and companionships can be easily formed due to this.
It is possible to make such an observation when the political spectrum is considered. Stability, predictability and a sustainable balance of security and freedom is explicit in the center. Citizens do not generally want adventures in their daily lives. They are also quite successful in building a new center at times when the center is dissolved.
We particularly witnessed that in the 1950, 1965, 1983 and 2002 elections. Central politics in Turkey is generally right-wing. It is not possible to find a center-left party. The Republican People's Party's (CHP) claim to be centrist has become visible occasionally. But this is an exceptional case, which was only seen in the 1977 elections. Just after this exceptional case, the CHP was driven away to the periphery of politics. It evolved into a party where various leftist fractions fight among each other.Since 2002, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has been meeting the social need for a traditional center. The AK Party is acting in accordance with central reflexes. Public surveys show that the AK Party has the least amount of voters with ideological motivations, which clearly reflects this fact. This also explains why the AK Party can receive votes from all segments of society and be represented in every corner of Turkey. The presence of centrist parties is crucial in terms of the institutionalization and consolidation of a country's democracy.
The presence of only one centrist party in Turkey is better than none. But the absence of a second centrist party constitutes a serious problem.
It becomes harder to create and implement structural transformation, reforms and policies regarding social demands. This one-sided construction gets either harder or impossible or it faces a problem of legitimacy for the rest of society.
It is observed in the rest of the political spectrum that radical left and radical right parties come to dominate the spectrum. Since the CHP does not have a possibility to turn into a centrist party and end this irrationality, it has lately turned its eyes on the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP). We saw some indications of this possibility in the presidential election. However, at the point we have reached today it is evident that the HDP has turned into a political party that appeals to extremes, radicals and maximalists rather than addressing the center. In the medium and long term, it is evolving into an inhibitor as part of the project of preventing the AK Party's rule rather than a centrist party.
Of course it is not surprising for the countries, pressure groups and lobbyists that do not favor AK Party rule to support and sympathize with the HDP in a doubtful way. The Gülen Movement, which declared war against the HDP only a year ago, is now its greatest proponent.
Resorting to every way seems legitimate when this is the case. While media showcases some maximalist figures that have become visible with their peace and freedom discourses, the party organizations are formed with the outlawed PKK on a large scale. In regions with dense Kurdish populations, they resort to armed threats, assaults and blackmailing. Attacks are organized against AK Party members in these regions.They react to the disarmament of the PKK. They see no harm in defending a totalitarian political organization model similar to the 1936 Soviet constitution. In the same regions they also want to conduct a cleansing operation targeting different groups that have a potential to object to the PKK's domination. But all these realities are covered with the media's successful distortion. A substantial part of the political movements apart from the AK Party surrendered to the alliance of extremes rather than the alliance of diversities.
Turkish society does not give much credence to such alliances.
About the author
Osman Can is a Law Professor and Reporting Judge at the Turkish Constitutional Court. He holds a PhD from the University of Cologne, Germany.