Compromise has arguably been the most popular word in Turkey since the June 7 parliamentary elections, as the vast majority of political commentators assert that the electorate has urged the major parties to find a middle ground. While the question of how and on what politicians should reach a compromise remains conveniently unanswered, talking heads have full confidence in their conclusions.
It goes without saying that compromise requires two or more parties to make concessions for the purpose of ensuring a mutually acceptable outcome. For some reason though, pundits do not seem too interested in acknowledging this basic rule of compromise. Instead, they implicitly posit that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) alone participated in the elections and, by extension, is the sole intended recipient of the electorate's message. Before discussing the idea of compromise, the experts' favorite phrase, in greater detail, is that it is necessary to go back to basics and take a look at cold, hard facts:
1. Compromise requires cooperation from multiple political parties. There is, as such, no point in talking about the AK Party alone when engaging in political analysis.
2. Compromise is the outcome of negotiations. At some point, opposition leaders will have to stop telling people why they will never shake hands with the AK Party and start working on finding a middle ground.
3. As interesting as the opposition's eagerness to simultaneously put AK Party leaders on trial and work with them might seem, the country deserves better than a teenage love-hate relationship.
4. Expecting a coalition government imposed by the electoral system and the most recent allocation of seats in Parliament to address all pressing problems is inherently anti-political. Furthering this agenda will lead the country nowhere except the Old Turkey.
5. Always remember that a coalition government will be formed in Turkey, not in the surreal world that political analysts mocking the AK Party, which received as many votes as the next two parties combined, have invented for themselves.
Keeping the above facts in mind, taking compromise out of context to attribute some messianic meaning to the concept hardly helps anyone. Furthermore, if opposition parties are misled into thinking that they might corner the AK Party under the pretext of pursuing a compromise, they will grow accustomed to the following situation the hard way. The AK Party's 258 representatives reflect the average citizen in terms of their hometowns, political views and financial means. The remaining 292 seats, in turn, are filled by a heterogeneous group with geographic, social and economic differences. In other words, Parliament pits an organic whole comprised of 258 deputies against 292 individuals whose solidarity merely amounts to a hypothetical montage.
When it comes to compromise there is absolutely no doubt about the opposition's track record over the past 13 years when they did not hesitate to hurt national interests instead of showing solidarity with the people. Considering the position they assumed with regard to the 2010 constitutional referendum, the Kurdish reconciliation process, foreign policy and major public projects, opposition leaders have nothing to show for their interest in compromise.
The AK Party leadership has already announced that they will pursue a solution in light of the election results and the future course of coalition talks depends on whether or not the opposition will manage to act seriously. To stop pretending that 292 opposition deputies represent a single bloc would be a great place to start. While acting like 24 percent of the electorate translates into 60 percent of seats must be really comforting, but such surrealism will make it impossible for politicians to think about the country's problems, let alone tackle them. If opposition leaders and political commentators want compromise, they should do themselves a favor and stop fighting the facts.