In the aftermath of the elections

Published 12.06.2015 21:57
Updated 12.06.2015 23:40

The electoral results did not allow any single political movement to acquire a majority in Parliament. There will be a coalition government that will preside over the destiny of Turkey for the coming four years, or else if a coalition cannot be formed, perhaps anticipated elections will take place. President Erdoğan has been very clear on this point: The people have spoken and now it is up to the political parties and their leaders to abide by the "vox populi," putting aside their egos.

The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) was expecting to have a majority in seats; this did not happen mainly because of a large wave of Kurdish nationalism and the disappointment of a major part of urban voters in the Republican People's Party (CHP), and who decided to vote for the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) for the first time. The strong implantation of the HDP in Kurdish-populated regions and towns of Turkey allowed it to get a higher percentage of seats than their votes. This has resulted in a compartmented political scene, where no party has a majority in seats and where coalition talks have to be held between different parties.

President Erdoğan has clearly indicated, in the aftermath of the electoral results, that it was essential for the political elite to act responsibly and rapidly in order to form a government soon. He has also given a very good example of dialogue by inviting Deniz Baykal for a two-hour talk, who is one of the most experienced politicians in Turkey, a former minister, deputy prime minister and chairman of the CHP for years. He will become the acting speaker of the new Assembly because he remains the most senior parliamentarian to be elected. But more than the symbolic function Baykal will hold at the opening session of the new Parliament, his influence over the CHP still remains very important. He has been demoted from the presidency of the CHP in very obscure conditions; a video tape seemingly showing him having an affair was leaked on social media. After a number of incredible developments that took a couple of days, he decided to resign and not be a candidate for his own succession at the head of the party. A no-name former civil servant, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu replaced him at the last moment. The latter's political performance and capacity has disappointed more than one person up until now.

What is really important though is perhaps not whether a grand coalition will be possible in Turkey despite the political naivety of Kılıçdaroğlu, but the fact that a great democratic activity has taken place in an incredibly vibrant way. The elections had a turnover of about 87 percent, showing the interest and confidence vested by the Turkish population in this democratic contest. Not only political parties had the latitude to campaign all over Turkey (campaigns that has been marred only by attacks toward the HDP in very conservative regions), but also there has been an extremely large and popular civil society initiative to control the counting of the votes.

No bias has been discovered in these elections, discrediting largely all the alarming analyses that were made beforehand – a major achievement for a vibrant society, where the bond of society to a pluralistic, transparent and democratic electoral contest has been made very visible, even for those preferring to overlook the deep-rooted democratic traditions in Turkey. All over the periphery of Turkey, the situation is at best very gloomy, at worst terrible. Turkish democracy and stability is not a must for its own population, but it works as a counterweight to the terrible and violent developments all around.

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