What if the HDP fails to pass the election threshold?

Published 03.06.2015 23:49

If the HDP passes the election threshold on June 7, it will not be easy to make the PKK sit down at the reconciliation process table and agree to a cease-fire

From the very beginning we have been saying that the number of votes the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) will get will decide the arithmetic of Parliament. If the HDP exceeds the 10 percent election threshold it is quite likely that we will face a weak one-party government, maybe not even such a one-party government and the country will hold an early election. If the HDP fails to pass the election threshold, a powerful one-party government will rule the country. The opposition, from A to Z, wants the HDP to pass the election threshold, which is understandable. The conservative intellectuals who are not bothered by the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) practices want the HDP to exceed the threshold. According to their opinion, if the HDP fails to pass the threshold, the reconciliation process will have no addressee and the process will enter a deadlock. But is this really the case? This point is important and it requires a comprehensive analysis. Let us say at the very beginning what we are going to say at the end: It is true that the HDP's exclusion from Parliament will have a negative impact on the reconciliation process. But there is more. The HDP's entrance into Parliament costs more than its exclusion. Let us expand on this.

The reconciliation process did not begin because the opposition asked for it. For a long time, the process continued through meetings between the National Intelligence Organization (MİT) and the PKK's incarcerated leader Abdullah Öcalan in the İmralı Island prison. Within this framework, the reconciliation process is an equation consisting of the state, Öcalan and the PKK leadership in northern Iraq's Qandil Mountains. The HDP was later included in the reconciliation process within the scope of the meetings with Öcalan. The leading actor of this process is not the HDP; it is the supporting accessory of the process. The psychology that initiated the reconciliation process came from the state. It was the strong political will behind the process. This political will has widespread public support. In July 2012, Leyla Zana, one of the distinguished figures of Kurdish politics, said: "[Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan will resolve this issue." Öcalan was convinced about the process because of the determined posture of the political will. When the outlawed PKK was effectively beaten after its siege of Şemdinli in 2012, the self-confidence of the organization was shaken and it sat down at the resolution table. However, the PKK never wanted a cease-fire. The reconciliation process can be sustained if there is a strong political will in Ankara, which is the only guarantor of the process.

What happened during the salvos Ankara got both from the interior and exterior proves what we have just said. The plan about the reconciliation process was the PKK's complete retreat from Turkey in September 2013 followed by a cease-fire. But the Gezi Park incidents delayed this process. The Dec. 17 process laid the retreat aside. What happened in Syria, the constitution of Kurdish cantons, and the Kobani events were the last straws in the deadlock in the reconciliation process. The PKK got confused and asked if Ankara was stumbling. Kurdistan Rgional Government (KRG) President Masoud Barzani's turning his concerned looks toward Ankara at the same time is a known fact. The matter is that if you are powerful, you are the center of charm. If you weaken, you lose your charm. Let us go back to the beginning. We said that if the HDP passed the election threshold, it is likely that we would face a weak one-party government. The fact that a man like Erdoğan, who risked his political career for the sake of the reconciliation process, is president may eradicate the weakness. But there is no guarantee of that. We can foresee that the PKK, whose self-confidence was boosted because of the Gezi incidents, Dec. 17 operations and developments in Syria, will speak pedantically and come up with new demands that will not comply with the spirit of the reconciliation process if the HDP passes the election threshold. If the HDP passes the election threshold on June 7, it will not be easy to make the PKK sit down at the reconciliation process table and agree to a cease-fire.

Yet, how a weak government can be strong enough to re-convince Turkish society about the process is a question. And the most important point is left undiscussed. A weak government means weak politics and empowerment of actors outside politics. Bureaucracy grows within such a context. The military, which has already given some signals, will begin to speak about security issues again and the media and businesses will attempt to determine Turkey's route once again. In order to understand the cost of weak politics, it is enough to look back to Turkey in the 1990s. Is there no cost of the HDP's exclusion from Parliament? Yes, there is. The streets may be set on fire. The HDP may attempt to establish regional Parliaments in the eastern and southeastern regions of the country. It may try to increase its influence through local governments. It may overstep and declare cantons in some places. Even though these are painful processes, if Ankara has a powerful political will, these costs can be managed and the reconciliation process may be put back on the track. What if the opposite happens? You think about that.

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