It seems that HDP Co-Chair Demirtaş's supportive statements about the latest terrorist attacks organized by the PKK is going to reflect significantly on its votes, which will probably push the party under the threshold in the next snap election
The 2015 parliamentary elections, which took place on June 7, did not lead to the formation of a coalition government. For weeks, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) held negotiations with the Republican People's Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) to no avail. The 45-day countdown will end on Sunday and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will quite possibly next week call for early elections. Since the country will host a G20 summit on Nov. 16, there is a good chance that the vote will be held on Oct. 24, Nov. 1 or Nov. 8. It remains to be seen whether early elections will alter the status quo. According to pollsters, however, not much has changed since June 7.
The AK Party received 40.87 percent of the vote on June 7 and experienced a notable decline in popularity. Part of the electorate had withdrawn their support in order to send a message to the leadership and, with Turkey's stability at risk, some of them have ostensibly changed their minds. The party's reconciliatory tone since the elections, however, has been a welcome development and one of the main reasons why they currently have about 43 percent. There is clearly an upward trend here, but it is not enough.
Pollsters claim that the CHP's share of the vote, 24.95 percent, has not changed notably over the past two months. To turn the tables on the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), the CHP leadership will most probably build a campaign around democracy and peace - concepts that they hope can win back what the HDP stole from them on June 7. As such, there is a zero-sum game between the CHP and HDP.
The MHP, meanwhile, has experienced a 1 percent setback since June 7, mostly due to its attitude toward coalition talks, which has been Chairman Devlet Bahçeli's own approach as opposed to the entire leadership's position. It has been a thinly veiled secret that leading MHP figures were shocked when Bahçeli delivered an address to his supporters on election night and announced that they would not pursue a spot in a coalition government. According to sources, more than a few MHP executives who pushed for a partnership with the AK Party have complained about the chairman's unwillingness to seek compromise. Others believe that the MHP base has some complaints of its own. Facing serious challenges on the campaign trail, Bahçeli might opt to capitalize on the most recent wave of terrorist attacks and anti-Erdoğan sentiments among the electorate.
Finally, the HDP has disappointed a lot of voters by failing to take a stand against terrorism since the parliamentary elections. Although the electorate rewarded the party's emphasis on appealing to a nationwide audience, the HDP leadership has been unable to distance itself from the PKK. In the face of cold-blooded murders, the HDP has kept its silence, which pushed them back to the fringes and has already caused a 1 percent setback in their popular support.
At this point, only two things could alter the status quo: Either the AK Party will make a comeback to reclaim its parliamentary majority or the HDP will lose enough votes to fall below the 10 percent national election threshold. If the AK Party makes necessary changes to build a new platform on economic reform and concrete proposals it might win the majority of seats in Parliament. The important thing is to abandon the notion that "the people will vote for us anyway" and take necessary steps to ensure election security in eastern and southeastern provinces where PKK militants have traditionally strong armed voters into supporting certain candidates. At the same time, the HDP leadership runs the risk of falling below the threshold by opting to side with the PKK at a time when terrorist attacks shake the nation, which they seek to outweigh with anti-Erdoğan rhetoric. Time will tell what lies ahead.