What the HDP victory tells us

PINAR KANDEMIR
ISTANBUL
Published 08.06.2015 01:34
Updated 08.06.2015 10:52

The initial results of the Sunday's election suggest that a single-party government may not be possible, which would be seen as the only way to go further toward a new Turkey with a new governmental system and a new civil constitution. The percentage of the vote that each party got in this election is directly related with Turkey's performance during the next four years. For the first time in the last 13 years, it is time to check what other political parties got in this election rather than only focusing on the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) victory. Not skipping the fact that having been in power for 13 years, the AK Party is still received the majority of the vote and it is the party's 11th election victory with an almost 15 percent difference over the closest opposition party, but it is still a disappointing result for most AK Party supporters who thought of the 49 percent that the AK Party received in the 2011 general elections.

The striking surprise of this election is the result that the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) received. Although various possible scenarios on the significance of the HDP's situation were mentioned before the elections by most analysts, no one was sure about the percent of the vote they would get. At the end of the day, although the pro-Kurdish HDP's decision to run as a party rather than with individual candidates was quite a big risk for them, and this risk was taken by HDP Co-Chair Selahattin Demirtaş as a long-term investment, now it seems like the strategy worked out successfully and they even surprised themselves with the result they got.Clearly, the tangible success of the HDP is a conclusion of the ambitious coalition that has united around the pro-Kurdish HDP against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. With the anti-AK Party coalition, which was surprisingly heterogeneous with a range of mainstream Turkish media, reputable academics, journalists and public figures, Demirtaş was presented as a pop star and his election campaign was run and managed by different groups with different strategies and motivations. Demirtaş was supported by different political groups with the motivation of putting Erdoğan at a disadvantage, which in return ended up with a campaign targeting the president. While the HDP was applying a more radical stance in eastern Turkey, it adopted a more moderate language in the west that will eradicate the question on the continuity of the peace process.

The answer is that not only the pro-Kurdish HDP, but also the Turkish Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) significantly increased their shares of the vote, which says a lot to the AK Party about the policy they followed in terms of the Kurdish reconciliation process. Whatever the result will be, this election has seen the last chance for the opposition to resist the "New Turkey" project, which included a resolution for the Kurdish issue, and finally there is a hope for them, for a while at least. Let them enjoy this hope. Constructing a new Turkey will not start tomorrow, they gain a bit more time, but there is no way to backtrack from this ideal in the eyes of the majority of Turkish people from now on. The normalization process has started and it is now too late to pull it back.

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