Turkish elections are over - What now?

Published 13.06.2015 00:00
Updated 03.08.2015 14:33

Turkey went to the polls last Sunday to determine the new administration. The elections happened with a participation rate of 86 percent. The result of the election was that four parties were able to enter Parliament. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) received 40.9 percent, the Republican People's Party (CHP) received 25 percent, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) received 18 percent, and the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) received 12 percent of the votes.

Although the AK Party, in power for 13 years, came out first, it was not able to attain the majority necessary to become the ruling administration by itself. When comparing the AK Party's vote with past parliamentary elections, there was a 9 percent decrease.

An interesting feature of this election was that the AK Party had, for the first time since entering the stage of politics, indexed its own success to the failure of another party. However, the HDP was able to surpass the threshold and thus enter Parliament, obstructing the AK Party's chance at becoming the administration on its own.

While the CHP, representing the Kemalist status quo, came in second in the election, it was not able to become an alternative administrative candidate. The CHP was barely able to protect the votes it had received in the past elections. This situation brought about a serious critique of the CHP's management. This was particularly caused by the fact that the CHP's management had been trying to put itself forward with populist promises aimed at the parts of society that benefited the least from the economic growth that Turkey has experienced since 2000. With these elections, the CHP left behind the "politics of fear" directed at Kurds and Islamists that it had followed previously. It brought economic promises to the fore. Despite this, it was not able to rise above the vote percentage it had received before.

Coming to the MHP, which finished the elections in third place. Representing radical Turkish nationalism, the MHP preferred to use discourse that was similar to their previous ones on the election campaign trail. It preferred a more reactionary attitude than the other parties. The MHP's fundamental strategy was to show the AK Party administration and the reconciliation process, which the AK Party had been carrying out, was the reason for the rise of Kurdish nationalism, and to place itself as the alternative to this rising Kurdish nationalism. With a 50-year history in Turkey's politics, the MHP was able to attain a level of success this time around, and increase its votes by 5 percent compared to previous elections.

Finishing fourth, the HDP was shown as the "star" of this election. The fundamental reason why the HDP was placed in the center of this parliamentary election was undoubtedly due to its obstruction of the AK Party single-handedly forming the administration. Taking its place on the stage of politics by representing Kurdish nationalism and, in private, the armed Kurdish PKK, the HDP did not just receive votes from Kurds. Sectors of society who wanted to end the AK Party's rule and who had stayed away from the PKK or the HDP so far also voted for the HDP.

From now on, the most basic question facing Turkish politics is what happens next?

Turkey has been led by the AK Party since 2002. There is a perception of stability among people, thought to be caused by the country being led by a single party. Accompanying this is the negative perception of coalition governments that marked the 1970s and 1990s in people's memories.

Despite this, there are voices saying that the current picture can lead to a political compromise in Turkey. However, those who say this are speaking of a coalition forming among the three parties, not about the AK Party who came out first by receiving more than 40 percent of the votes. In this way, they are speaking about a culture of compromise where the AK Party is left out.

Although Turkey seems tired of political struggle, the current political tableau is not permissive for the formation of a political structure that will be stable for the coming four years.

Although the AK Party leaders are saying that they are willing to form a coalition, the other parties do not want to enter into a coalition with the AK Party. In this situation, it is expected that the CHP will enter into a coalition with the other two parties. Before the election, these three parties united on the grounds of being anti-AK Party and anti-Erdoğan. However, this pre-election coalition will be useless when it comes to managing Turkey's societal, political, cultural, international and economic problems. Because what is necessary from now on is a joint vision. And this kind of joint vision among any of the actors on the Turkish political stage is currently non-existent.

We will be faced with dozens of coalition attempts in the coming days. But my prediction is that these coalitions will fail, and Turkey will immediately go to early elections.

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