Many analysts are in agreement that the June 7 elections turned a new page in Turkish politics. From now on, coalitions take center stage as the most important truth of politics. For all of the political actors on stage, a coalition is a necessity, and it is expected to be a difficult process.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan gave Justice and Development Party (AK Party) chairman, interim Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, whose party came first in the elections, the task of forming the government. Because he does not have the possibility of forming an administration by himself, Davutoğlu must search for a coalition partner. Theoretically, he has three options before him: to form a coalition with either the Republican People's Party (CHP), Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) or Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), or ask one of these parties to provide support from the outside.
But, in practice, there are only two addresses that Davutoğlu will go to in order to form a coalition, not three. The AK Party is not thinking of forming a coalition with the HDP. AK Party management considers the HDP to be an unreliable partner due to the HDP's attitude during the reconciliation process. In truth, the AK Party formed alliances with the HDP on various issues during the reconciliation process. These alliances actually brought with it the formation of a negative opinion about the HDP in the AK Party. According to the AK Party, the HDP used the new political situation in Syria to sabotage the reconciliation process, which produced costs for the AK Party in the eyes of their voters. The AK Party considers the MHP's rise to possibly be in connection with the HDP's sabotage. For this reason, it absolutely does not consider a coalition with the HDP to be feasible. If the HDP's attitude change during the reconciliation process had not had the effect of increasing the MHP's votes in the election, the MHP could have been seen in the same frame as the HDP. And in this scenario, the CHP and MHP could have established the administration with the HDP.
While the HDP's attitude change during the reconciliation process may have provided it the opportunity to surpass the 10 percent election threshold and enter Parliament, it also obstructed any chance of the party being included in the equation of government formation. Today, neither the AK Party nor MHP wish to form a coalition with the HDP. This reduces the HDP's possibility of having any influence in Turkey's management processes.
As I said, there are two parties with whom the AK Party has a potential of forming a coalition, either the CHP or MHP. Most likely the AK Party will continue its meetings with both parties concurrently up to a certain point. The AK Party is expected to proceed with its coalition meetings in four phases. The first phase will be about the parties' principles, and the AK Party, CHP and MHP's main principles will be discussed in detail. The AK Party will manage this period concurrently with both parties. If an agreement is finalized, this will be transformed into the principles of the coalition.
In the second phase, the parties' promises during the election process will be examined. An agreement will be attempted to be made on economic, political, and legal promises. On this point, it will not just be the positive promises such as "higher wages for retirees" that the MHP and CHP brought that will be examined, but promises such as the re-examination of the Dec. 17 and Dec. 25 operation files will be brought up as well. Whichever party makes it to the next phase, will be the one with whom the AK Party will form a coalition. At this phase, coalition protocols will be enumerated and exit strategies will be emphasized. The fourth level will be the debate on the division of the administration, and which party will control which ministries will be opened for discussion.
Davutoğlu is demonstrating a fairly positive attitude on the point of establishing a coalition. He says that a coalition is possible with the CHP and MHP and that agreements are possible on basic commonalities.
In response, the CHP and MHP have taken up a partial and a completely confrontational stance, respectively. The MHP finds a coalition formed with the AK Party to be risky for itself. For this reason, it has said that an AK Party-CHP coalition would be better. In fact, the MHP is actually offering an AK Party-HDP coalition. The MHP's intention here is to show the AK Party and HDP as being close in order to obtain votes for itself from the AK Party. However, the MHP's phobia of the HDP is distancing it from the administration processes and pushing it into a political constriction.
For this reason, it is difficult for the AK Party to form a coalition with the MHP. What about the CHP? Although it could be argued that in the short term a coalition could be formed with the CHP, arguing that it would be long lasting is a stretch. There are two reasons for this. The first is the CHP's multi-faceted structure and CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's inability to influence this multipart structure. The second is the difference of opinion between the CHP and AK Party on fundamental issues of Turkish politics including, but not limited to, religion-state relations, civilian-military relations, reconciliation process and foreign policy.
No matter the result, we must say that a new and difficult period has begun in Turkish politics.
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