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MURAT YETKİN >Only two options left in Turkish political scene

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Before entering the three-day Ramadan Bayram, the Muslim holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan (Eid-al-Fitr in Arabic), Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has completed his “exploratory” talks with the leaders of other three parties for the next stage of coalition talks.

During a live show on the news channel NTV on the evening of July 15, Davutoğlu answered questions of journalists, including the author of this piece about the possible trajectory of the talks. He responded that progress with the social democratic Republican People’s Party (CHP) is almost the only thing he got in his hands for a possible partnership with his conservative Justice and Development Party (AK Parti). “It doesn’t mean that the doors are totally closed to the Nationalist Movement Party [MHP]” Davutoğlu said, “But we will give the priority to talks with the CHP right after Bayram.”

It is true that the MHP has not closed its doors totally, but everyone in the political backstage in Ankara also know that the MHP does want to stay out of government or an early election or a re-election. An AK Parti-MHP coalition is not really a sustainable and viable option, despite the fact it still is one on paper.

Davutoğlu rules out any partnership with the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), despite saying he observed a moderation in the tone of HDP speech regarding the Kurdish issue and relations with the government.

The picture leaves the Turkish political scene with only two options in practice: Either a Grand Coalition between the AK Parti and the CHP or going to another election.

That would most probably be a re-election rather than an early one, because the constitution suggests that if none of the parties will be able to form a government in 45 days after the first mandate was given by the president (which was on July 9), the elections could be repeated.

Despite his statements urging a coalition government, almost in everyone in political backstage of Ankara believes that the real aim of President Tayyip Erdoğan has been to take the country to another election in order to give another chance to the AK Parti to re-gain its power to form a single party government. Erdoğan could be right in trying to stay away from a coalition government since it could limit his moves to direct the daily politics unlike an AK Parti government.

Davutoğlu underlines he was sincere in his desire for a coalition, especially with the CHP, since it could enable a broad-based government, which could be good for the economy and also provide a new and more democratic constitution, including an acceptable solution to the Kurdish problem. But he is well aware of the “sensitivities” of President, his political leader who were among the founding triumvirate of the AK Parti.

Under the circumstances, it seems the probability of a re-election is currently higher than the probability of a Grand Coalition among the only two options in Turkey’s political scene.

July/17/2015

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