The voters have warned the HDP, not punished
One of the two big losers of the election was the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). This party lost 15 percent of the votes it gained on June 7.
You should have read it in the papers for days and watched it on TV stations. Many analysts have interpreted the loss in HDP votes as “The Kurdish voter has punished this party heavily.”
As a matter of fact, figures do not confirm this diagnosis. Yes, the HDP lost votes in places it had gained votes before but the party continued to maintain its specific gravitas to a great extent in cities and towns where Kurds populate.
If we are to speak in football terms, the voter has said, I think, “If you do the same foul again, you will see a yellow card; if you go too far, here, the red card is ready also.”
How do I come to that?
Let us look at the numbers. First let’s start from Kurdish populated cities. I will start with a few examples in big cities.
The first one is Diyarbakır. The HDP, in 2011, received 419,000 votes in this city. On June 7, it increased its votes by more than 50 percent and reached 637,000 votes. Now this is down to 579,000 votes. There was a fall, but the HDP is still quite above the vote it got in 2011.
Let us look at Diyarbakır from a different angle, from the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) front. This party in 2011 received 218,000 votes in this city; it lost half of them on June 7, dropping to 112,000. Now it is up to 181,000 votes. There was an increase, yes, but the AK Party is still behind its 2011 level.
The AK Party’s situation is the same in other cities in the region. It had an increasing trend but in none of the cities was it able to reach its 2011 level; it is far but very far from its 2007 levels.
It is possible to say the opposite for the HDP, which lost votes almost everywhere, but these losses were not as serious as to send it back to its 2011 levels.
How much affect did terror have?
Another point we have been hearing from analysts since the evening of the election is that the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) was punished in the region by the voter.
Truly, in several districts in the region since July, autonomy was declared and clashes erupted due to that; trenches were dug, curfews were declared.
In all of these districts, as in the entire region, we see the HDP lost votes, but it is not correct to call these losses “dramatic.” The HDP is still gaining the votes of serious majorities in these districts.
If there were not such intense migrations because of the war environment, would the result have been different? It is hard to predict.
Well, what is the HDP’s situation in places where there is no Kurdish population, or scarce Kurdish population?
To be able to analyze this, I randomly picked a few Central Anatolian cities. For instance, in Çorum the HDP also lost votes but because its vote here was about 1.5 percent, the loss it experienced can only be measured in thousands. The situation is not any different in Sivas or other Central Anatolian cities.
What was the HDP’s situation in the Aegean? The HDP’s votes fell 1 percent in Manisa. In İzmir, its loss was bigger but it was able to gain two seats nevertheless. In Çanakkale, its scarce votes dropped a bit more; the same in Balıkesir. The HDP’s loss in Eskişehir was over 1 percent.
Well, where have the HDP’s votes gone? The two winners of the elections, the AK Party and Republican People’s Party (CHP), gained more than 5 million votes all over Turkey. These extra votes went to the AK Party at a rate of 90 percent. Most probably, those votes snatched from the HDP went to the AK Party.
Those voters which parted from the HDP and went to the CHP can only be traced in Tunceli. In this city, the HDP lost 4,000 votes compared to June 7 and the CHP gained 4,000 votes (the AK Party has also gained 1,500 votes but it looks as if they came from the MHP and smaller parties).
The most important outcome of the June 7 elections was that Kurdish voters united under the HDP predominantly. The HDP gained 6 million votes on June 7. According to my calculations, six out of every 10 Kurdish voters voted for the HDP. Today, the HDP is maintaining its power within Kurdish voters, with a slight drop, as it continues to gain 5.5 out of 10 Kurdish voters.
Considering that the most burning issue in Turkey is the Kurdish issue, one should not forget that the HDP is the representative of the Kurds on this matter.