New opposition tactics against Erdoğan-Davutoğlu
All three Turkish opposition parties in parliament have ignored President Tayyip Erdoğan’s surprising public objection to the resignation of National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Chief Hakan Fidan, who answered to a call by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu to become a candidate for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) in the June 7 parliamentary elections.
There are a few reasons for this.
The first one, as Hasip Kaplan of the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) said, is that ahead of every long trip (like the six-day Latin America trip started on Feb. 8), Erdoğan likes to make a sensational remark that alters the political agenda from the issues sensitive to the AK Parti governments until his return.
The second, as Oktay Vural of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) said, is that opposition parties believe that under Erdoğan, Davutoğlu and Fidan, the MİT has been used as a “party instrument” for intelligence-gathering against opponents, rather than national security priorities.
The third, as Akif Hamzaçebi of the social democratic main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) said, is that the opposition parties suspect Erdoğan’s move could have been made to defy claims that he is an autocrat whose decisions cannot be resisted, and to credit Davutoğlu as a leader who can make his own decisions independent of Erdoğan.
The fourth is that the opposition parties may have decided to take a “let them eat themselves” kind of attitude, sensing what could be the highest-level clash of power within the AK Parti throughout its 12-year-plus rule. They are therefore not getting involved and sticking with their own agendas.
So, in the parliamentary group meetings on Jan. 10, no opposition parties touched on the inner power problem, as brought up by the president himself. Instead, all of them continued to slam the government over the controversial security bill, claiming that it could lead to a dictatorship-like administration in Turkey, further restraining personal liberties.
The bill was supposed to be voted on Feb. 10, yesterday, after being postponed. But Davutoğlu decided to postpone it once again until next week, giving no justified reason. That caused speculations: Was it delayed because Davutoğlu thought he could not control the AK Party group while Erdoğan was away, or was it related to the ongoing talks with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which has threatened the government and said the new security bill could kill the peace process dialogue?
Opposition parties feel happy this time about not falling into Erdoğan’s “agenda trap” as the country heads toward the elections in June. Yesterday, the first line toward the elections was over: The deadline for public employees to resign in order to be named as a parliamentary candidate. In fact, that issue was the source of the row that broke out over Fidan’s resignation.
According to whispers in Ankara’s political backstage, further tactics could be deployed by the opposition parties in order to not give up against the AK Parti’s dominating position in the coming elections.