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SEMİH İDİZ > The AKP has already lost the elections

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Whatever the results of the March 30 elections, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) is very likely to end up in the minority. Not that it will come out last or anything. In fact it will probably come out on top. But it will not get the 50 percent it is relying on to be able to feel as strong and invincible as it once appeared to be.

The AKP will get something under 50 percent of the votes, and it is that which will make it the minority, even if it gets most of the votes as a party. Angry protests from AKP officials on hearing this, as they underline the fact that they won the elections, will also be pointless. That win will not alter the fact that they are no longer the majority.

The AKP has only itself to blame for this seemingly skewed understanding of the situation. It is, after all, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his ministers who have gone on interminably about the 50 percent of the votes they got in the last elections. It is also they, with their simplistic “winner take all” understanding of democracy, who have been behaving as if this 50 percent makes them a majority and gives them the authority to do more or less whatever they like.

Having turned pluralistic democracy into a clear-cut “us and the rest” situation, the AKP will no longer be able to claim to be the “voice of the nation,” which of course it never was, when the collective vote of the other parties is over 50 percent.

Looked at from its own understanding of democracy, the AKP can, therefore, even before the elections are held, be said to be the loser when it gets 40 to 45 percent of the vote. Should its overall vote fall below 40 percent, on the other hand, one can confidently say that will be the beginning of the end for the AKP.

As many are predicting a domestic “settling of accounts” these days, the AKP is openly and avowedly preparing itself for much more turbulence in Turkey. This, however, will also work ultimately to expedite the end for the AKP. Apart from the most committed followers, many who vote for the AKP in these local elections will see better, before the 2015 general elections, that all the AKP promises is instability.

Meanwhile, another key factor that will work against Erdoğan and the AKP is also of their own making.

This is their facility to increase the number of their enemies as a result of their vindictive and authoritarian ways. They have even created sworn enemies out of formerly allied Islamists. It is not longer just the “Kemalists” they have to contend with.

Then there are the thousands of civil servants and policemen who have been shuffled from one place to another after the Dec. 17 corruption scandal for allegedly being members of some shady “parallel state.” With so many enemies, Erdoğan and his ministers are unlikely to be able to sleep peacefully, even if they win the local elections. One nasty revelation after another from those quarters will hound them, and as the government strikes back against those involved, the country will move from crisis to crisis in this continuing war.

The economy, on the other hand, can take only so much before the adverse effects of all this instability bites even more into people’s pockets. It will also scare off foreign and local investors who are now maintaining a “wait and see” stance to try and figure out what is happening in Turkey and what this means for the next five to 10 years.

Those who are close to the AKP will claim that painting such a dark picture, laced with gloomy predictions, is rubbish, and demand to see evidence that substantiate these claims. That, however, is where the problem starts. The evidence is already there, and of their own making, but they refuse to see it.

March/18/2014

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