The negotiation power of the AKP and CHP
Some coalition options have been exhausted before they were even tried, like the three–party combination that included the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
Some are agonizing even if the option is not totally dead, like the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and MHP formula.
Even if weakened, the only serious coalition hope left is a grand coalition between the AKP and the Republican People’s Party (CHP).
Yet, a big danger awaits this option. That is the possibility that the sides will take action based on their wrong assumptions about the other’s advantages and disadvantages.
If they cannot rightly analyze their negotiation power, I am afraid this option will explode even on its the first trial.
All negotiation exercises I hear start with this key question:
Whose hand is more constrained: that of AKP leader [Ahmet] Davutoğlu or that of CHP leader [Kemal] Kılıçdaroğlu?
Mental exercises based on that question are problematic from several perspectives.
First of all, an approach based on “whom will benefit more from a coalition/who needs to form a coalition,” is problematic, as it accepts party interest to be above anything else.
Shouldn’t the right approach be “what will benefit Turkey the most/which coalition will be the most beneficial to the people?”
Second, the answers given to the key question are not well thought about; they are based on flimsy assumptions.
What is roughly said is this:
“President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan wants early elections. In addition, he might take an action by approaching the AKP party congress to change leaders. Davutoğlu is under heavy pressure and his only way out is a coalition. Therefore, he will make every compromise. Kılıçdaroğlu should know that and play accordingly. He should not play it down.”
Yet, the assumption is wrong and the analysis is wrong. Erdoğan will neither scrap Davutoğlu nor will Davutoğlu turn his back on Erdoğan. It is against the nature of their relationship.
And it is certain that the AKP constituency is not enthusiastic for a partnership with the CHP. If Kılıçdaroğlu will condition himself to sit at a table with someone who is forced to form a coalition, a disappointment in the first minute will be unavoidable.
Sharing the government with the CHP is to take a leadership that the AKP constituency will not be fond of. It will not be an easy decision for Davutoğlu. It is not something he will jump on immediately.
If he were to ask me; he should not expect an interlocutor that is ready to sacrifice. The encounter will be tough.
With a similar rough mentality, it is said that Kılıçdaroğlu’s last chance, his only way out, is to jump on a government train.
Because there is no probability of scoring better in an early election. How many times will he have such chance? Who can guarantee a second chance if this one flips away?
He cannot maintain his seat as a party leader with the performance he showed at the ballot box. And as he knows he cannot sit there comfortably, Kılıçdaroğlu will jump on the worst coalition ticket offered by the AKP.
The CHP cadres are hungry for the government. They are waiting for good news.
Again the assumption is wrong and so is the analysis. If Kılıçdaroğlu forms a coalition with the AKP, he would not take any risk lower than being unable to increase its votes in an election. The CHP constituency is resentful, let alone running to the arms of a government partnership with the AKP. It cannot even be said they are ready psychologically to sit at the table. He would prefer to be made accountable for a loss of one point than convince his constituency for a partnership with the AKP.
If he asks me, Davutoğlu should not expect an interlocutor that will jump on his offer.