Ballot box ahoy!

Ballot box ahoy!

During his abysmally unconstitutional election campaign before June 7, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan asked “his nation” for 400 seats in parliament. Instead, “his nation” gave him 258. He does not want to get the message.  

There is a politico-mathematical justification for Mr. Erdoğan’s push for renewed elections. From the president’s viewpoint, 258 = 243 = 264 = 273. He does not have anything to lose. He miscalculates, though, that 276 would be the happy ending. In reality, “winning 276” may mean that the party will be hostage to 276 people who would be constantly demanding ministerial posts, government contracts, bureaucratic appointments for relatives and friends; 276 people looking into the prime minister’s eyes with the “do-I-need-to-remind-you-what-happens-if-I-defect?” looks.  

In any election later this year more votes will probably flee the ruling party toward, ironically, both the nationalists and the Kurds. But there is no credible data or indication why there should be a significant rise in government seats, let alone a constitutional majority. A quick coalition deal after the planned autumn election should not come as a surprise as we cannot go to polls forever, or until the election results please President Erdoğan.  

Mr. Erdoğan, being real and himself as always, blames the “258 seats instead of 400” on a plot to stop the rise and rise of Turkey. Echoing that view, Health Minister Mehmet Müezzinoğlu said he understood why Germany, France and Israel do not like the idea of Mr. Erdoğan “the president with executive (read: almost endless) powers,” but, he laments that he does not understand why the social democratic and nationalist opposition parties do not like the idea. If he was not joking, the minister probably needs a check-up.  

In Messrs. Erdoğan’s and Müezzinoğlu’s logic there are evil powers, including not only Germany, France and Israel (and the Kurds, of course), that do not want Mr. Erdoğan to enjoy executive powers, that want chaos in Turkey and that want to stop Turkey’s rise. Conspirators, in other words, who are hostile to Turkey and Turks. That, however, judging by the June 7 election results, means nearly 60 percent of Turkish citizens are conspiring against their own country. Nearly 50 million people who prefer chaos in their country, who conspire with the evil forces of Germany, France and Israel… That thinking is hardly surprising when it comes from Islamist politicians who love election victories but hate defeats.  

Too bad, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s party has lost its parliamentary majority after 13 years in power. Otherwise its lawmakers could always pass a law that says one vote for the governing party should count as 1.5 votes while all other votes count as one.  

Another idea could be to radicalize a Greek election law: The party that comes first in any election wins extra 150 seats in parliament (50 in the Greek system).  

Why not count an elected president’s single vote as 1 million votes since he is the supreme leader? And the prime minister’s as 500,000 votes? There are always democratic means to improve democracies. I do not think President Erdoğan would consider going as far as banning the opposition at this stage, but such restraint could not be guaranteed if renewed elections do not produce the result he does not hide his craving for.  

Mr. Erdogan’s is not a fight for power, or simply more power. His is an existential war. Before June 7, he always had the majority of Turks on his side. Today, his [and his men’s] childish reasoning implies nearly 50 million Turks who prefer chaos over a glorious victory for him. He must learn to respect the democratic choices of nearly 50 million people who prefer chaos in Turkey and conspire with Germany, France and Israel for that goal. Unless he is considering declaring those chaos-loving Turks unfit to vote.