Guess, who has won the elections in Turkey?
Now that the people of Turkey have voted, we now have to decide what they have said. The first question: Who was victorious in the elections in Turkey last Sunday, March 30? The short answer first:
There is no decisive victor in last Sunday’s elections. As for the winners, I opt for the MHP and BDP. Let me explain why.
First of all, the elections have shown Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) still has a strong showing all around the country. The AKP received a minimum of 15% of votes all around the country and a minimum of 20% of votes in all provinces except Tunceli, Şırnak and Iğdır. If all politics are local as noted by Tip O’Neill years ago, Erdoğan still has the baseline support of the necessary locals all around the country, I have to say. So what have the voters voted for? Stability, I presume. The lower middle class, grassroots supporters of the AKP just do not want see sweeping changes without being assured they will not lose out financially. Does that mean they just do not care about the graft allegations? They do care, but they just would like to be assured of the money in their pockets first. That is the first lesson that I draw from the election results.
The second lesson is that it is not going to be possible for Erdoğan to govern in the way he governed until today. The election system changed before the last election and the jurisdiction area of the municipalities has been enlarged to overlap state administrative borders in 30 provinces out of 81. So in Ankara, mayoral elections, for example, both rural and urban areas had a say in choosing the mayor.
In these provinces the first level of local government will be provincial metropolitan municipalities, which are subdivided into district municipalities. Moreover, in these 30 provinces, the change in the system resulted with the closure of special provincial administration and the elected provincial council, a type of local government body peculiar to Turkey headed by the appointed governor representing the state. In the remaining 51 provinces, the old system continues to exist. That makes it hard to get the national vote of each political party. The right way now is to take into account the provincial council election results in the 51 provinces and the district municipal council election results in the 30 metropolitan provinces, so as to eliminate the mayor effect in voting behavior. The election system requires the election of both the metropolitan mayor and district mayors through separate ballots. Due to provincial council and district municipality council elections, it has become easier to approximate general elections.
According to this, last Sunday, the AKP was 43%, CHP 26%, MHP 17% and BDP 6%. If this were general elections in the same provinces, let me give you a preliminary result: the MHP would be doubled to around 97 MPs due to the shifting of votes from the AKP to MHP. That means the MHP is the clear winner in the elections. The CHP became a serious contender in all metropolitan provinces. I do have to note, however, their MP group in Parliament is not to be changed in terms of its numbers. The number of BDP MPs could also increase 50% according to this showing at the polls. Guess who is losing MPs with all those to gain more? So if you look at the results from this angle, the voters have asked Erdoğan not to run a one man shop anymore.
The third take for me is the BDP showing in 10+1 provinces of Turkey. Now I think we have Northern Kurdistan on the map. This clearly is a victory for the BDP and Mr. Öcalan. Surviving in Middle East politics for more than 30 years definitely brings wisdom and strategic depth, I have to conclude. Now is the time for Turks and Kurds to find a common ground around a more democratic constitution for the country. Last time we tried in 2012, we just could not have done so. Why? Just check the pattern of shifting votes from the AKP to MHP. The shift is obvious in Eastern and Central Anatolia, where Turkish nationalism always rules. And one more note: Whoever controls the Anatolian Plateau controls Turkish politics.
I see two winners in this election: the BDP and MHP. Kurdish and Turkish nationalism, I have to note. Let’s hope for the best.