Will Bahçeli’s negationist policies work?

Will Bahçeli’s negationist policies work?

When I sat down to pen this article, the third round of voting for to elect the new parliament speaker was about to finish.

But actually the earlier statements of Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli turned the vote into a formality.

The MHP started out by saying “I will not vote for the candidate of Peoples’ Democratic Party [HDP].” Then it changed to “the Republican People’s Party [CHP] should vote for our former joint presidential candidate Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu.” In the end the MHP said “If our candidate does not make it into the fourth round, we will use empty votes.”

There could only be one result of this policy: The Justice and Development Party (AKP) candidate would win in the final round.

The opposition, despite holding a majority in parliament, thus gifted the parliament speaker position to the AKP - thanks to Bahçeli. 

Let me recall that actually it was MHP that disrupted the coalition government in which it was a partner before 2002; it was Bahçeli’s insistence for early elections back then that brought the AKP to power. Once again, the MHP is now in a position to do the AKP a favor.

That’s possible. We can’t criticize Bahçeli over this.

At the end of the day, he is leading a party. The organs of the party trust him and find his strategy to be the right one. It seems that the deputies of his party also consider this policy to be the right one, since they voted in that direction.

But history does not suggest that people with “I’m against everything” stances end up with a smile on their face.

Politics is about solving problems. It is about “positive” action. Democratic consensus is necessary to produce joint solutions to problems; in fact, the very existence of parliament is about providing this consensus.

But it is clear that Bahçeli has chosen “being in the opposition” as the only policy. 

So it looks like Turkey will unavoidably go to an early election.

On the one side President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s ambitions and on the other hand the existence of an opposition that lacks the skill to reconcile will lead to that outcome.

We will see in that unavoidable early election whether Bahçeli has done right or wrong.

The ruling that the governor of Istanbul should read

The Istanbul governor has explained his decision to disperse the LGBT rally to HDP deputy Filiz Kerestecioğlu.

“We tolerate other things, but that can’t be the case for this,” he said.

I don’t exactly know what he means by “other things.” Actually, I don’t recall the Istanbul Governor’s Office showing tolerance for any demonstration or protest rally whatsoever - apart from the demonstrations of Islamic groups, of course! Those demonstrations are not dispersed by the police; the governor opts to abide by the constitution, laws, and court rulings.

The governor should read the Constitutional Court’s ruling, dated March 25, 2015, on Osman Erbil:

“Pluralism, tolerance and respect for others’ views and conviction is an inseparable part of a democratic society. In a pluralist democracy, as much as it is impossible to argue that the views of the majority should always prevail, the protection of the views of the minority and opponents - and protecting their expression - demonstrate respect for democratic principles. Protecting the views of the minority, even when it is provocative or appalling as far as the majority is concerned, is a requirement of tolerance and a democratic society.”

Even if the governor found “them” appalling, he had to respect their right to assembly.