Kurdish bid in, MHP out of the picture

Kurdish bid in, MHP out of the picture

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s statement on July 7 in the eastern city of Van about the continuation of the Kurdish peace bid by the Justice and Development Party (AK Parti) government has taken the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) out of coalition scenarios, according to both AK Parti and Republican People’s Party (CHP) sources speaking to the Hürriyet Daily News.

Despite the fact that Davutoğlu expressed a condition on the continuation of the Kurdish peace bid, which has been effectively frozen since the start of the June 7 general election campaign in April, this was the first time since the election that he has explicitly signaled it will not stop. The condition he mentioned is for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) to make the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) completely withdraw its armed groups from Turkey, as previously promised. That could be rhetorical, because putting an end to the peace process was the MHP’s prime condition for starting coalition talks with the AK Parti.

“Considering the voices from our party organization, especially in the east and southeast, as well as public order, Prime Minister Davutoğlu thought that making this statement about the continuation of the Kurdish bid has become vital for us and the country,” said one ranking AK Parti source who asked not to be named.

The latest statement by MHP chairman Devlet Bahçeli and other party officials about the CHP has exhausted the last hopes within the CHP that any political combination going forward with the MHP was possible, according to a ranking CHP source who asked not to be named. 

“Also, as the CHP, we have never thought that the AKP [AK Parti] could sacrifice the Kurdish bid for a short-term coalition with the MHP. It is vital for the country,” the source added. “The CHP thinks dialogue with the PKK for a political solution to the Kurdish problem is necessary, but the process should be more transparent and on parliamentary grounds. I believe we can come to terms with both the AKP and the HDP on that issue,” the CHP source added.

Following Davutoğlu’s statement yesterday, HDP co-chair Figen Yüksekdağ said her party was “open to direct or indirect proposals” for a coalition government. That was the clearest signal from the HDP since the election, and perhaps could be read as a response to Davutoğlu’s signal closing the doors on solutions involving the MHP. 

These developments are not enough to say that a “grand coalition” between the AK Parti and the CHP is near, or an AK Parti government supported by the HDP, or another election in November, but the political atmosphere is now more optimistic than before Davutoğlu made his statement in Van.

Now, as the formation of the parliamentary speaker’s administrative board is expected to be completed by tomorrow, July 9, there will be no obstacle left to President Tayyip Erdoğan giving the mandate to form a government to Davutoğlu. The AK Parti source said that if Erdoğan does that before Davutoğlu departs for his visit to Bosnia on July 10, the appointments from other parties could be fixed over the weekend and official contacts could finally start next week.