Nothing but turbulence awaits Turkey

Nothing but turbulence awaits Turkey

Turkey is going through extraordinary times. Its democracy is being whittled down for the sake of the political interests of a certain individual and party. The war with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) continues to take the lives of soldiers and policemen. There is no indication of when this whirlwind, set in motion after the June elections - which saw the Justice and Development Party (AKP) loose its parliamentary majority - will end.

Meanwhile efforts aimed at criminalizing the leaders of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) as “PKK terrorists” continue apace, despite the fact that it is a legal party which got 13 percent of the votes in the June election – thus upsetting President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the AKP’s plans.

At the same time, Kurds in the street are being attacked across the country by rightwing mobs, and their shops are being ransacked and torched in what many are referring to as Turkey’s “Kristallnacht.”  

Similarly, media outlets, whose coverage of issues angers Erdoğan and the AKP, are also being targeted for allegedly being “PKK propagandists,” by stick and stone wielding AKP mobs headed by a firebrand AKP deputy who is said to be a friend of Erdoğan’s son Bilal.

Meanwhile the authorities continue their witch-hunt against what they refer to as “members of the Parallel terrorist organization,” meaning sympathizers of Fethullah Gülen, the U.S.-based Islamic preacher who was once Erdoğan’s closest ally but has since become his political archenemy. 

As if it was not already sufficiently imbued with nonsense, the fight against the “Parallel organization” has started to take on absurd dimensions. The latest people to be questioned for allegedly being members of the group include Ishak Alaton, one of the country’s leading industrialists, and Memduh Boydak, another leading industrialist from Kayseri.

In addition to this Aydın Doğan, the head of the Doğan Group - which includes the Hürriyet Daily News and daily Hürriyet, which was recently attacked by an AKP mob – is under investigation based on a highly suspect document published by daily Güneş, one of the AKP’s media mouthpieces. Doğan is accused of allegedly allowing his media to intentionally publish uncensored pictures of fallen soldiers, while censuring pictures of dead PKK terrorists. 

The AKP’s opponents are united in their belief that all of this has one purpose: To ensure that the AKP regains its parliamentary majority in early elections to be held on Nov. 1, so that it can serve Erdoğan’s leadership ambitions.

The only way that can happen is if the HDP is forced below the 10 percent electoral threshold, thus enabling all its votes to go automatically to the party that garners the most votes, which in many districts will be the AKP.

There are even AKP deputies, disappointed now for having been sidelined by Erdoğan supporters in the party, who feel this is a long shot, and expect the results of the November elections to mirror the results of the June elections, give or take a few deputies here and there.

So what happens then? Erdoğan will clearly lose if the AKP fails to regain its parliamentary majority. Will they continue to cling on to power then on the grounds that the country is going through extraordinary times, requiring someone strong at the helm? If so, will this not be “coup d’état’ by other means?  

Even so, how will Erdoğan and the AKP cope with the social turmoil and violence that will have been unleashed in that event? The most likely answer is “by anti-democratic means that effectively turn the country into a police state.” But what if the AKP regains its parliamentary majority by a slim margin? This will mean a weak government that will also not be able to change the chaotic situation prevailing today. 

Whichever way one looks at it, the future promises nothing but more political, economic and social turbulence for Turkey.