Erdoğan delaying the coalition process for his own game

Erdoğan delaying the coalition process for his own game

It’s been a month since Turkey concluded parliamentary elections that took away the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) 13 years of self-rule and instead obliged political parties to share power. 

The Supreme Election Board (YSK) announced the final results on June 18 and 550 lawmakers took their oaths on June 23, marking the official commencement of legislative power. The parliament elected its new speaker on July 1, nearly accomplishing all procedures in the post-election term. 

The legislative power is there ready to function but President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is yet to deliver the mandate to form the government to the winner of the polls, AKP chairman Ahmet Davutoğlu. According to Turkish laws, Erdoğan could give the mandate as soon as either the YSK announced the final results or the lawmakers took their oaths. 

But Erdoğan is seemingly delaying the process on purpose which, for many, stands as evidence of his plans to carry the country to early polls in order to try once again for a single-party government for the AKP. 

Although he has been relatively less visible in the post-election term, Erdoğan is still the political mastermind guiding the agenda. His controversial meeting with former social democrat leader Deniz Baykal was for example a sufficient move to meddle with the Republican People’s Party (CHP), thus sparking an in-house fight. 

Baykal’s failure to achieve his own ambitions, which had let him announce his candidacy for the parliament speaker position, put additional pressure on the tension in the CHP, as well as created a harsh quarrel with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). In the end, the opposition parties failed to compromise - once again - to elect the number-two of the Turkish state protocol and thus left the seat to the AKP. 

They have not only lost the seat but also psychological superiority to the AKP, who could more easily control the political discussions afterwards. Erdoğan’s interventions, thanks to the MHP’s Devlet Bahçeli, yielded important results to the advantage of the AKP on the eve of critical coalition talks. 

At the point we have arrived, all options other than AKP-CHP and AKP-MHP combinations have been nixed. In addition, the political climate makes a compromise between these three parties nearly impossible. All parties are seemingly stuck with their red lines and less enthusiastic for a compromised government. 

Public opinion, the media, newspapers and especially TV news shows are full of speculations over coalition talks and official-unofficial bargaining. That has left so many in the country wanting to get rid of this uncertainty, especially in business circles.         

Not only the men on the street, but politicians also sometimes express their tiredness. “Wallahi [I swear to Allah], I’m tired of gossip,” CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu told the media on July 7, while expressing his boredom over the ongoing debate on the parliament speaker’s election.

Obviously this should be Erdoğan’s main strategy: to kill hopes for a coalition government, to depict opposition parties as uncompromising and thus push for early elections to try once again to get at least a simple majority in parliament. 

Erdoğan still has more than four years as the president and he perfectly knows that he will never be comfortable with a parliament in which oppositional parties have the majority.