President Erdoğan imposes nothing but early elections

President Erdoğan imposes nothing but early elections

With less than 10 days until the expiration of the 45-day deadline for the formation of a government, Turkey’s two biggest parties, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Republican People’s Party (CHP), announced their failure in reaching a deal on a government. 

The announcement came just a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan bluntly intervened in ongoing talks between the AKP and the CHP by making sure his priority was taking the country to the polls as politicians failed to compromise. All three oppositional parties have blamed Erdoğan for this and have questioned Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s leadership. Since the beginning of preliminary talks between the AKP and the CHP, Erdoğan delivered his messages that he does not favor a partnership with the social democrats. 

In his meetings with Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Celal Doğan and CHP deputy Deniz Baykal, Erdoğan explained why this coalition government would not work. In addition, the appointment of one of his right-hand men, Culture Minister Ömer Çelik, as head of the AKP delegation was also interpreted as a sign to this end. 

After his interventions prevented Turkey from what many have called “the grand coalition” between the AKP and the CHP, eyes returned once again to the last remaining option before going to new polls: A coalition partnership with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). Davutoğlu’s request for an appointment with MHP head Devlet Bahçeli was approved and the two leaders will meet on Aug. 17.  

Bahçeli closed the doors on the formation of a minority government by the AKP and an interim election government that has to be formed by the inclusion of four political parties, including the HDP. The MHP leader’s statements have been interpreted in a way that he was ready to ally with the AKP in a government for a certain period of time and with the condition of the fulfilment his conditions. 

This is important, especially in the light of his last week’s statement in which he said he was no longer in favor of early elections because of extraordinary conditions after the Turkish military launched a comprehensive operation against terrorist organizations, including the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).  

The MHP will convene its central decision-making body on Aug. 15 before Bahçeli’s scheduled meeting with Davutoğlu on Aug. 17. The nationalists might opt to form a government with the AKP on certain conditions in regards to the fight against the PKK for a certain period of time before renewing elections. 

That’s why President Erdoğan’s remarks on Aug. 14 have significance. Recalling Bahçeli’s direct accusations against him on his status as the president and on his family members and describing them as indecent, Erdoğan said he does not see Bahçeli as an interlocutor. Erdoğan’s words have been interpreted as an indirect message to Davutoğlu not to engage in a partnership with the nationalist party leader either, as he shows going to early elections as the one and only option for the president. 

The current political scene does not illustrate a promising picture. The economy rings alarm bells due to the absence of a government while the fight against ISIL from Turkish territory has already begun, a development that will turn Turkey into one of ISIL’s primary targets. Social problems continue to grow with the polarization of the political system in the hands of unsophisticated politicians who run after their personal ambitions rather than national interest. 

There is nobody with common sense and logic that could explain why the country again goes to the polls only months after a proper election.