The national will
It was the national will that made the Justice and Development party (AKP) the ruling party for three terms and it is again the national will that made it taste an election defeat that it did not expect.
I say “unexpected” because President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was asking for 400 deputies for his party! The ruling party could not even reach 276 deputies.
There are two winners of this election; they are the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), who both increased their votes.
There is one loser of these elections and this loser, even though it is definitely the leading party by a large margin, is the AKP, which has experienced a huge vote loss.
Main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) is not a winner but it cannot be regarded as a loser, either.
As we review election results, it is obvious the votes the AKP lost went to the MHP and HDP.
Why did AKP decline?
The reasons why the AKP fell so much can be gathered under a chapter named authoritarianism. It was impossible for a political party not to lose votes while identifying with palaces and mansions and naming opposition parties “gangs, residue of the Byzantium, tools of foreign powers…” It was impossible not to lose votes while oppressing the press, while expressing political party propaganda under the flag of the president’s impartial office.
Moreover, it was impossible for a government which fuelled the people’s concern of authoritarianism with its proposed presidential system in a pluralistic Turkey. The usage of religion in the political arena has drawn the reaction of genuinely religious people.
The ruling party AKP will not be able to collect itself easily unless it goes back to normal and withdraws to the boundaries of the separation of powers according to the constitution.
President Erdoğan, for a long time, was a leader the conservative Kurds loved and were attached to. This was a very significant gain for Turkey, in terms of the sociological basis of Turkey’s national unity.
However, take a look at the unofficial preliminary results of the election now:
- In East Anatolia, the percentage of AKP votes in 2011 and 2015 has dropped from 51 percent to 36 percent. HDP’s votes went up from 26 percent to 40 percent. (It was the independent candidates who ran for office in 2011.)
- - In Southeast Anatolia, AKP votes again fell from 51 percent to 36 percent. HDP votes went up from 28 percent to 43 percent.
Energy erupted in the society for the HDP to cross the election threshold. What created this energy is specifically the offensive attitudes of the AKP, a trend which was solidified with the slogan, “presidential system.”
The Kurdish issue
There was a HDP commercial used in its election campaign with people dancing and enjoying themselves doing the folkloric “halay,” while Selahattin Demirtaş joined them. There were no colors of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK.) In a few of the HDP rallies, Turkish flags were seen and Demirtaş considered this as “normalization.”
Demirtaş told journalist Ahmet Hakan in an interview on CNN Türk May 27, “We had imprisoned ourselves into a narrow space; now we have gone out from there.” These attitudes enabled the HDP to pass the threshold. On the night of election day, Demirtaş said, “We are a Turkey party.” We should say, “Hopefully.” If they act otherwise, then the HDP would immediately lose these “entrusted votes.”
This is extremely important in terms of the Kurdish issue’s course.
Four parties came out of the ballot box. The AKP must leave the hubris, its authoritarian, exclusive, oppressive attitudes that also violate the constitution. The president should withdraw to his constitutional borders.
The first issue facing Turkey is the possibility of being without a government. The real issue is the possibility of being locked in polarization.
No party is able to form the government alone but this is no obstacle to forming a government. According to the constitution, 276 votes are not necessary to form a government; 276 votes are the requirement to topple a government. Coalitions are possible. If the government is not formed in 45 days and new elections are held with the president’s decision, then the results of these elections should be taken for granted.
Everybody should learn a lesson from elections. They must have understood that democracy is moderation, reconciliation and a system of rules. What we need in the coming term is moderation, commonsense and reconciliation.
Starting from the president, everybody should comply by the parliamentarian system practices.