The AKP must decide

The AKP must decide

Turkey is heading fast to an ambiguous but dreadful situation. The leaders of the country’s two biggest parties will be meeting Aug. 10 for a final push to form what is called a “grand coalition” but prospects are dim. Already two major conditions of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) were given the cold shoulder by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu and his Justice and Development Party (AKP) under strict orders from the party’s “absolute leader,” President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: “The legitimacy of the president cannot be an issue of discussion” and the other, “The rotation of the Prime Ministry is off limits in coalition talks.”

The CHP, anyhow, should not have expected the AKP to accept a rotating Prime Ministry or hope the AKP would agree to dominate Erdoğan and “order” him to stay a president within the limits of the constitution rather than acting as the “supreme absolute leader, and senior co-prime minister.” The not so much discussed third major condition of the CHP’s was over persecution of corrupt ministers, as well as the “other” massive graft alleged to have taken place during in the 13-year prime ministry of Erdoğan. There have been allegations that the son of the president and some other members of the “first family” were deeply implicated in corruption, irregular land deals, favoritism and siphoning serious amounts of public funds for some non-public uses, including funding a foundation claimed to have been involved more in the shaping of education policies than the Education Ministry.

Fighting graft was a major condition of the junior opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) as well as the demand to trim down the president’s “unconstitutional” powers. Since the June 7 election, the MHP, as has always been the case, continued to act as the “secret partner” of the AKP, lending it support for example at the election of the speaker of parliament. Yet, it has shunned all AKP hopes and stayed firmly away so far from becoming a “crutch” to carry the country to an early election as an overt or covert coalition partner. Has the MHP option closed for the AKP? Most probably not, because if the coalition talks with the CHP falter - as expected - this week because of the CHP’s insistence on having among some other ministerial posts the foreign, education, justice and labor portfolios, the AKP will turn towards the MHP once again. Anyhow, “instructions” to the AKP from its “all almighty” boss have been to carry the country to an early election this November or as soon as possible. Why? Erdoğan’s hope is the AKP comes back with a sufficient majority to form a single party government and help him consolidate a one-man rule with firm control over the country’s legislative, executive and judiciary. Could it be one form of a Ceausescu obsession or what?

Already the country has started to gradually sink into an unprecedented calamity. The Turkish society, thanks to its unique composition, has so far managed to avoid a sectarian and ethnic-based confrontation. Neither all the Kurds are Alevis, nor all the Sunnis are Turks but the Sunni Kurds and Alevi Turks bonded this nation so well that similar fires stayed burning the entire neighborhood. Particularly since the Suruç bombing, tensions have been growing and for the first time many people started fearing something nasty might be somehow provoked.

As is said in Turkish, showing people the deadly consequences and making them accept treatment by painful medication might mean a lot for the AKP. People scared of sectarian or ethnic-based civil war might prefer to vote for an AKP that they may be made to believe can sail them to security and wellbeing. However, if in trying to make people realize the dreadful consequences of lost instability and single-party government the country plunges into a civil war along ethnic and sectarian divides, the “national glue” that survived so many challenges all through many centuries may just disappear and Turkey might turn into a new Yugoslavia or worse a bigger and far more dreadful Syria.

Is it worth it to go through this process? For what? To cover up alleged graft or keep such allegations away from persecution?

Consequences are deadly serious. The AKP must decide whether it is a political party or a “society of Erdoğan-lovers.” Otherwise, some “beloved sons of the mother” might volunteer once again to save the “mother in difficulty” and we may lose a golden chance to consolidate our fragile democracy through democratic processes. 

Now, the AKP must decide what it is.