What’s in a vote? Everything

What’s in a vote? Everything

Terrorism is escalating. The attack in southeastern Dağlıca by the separatist gang claimed the lives of 16 beloved sons in military uniforms. The number of other beloved sons who have lost their lives in disgusting, deplorable and indeed heinous terrorism acts is estimated to be in the hundreds. In another attack by the terrorists, a roadside bomb blast claimed the lives of 13 policemen. The country has stopped counting individual casualties in view of the immense and catastrophic climax of this doggoned menace.

Why now? Why did this country not have so many terrorist incidents over the past many years, but since the June 7 parliamentary election seen such a rapid escalation in the political and security climate of the country? Was not the high vote for the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) that produced 80 deputies enough of a demonstration of the will of the larger Turkish society to build a peaceful, democratic and prosperous future together? Were not 80 seats in parliament sufficient enough for the HDP and the Kurdish micro-nationalist politics to see the solidarity demonstrated by the pro-democracy people of this country for a political way out to the problems of the Kurdish, and other minorities, of this country?

Life is sacred and in the absence of the right to live all other rights become irrelevant. Those young boys and girls whose lives were sacrificed by the gang up on the mountains and those young soldiers who fell in the defense of this nation and country were all precious assets of this country. They were the tomorrow of this country and nation. Why were they sacrificed by separatist terrorism?

Of course everyone must understand the frustration of the separatist gang – which has become a big conglomerate involved in a large field, including human, drug and arms trafficking and all sorts of criminality – that there might be a peaceful political resolution to the Kurdish issue, itself losing its claimed raison d’être. It was indeed expected by everyone with some knowledge of the background and operations of the gang that at one point it would brush aside the shabby and insincere peace table of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government and make a U-turn to acts of terrorism. The June 7 results helped it make that U-turn easier.

Why so? First of all, the campaign period before the June 7 election was indicative of the approaching violence, the “reincarnation” of terrorist acts. The AKP, scared of the prospect of becoming the second party in all predominantly Kurdish cities and neighborhoods in big western cities, started a campaign against the HDP. It went to the extent of claiming that if the HDP managed to pass the 10 percent national threshold, the Kurdish opening would become a fairy tale for Kurds to remember.

The rigid and adamant attitude of the AKP, however, helped the HDP win support from liberal, socialist and even center-left segments of the voters in western Turkey – making the party a success story, for example in Istanbul’s Sarıyer.

Thus the HDP and the prospect of a political resolution to the Kurdish issue became a serious headache for both the gang and the AKP. One, for existential reasons, was compelled to make a return to terrorism irrespective of what was ordered by the enforced life-term convict in İmrali island prison, while the other was compelled to make a return to the military-centered policies of the 1990s so that with increased nationalist sentiments in society, it could make a strong comeback with a sufficient number of deputies to elevate President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to his dream of becoming super president.

The sensitivity of the AKP’s flank to any sort of relevance between increased terrorism, bloodshed and Erdoğan’s great expectations is because of the fear that, should the electorate wake up from a deep coma and see the correlation between the two, the vote share of the AKP could suffer a further and major landslide. Thus, increased terrorism most likely will not help the AKP because increased nationalism will be an asset for the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and probably an election coalition of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Vatan Party. However, there is a concern that increased terrorism may hurt the HDP and it might have difficulty in getting sufficient votes to pass the 10 percent electoral threshold. However, increased terrorism might also consolidate the Kurdish vote around that party and push it close to 15 percent.

The AKP most probably will also be haunted by the worsening economic situation, as the Turkish Lira breaks its own record of value loss every day. Also, the recruitment of Tuğrul Türkeş as deputy premier was an effort to win some more nationalist votes and compensate for the losses due to the bad economy. Will it help? Most likely it will not.