Sunday, June 5, 2011

An Update and One week to go to Turkish elections

First, I wanted to share with my readers that I have not written for a few weeks aince I am on a week vaction abroad and because I was quite busy preparing two lectures: one was a seminar at Sabanci University’s History Seminar Series, where I presented entitled: “Palestinianism” during the Young Turk Period. This was basically a review of what will be the second chapter of my upcoming book, which will hopefully be published within the next two years (long process to say the least). The second talk was part of the Hrant Dink Memorial Workshop, a workshop which was dedicated to the topic of freedom of expression. For this conference, I presented a paper entitled: Memories of the Past/Present: the Palestinians and Jews’ Right to Remember the Nakba and Obligation Not to Forget. This paper is actually a continuation of a project which I embarked on almost three years ago on history and memory, where I presented a lecture for Bezalel architecture department on Jerusalem and Istanbul in the Ottoman/post-Ottoman nation-state era, and a former paper which I presented twice, once in New York at a conference and previously also at last year’s Hrant Dink Memorial Workshop, entitled: Remnants of the Past/Present: Jews, Armenians, and Greeks as Historical/Living Artifacts.

As for the upcoming elections, while the ruling Ak party is set to sweep an easy victory against the People Republican’s Party (CHP) and the National Movement Party (MHP), the question now is how great the victory will be. It is hard to estimate the outcome, however it seems that the AK party will capture a similar number of votes to the last election: between 45-50 percent, the CHP might pass 30 percent of the vote, and the MHP, despite the scandalous “sex” video clips of many high party members, which led to numerous resignations within the party during the last few weeks, it seems they will make it over the 10 percent threshold. The Peace and Democratic Party (BDP) which ia mainly Kurdish, by running independent candidates like the last elections, seem like they will retain their strength in the parliament and perhaps even strengthen by one of two seats. If the AKP goes over the 50 percent mark, this will mark a major victory, which is their goal. However, I highly doubt that this will happen and believe that they might even drop a few percent, which certainly will send a strong message to them that at least 50 percent of the country is disappointed with Erdogan’s performance. Also, while the opposition CHP leader Kilicdaroglu is not nearly as charismatic of a leader as Erdogan, he certainly has breathed new life in the party, which is something long overdue. If the MHP does not pass the ten percent threshold, due to the recent scandals, this will send shock waves through the Turkish political system, and will once again show the unjustness of a ten percent threshold, which the AKP has kept intact despite their previous promises to lower it.

I will be back in Turkey on Thursday morning after a week vacation abroad and will be following the elections closely. Please follow my blog for analysis of the first election results which will take place late Sunday evening. I will submit more extensive analysis the following day.

Until then, warm regards and best wishes to all.

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