Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Turkey's Snap Election: One Month to go (Turkey November 2015 election, part 1)

Turkish Snap Elections 2015: An Intro

In exactly one month, on November 1, Turkish voters will return to a new round of elections, following the failure of the religious conservative AKP to form a coalition government with the secular-orientated CHP, the nationalist MHP, or the mostly-Kurdish leftist HDP. It seemed clear from the past that this was an impossible feat, with the three other parties staunchly opposing AKP’s plan to transfer new powers to the nation’s president (and its former party leader and prime minister), Recep Tayyip Erdogan, essentially creating a “super-presidency.”

The fact that the AKP was not able to form a government was no surprise; in fact the only surprising part of the whole election was the party’s dwindling show at the ballot box, receiving just over 40% of the vote, down almost 9% from the 2011 vote. This of course was caused when the HDP crossed the 10% parliamentary threshold—a remnant of the 1980 Coup—and one that was kept in place by the AKP despite 13 years of single-party rule and promises to rid the country of the remnants of the coup.  

For my analysis of the June elections, please click link

Since the election however Turkey has seen some of its bleakest days in over a decade, once again locked in conflict with the PKK, with the Turkish security forces taking heavy blows. Let us remember that the peace process with the Kurds entitled the AKP and Erdogan continued support; however, as I stated recently in an article in Haaretz (related to the AKP’s Grand Congress):

“the days of hope have been buried with the widespread belief that Erdogan instigated the renewed violence in order to delegitimize the HDP and ensure the AKP’`s stability and electoral support. The question of whether the lives of soldiers, policemen and innocent civilians could have been spared by doing its utmost to keep the peace process on track will forever loom over the AKP.”

Therefore, placing aside whether Erdogan bears some responsiblity for the violence, the quick unravelling of the peace process, the growing number of dead (from among civilians and security forces), and the subjecting of large parts of the population to military curfews, is ample proof that the AKP’s peace process was wrongly mapped out from the start, and despite the best of intentions of many involved, it has turned into a massive failure. 

Nevertheless, even if a failure, on the flip side, the AKP can be credited with placing the process on the daily agenda and thus paving the way for a possible future deal.  

Now to the elections….

So the question is how do you hold elections in this terrible state of violence and turbulent times? Well, the answer is, the show must go on. And, based on most polls, the Turkish electorate is not about to change their vote, with almost all showing a similar outcome to the previous June 7 elections with Turkey most likely witnessing the fact that the days of AKP’s sole rule is over.

Over the next month, I will be covering different aspects of the election, recapping major points leading up to the vote, and highlighting each points related to each party and its leadership, so stay tuned!


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