By Halil Karaveli
December 7th, 2015, The Turkey Analyst
The interplay of Western interests and internal Turkish dynamics has more often boosted authoritarianism than democracy in Turkey. Turkey’s strategic value as a “sentinel” during the Cold War gave Turkish governments a tacit license to suppress freedoms and democratic rights. The historical pattern is now being repeated. It is reassuring for the authoritarian Turkish regime that Turkey has once again become indispensable as a guard-post for its Western partners.
Mahmut Bozarslan on Bertaraf Haber writes that the PKK engaged the state in a ferocious fight without allowing the HDP the chance to do politics. And this time it did it by bringing the fighting into the middle of city centers… Even though the west of Turkey holds HDP responsible for the fighting, the Kurds knew very well who the responsible was. The declarations of self-rule in many Kurdish populated cities and the armed resistance on the streets, started to annoy the Kurds. The Kurds could not make sense of why there was suddenly a resumption of violence just as peace was within reach. The Kurdish voters stood up against PKK’s preference for violence. The HDP was made to pay for the violence that did not cease despite all calls from civil society. Yes, the state started the violence, but the PKK continued with it. The PKK could very well have declared that it was not going to take action and then withdrawn across the border. Not only did it choose not to withdraw, it turned the cities into war zones. And poor HDP had to pay the price. Yet despite everything negative, if one victor of the election is the AKP, so HDP is the second one. It is a major accomplishment to manage to get 59 parliamentarians elected despite all pressure and despite having been squashed under the tension that all the fighting has caused. The loser is the strategy of Kandil [the PKK], and the tactics of urban guerilla. As the saying goes, “War for the people in spite of the people” does not work.
Etyen Mahçupyan in Akşam reminds that in 2002, after AKP won its first election, he predicted that the party was going to score at least four consecutive election victories. If we honor this prediction, the AKP is going to win the 2019 election as well. The reason is simple. This movement is the vector of the sociological change that became visible in Turkey from the beginning of the 1990s. The party’s vote potential hovers between 35 and 55 percent, and if the “right” things are done, it will not stop at 55 percent. The AKP’s successful performance in the management of the economy, its health, urban and infrastructure policies have converted this “new” movement toward conservatism into a modern middle class movement as well, and it has consolidated its voter base. This is the fundamental reality of the last fifteen years in Turkey. Turkey’s future depends on the AKP doing the “right things.” When the AKP does the right things, other parties become insignificant. That is because AKP is an authentic reality that connects the past to the future, and the local to the global…
Kadri Gürsel on the Diken news site writes that the election results are very easy to analyze: By creating an atmosphere of terror and chaos prior to the November 1 election, conservative and nationalist voters who had started to ask for political change were persuaded to abandon this demand in favor of authoritarian status quo. The tactic worked perfectly. Now, the regime is going to have a difficult time; it is faced with a major problem – the fight with PKK – that it will have to try to figure out how to end. As a consequence of regional political developments, the bar for a solution has now been raised; it is no longer possible to return to the parameters of the previous “solution process” with the Kurdish movement. In short, the regime won the election not by reducing the problems of this country, but by exacerbating them. Unless the terror problem is not dealt with successfully after the election, the regime and its party are going to be hurt. AKP has already forfeited its ability to deal with these issues, so it is in any case impossible for the party to maintain the hormone-conflated November 1 election result. The trend of decline is going to continue one way or the other.
By Gareth H. Jenkins
November 10th, 2015, The Turkey Analyst
The November 1 general election was a victory for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) rather than for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Although he is likely to try to use the AKP’s parliamentary majority to try to push ahead with his plans for an autocratic presidential system, the result showed that he has no popular mandate for one.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.