By Halil Karaveli
November 3rd, 2015, The Turkey Analyst
The combination of military and deep state operations has rescued the power of the AKP, restoring its majority in parliament. Now, it is in President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s interest to call back the army from the Kurdish areas and offer the Kurds some kind of carrot, after wielding the stick has had the desired effect. The future stability of the AKP regime is to a significant extent going to depend on its success – or lack thereof – in coping with the Kurdish challenge. The all powerful Turkish president should probably not assume that he and his regime is out of the woods just because the Kurdish voters were intimidated back into the fold this time.
Orhan Bursalı in Cumhuriyet argues that the HDP, despite appearances, is not a leftist party, but a Kurdish nationalist party. Just like the AKP, the HDP is playing the religious card heavily in the fanatically Islamic Kurdish areas. As a social democrat party, the CHP, for instance, is not using religion to collect votes. The heavy Islamist emphasis of the HDP, which has built up a myth that presents itself as a “leftist party,” can only be explained with Kurdish nationalism. A policy that focuses on Kurdishness will also aim at “bringing together all the different colors of the Kurdish nation.” The HDP’s calls for radical democracy sound nice to the ear. They are asking for democracy, and a radical one at that! But when you look at the contents of their radical democracy all you see is identity politics. What they are calling for us is liberty for the identities! There is no citizenship, no nation-state, only an absurdity, a “federation of identities.” The display may look nice, but when you search what is inside, separatism is in the forefront.
Nuray Mert in Cumhuriyet notes that former deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç in an interview has given vent to his frustration with the fact that the AKP has been taken over by latecomers to the cause. How can it be that Arınç and others have not come out and said “We cannot continue like this” when the same people could break away from their leader Necmettin Erbakan at the end of the 1990s? Why was it easier to abandon Erbakan, who was the victim of a severe and unjust coup (the military intervention in 1997) than it has been to break off from an AKP that has degenerated but is still in power? In this light, Arınç’s statements have no serious meaning. What he is saying is basically “newcomers have taken over the party, nobody listens to us anymore.” Can we thus also conclude that there is nothing principled behind Arınç’s outburst or Gül’s famous “concerns?” Undoubtedly, there is. Both men see the problems with AKP’s current position. But this does not mean that they lack responsibility for AKP’s trajectory. Everything cannot be blamed on Erdoğan.
Haldun Gülalp in Birikim asks what is going to happen if the AKP – as expected – loses the election, but still refuses to give up power. And what will happen if the president makes efforts in order not to give the winning parties the opportunity to form a government? Even though few take this seriously anymore, a military coup should never be dismissed. As the military has educated itself to view itself as the “savior” of the country, we need to take into account that it can easily become the only alternative in situations of crisis that appear to be unsolvable. The military may find internal bloodletting unbearable and may impose itself in the name of the preservation of order and stability, and it may be successful in securing these goals. In such a situation, there is not going to be any other institutional power center that can stand in the way of the military. Is there a democratic solution that will remove such and other risks?
Kadri Gürsel on the Diken news site notes that AKP’s vice chairman Mehmet Ali Şahin on October 26 stated that “If the election yields a result similar to that which the June 7 election produced, then I’m afraid that there is going to be talk about a renewed election.” The Erdoğan regime refuses to obey popular will and share power and it is scheming to repeat the election until it gets the result that ensures that it can stay in power forever. The things that the Erdoğan regime has done since June 7 tell us what it is going to do if it decides to hold a third election after November 1. It has threatened society with terror and instability by restarting the fight with PKK – which was nothing but a product of electoral engineering – and by the inclusion of ISIS as the other actor in the equation. What is frightening is an election result along what the surveys suggest, that the AKP gets around 41 to 42, maybe over 42 percent of the votes… In that case, the regime may conclude that the policies it has pursued since June 7 have paid off and decide to pursue these with even more determination. If it chooses that path, it can be expected to silence what is left of independent media and take the country to another ballot under conditions found only in dictatorships.
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.