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.
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?
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.