By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 8, no. 8 of the Turkey Analyst)
In recent weeks, Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has pursued an increasingly aggressive policy towards the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) in the hope of pushing the party below the 10 per cent national threshold in the June 7, 2015 general election while simultaneously preventing Turkish nationalists amongst the AKP’s own voters from defecting to the Nationalist Action Party (MHP).
Aslı Aydıntaşbaş in Milliyet writes that it’s not certain that pro-Kurdish HDP will cross the ten percent threshold to parliament, but she notes that polls indicate an upward trend. However, HDP will have to be wary of provocations and assure the Turkish public beforehand that it has got nothing to do with any acts of violence that may be staged during the run-up to the election in June. Oya Baydar on the t24 news site writes that the sine qua non for electoral success is that the HDP makes sure to forcefully deny and dispel the rumors that certain circles are spreading that the HDP has come to an agreement with Erdoğan to introduce a presidential system. Ali Bayramoğlu in Yeni Şafak predicts that the elections are going to confirm that both AKP and HDP benefit from the headway that is being made in the solution process. Ahmet İnsel in Radikal writes that the HDP has the potential to become the Freedom Movement for Turkey, provided that the line of its co-chairman Selahattin Demirtaş is not sabotaged by forces from within the Kurdish political movement itself.
By Burak Bilgehan Özpek (vol. 8, no. 5 of the Turkey Analyst)
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s bid to concentrate all power to himself has increased the skepticism and reluctance among the representatives of the Kurdish political movement and among liberals. The suspicion is widespread in Turkey that the “solution process” of the Kurdish problem is going to pave the way for a fully authoritarian government. What many fear is that Erdoğan is using the solution process and the promise of Kurdish peace as instruments in his bid to consolidate his position as the unchecked leader of the country.
Fatih Yaşlı in Yurt writes that the evacuation of the Süleyman Şah tomb in Syria symbolizes the end of the neo-Ottoman project of the AKP regime. İbrahim Karagül in Yeni Şafak sees a foreign hand behind ISIS and argues that the operation that evacuated the Turkish soldiers thwarted the designs of foreign powers that were scheming to attack Turkish interests under the guise of ISIS. Etyen Mahçupyan in Akşam writes that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is not an authoritarian, but that he behaves like that only when he feels under threat. Mahçupyan urges the opposition to create the conditions that will enable Erdoğan to be a democrat. Bülent Korucu in Zaman detects signs that a closure case against the main opposition party CHP may be under way. Ali Bulaç in Zaman writes that the AKP has destroyed Islamism and forfeited a century-old heritage.
Cengiz Çandar in Radikal writes that the AKP has no other raison d’être left than to cling to Tayyip Erdoğan, and to be the power instrument of the supreme leader. Cengiz Aktar in Taraf cautions against harboring “revolutionary hopes” in Turkey in the wake of Syriza’s victory in Greece and the Kurdish victory in Kobane. Fehmi Koru in Habertürk predicts that the HDP, if it crosses the threshold to parliament in the general election in June, is going to be a perfect partner for the AKP in the writing of a new constitution. Bekir Ağırdır on the t24 news site writes that the HDP is going to have to triple its votes in the eight major metropolises in order to have a chance to cross the ten percent threshold to parliament. Finally, Hasan Bülent Kahraman in Sabah observes that HDP and its electoral prospects are now on everyone’s lips and that the party in that respect has succeeded in becoming a party that matters nation-wide in Turkey.
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.