AN INTERVIEW WITH VANESSA TINKER ABOUT ELECTIONS IN TURKEY
1-) AK party won polls, but lost simple majority in parliament due to pro-Kurdish party gains. HDP passed 10 pct, How did HDP reach success?
Apart from ardent AKP supporters, HDP was able to appeal to a wide and diverse range of citizens who have increasingly felt sidelined and/or effectively ignored – including not only Turkey’s huge Kurdish minority, but also secular, liberal, non-Kurdish minorities, LGBT, and women. Furthermore many of AKP supporters have grown tired of Erdogan’s increasingly divisive religious rhetoric, intolerance to opposition and corruption scandals. HDP has also effectively appealed to those who wanted to block Erdogan’s plans to change the constitution from a parliamentary system into a presidential system.
One of the major contributors to HDP’s success was the shift amongst conservative Kurdish voters, who formerly had supported the AKP. Erdogan and the AKP’s increasingly conflicting and polarizing discourse, as well as insensitivity towards Kurds fighting in Kobane, left many conservative Kurdish feeling disillusioned and even angry.
Finally, many supporters were drawn to HDP thanks in part to the Party’s co-leader Selahattin Demirtas, also nicknamed as ‘the Kurdish Obama’, who has come across as a skilled and pragmatic speaker, one who uses non-discriminatory and non-divisive language and who has a sense of political humour.
2-) ‘Voters punished AK party' What do you think about it? Turkey’s coalition options, AK Party+MHP, AK Party+CHP, CHP+MHP+HDP… Which one is the best way for Turkey?
A coalition between AKP and HDP so far appears out of the question, especially in light of Selahattin Demirtas’ recent announcement of the Party’s willingness to form a coalition with all parties except AKP. This is understandable given Erdogan’s open denouncement of HDP, depicting the party as supporting terrorism and even run by a terrorist organization. The likely option is for HDP to support an AKP minority government which would gain them more concessions in the peace process.
A coalition with CHP and AKP also seems unlikely given that AKP has built its political career in opposition to CHP.
If AKP decides to form a coalition, the likely option would be with MHP since both parties maintain a conservative and nationalistic outlook. However, this would mean a major blow to the Kurdish peace process, as MHP is openly opposed to working with PKK.
Another option, even if unrealistic, is for HDP to form a coalition with CHP and MHP to form a majority in parliament. This option however appears highly unlikely given MHP’s stanch refusal to collaborate with HDP.
Given that MHP refuses to work with HDP and HDP with AKP, former president Abdullah Gül has suggested that AKP forms a coalition with CHP and MHP to provide broad based parliamentary support and endorsement inside as well as outside the country. Out of all coalition options, this actually appears the most viable, although I am not sure what this would mean for the Kurdish peace process.
In the even no coalitions are made, it is possible AKP could seek to form a minority government with the support of enough opposition deputies for a win of confidence in parliament. However, if the AKP is not able to find enough support then there is always the option of early elections which could cause further economic and political instability.
3-) Deniz Ulke Aribogan, a professor of political science from Istanbul Bilgi University: "The results show that Turkish citizens want Erdogan to act in line with his position as a neutral president. They don't want to see him rallying as if he is the leader of the AK party." (http://www.aljazeera.com/news/2015/06/ak-party-leads-turkish-parliamentary-polls-150607161827232.html). Do you agree with Deniz Ülke Arıboğan?, Could you share your opinion with us?
Yes I completely agree with Deniz Ülke Arıboğan. By openly denouncing HDP and accusing HDP as supporting terrorism and even run by a terrorist, Erdogan has undermined and defied the constitution which calls for presidents to rise above political parties and act non-partisan.
The election results however illustrated that voters will no longer remain tolerant of Erdogan’s propaganda of fear, hatred, and divisive language. Rather the elections have demonstrated that a large majority of Turkish citizens support and prefer HDP’s language of unity, with all Turkish citizens coming together to fight against injustices, to thwart impediments on their freedoms, and to continue to support the peace process underway in Turkey.