By Gareth Jenkins (vol. 8, no. 13 of the Turkey Analyst)
The Turkish general election of 7 June stripped the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of its parliamentary majority for the first time since November 2002 and dealt a devastating blow to President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s hopes of replacing the country’s parliamentary system with an autocratic presidential one in which all political power was concentrated in his own hands. But, even though the election was an undoubted triumph for the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), it has also left the Kurdish nationalist movement facing a number of challenges.
Abdülkadir Selvi in Yeni Şafak reports that Turkey is determined to take action in Syria if the PYD expands to the west of the Euphrates, taking control of Jarabulus, but that this does not mean that Turkey is about to go to war. Özgür Mumcu in Cumhuriyet writes that Turkey is dreaming about a military operation that is internally marketed as an operation against PYD, while it is externally marketed as something that supposedly targets ISIS. Orhan Kemal Cengiz in Bugün writes that the question after the election was if Erdoğan was going to interpret the results as a no to the proposed, unlimited powers of the presidency or as a “road accident,” and concludes that it’s now business as usual for the president. Orhan Bursalı in Cumhuriyet writes that it is very difficult for AKP to accept that the party has lost the possibility to form a majority government on its own, and that the party and the “Mighty” – Erdoğan – intends to never relinquish power. Candaş Tolga Işık at the Habere Dikkat news site writes that handing the seat of the speaker of the parliament to AKP as a gift, only because MHP is unable to curb its hatred of HDP, is going to be the undoing of the party.
By Halil Karaveli (vol. 8, no. 12 of the Turkey Analyst)
The immediate effects of Turkey’s June 7 election was that the ruling Justice and Development party (AKP) lost its majority and President Erdoğan was forced to put his plans for a presidential system on hold, at least for the moment. Yet the prospects for Turkish democracy are not necessarily any brighter today. The most likely outcome is a coalition between the AKP and the rightist Nationalist Action Party (MHP). That is the preferred outcome for “conservative” business interests, who challenge “secular” business interests and want to continue to use state power to get their hands on a bigger share of capital. Their interests ensure that the AKP will remain on its confrontational track; that is the principal dynamic behind Turkey’s drift toward authoritarian rule, and it is far from having been halted.
By Aliza Marcus (vol. 8, no. 12 of the Turkey Analyst)
Kurdish voters abandoned the ruling AKP in Turkey's national elections, propelling the Kurdish HDP into parliament and giving Kurdish nationalist demands a new legitimacy. Earlier, critics could argue the PKK did not really represent the majority of Kurds in Turkey, but that argument is getting weaker by the day. The HDP's win can be ascribed, in large part, to a boost in backing for the PKK. The question is whether the parties and people who want more rights and freedoms will realize that Kurdish rights, autonomy and likely freedom for Abdullah Öcalan must be part of this to truly make Turkey into a liberal place.
Ahmet İnsel in Cumhuriyet writes that the purpose of the attacks that were carried out against the premises of HDP in Adana and Mersin was to provoke HDP supporters and incite them take to the streets. Cengiz Çandar in Radikal writes that Turkey has lost its immunity to Salafism by acting as a sponsor of the Sunni radicals in Syria, in concert with Saudi Arabia. On the occasion of the death of Kenan Evren, the general who took power in the 1980 coup, Fatih Yaşlı in Yurt notes that Evren fathered today’s “New Turkey” by putting the current neoliberal-Islamic regime in place. Mümtazer Türköne in Zaman similarly observes that Evren’s regime, with its oppressive institutions, is still in place. He also notes that Evren was responsible not only for the coup but also for the wave of assassinations and massacres from 1978 onwards that preceded it and was used to legitimize it. İhsan Dağı on the Diken news site writes that if HDP crosses the threshold to parliament in the upcoming general election, it will restore the faith in competitive democracy, by demonstrating that change by normal ways is still possible 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.