The need for cooperation for a new Turkey

(In collaboration with Termometro Politico)

On the evening of June 6th, the polls and a political era in Turkey came to an end. With only 41% of the votes, the AKP party lost its 13-years-long absolute majority. The event resulted not only from an increase in the suffrages gained by the two main opposition parties, the MHP and the CHP, but due to the rise of the pro-Kurdish party, the HDP.  Established in 2012, the party led by Selahattin Demirtaş and Figen Yüksekdağ managed to overcome the 10% threshold to enter the Parliament, a limit which was meant to block the curds from gaining any sort of political power.

The HDP gained terrain because it finally presented itself in front of its electorate as a national party, defending not only the instances of the curds, but also of all the minorities which have so far been put aside by the AKP’s partial and exclusive approach. In fact, the list presented by the HDP was equally composed by men and females.

On the contrary, the Turkish castigated, among the various issues, Erdoğan’s hate speech towards the other parties and, particularly, the HDP, always accused of terrorist affiliations.

As a result, Erdoğan’s dream of transforming Turkey into an ‘American-alike’ Presidential Republic has vanished. Instead, the President is now seeking consensus for a coalition government in order to avoid that the country plunges again in the political instability of the 90s, further underpinned by and underpinning the economic weaknesses. At that time, consequently to the military’s pressure, the Prime Minister Erbakan was in fact forced to resign.

Warning signs have already come from the economy: soon after the provisional election results were published, the lira lost 8 points, with a total of 15% so far this year against the dollar. Thus, the Central Bank was forced to reduce the interest rate in order to avoid the fleeing of investments. Actually, the previous flourishing Turkish economy has been slowing down already long since before the elections, adding to the blames addressed to the AKP.

Aware of the dangers ahead, Erdoğan seems to have opted for a conciliatory attitude in the attempt to get a coalition government, against the auspices of all parties. Undoubtedly, the harsh tones so far adopted by the President and his undisguised neo-ottoman projects have underpinned the polarization in the country up to a point where it is not easy to fix now. Not only the leaders of the opposition are not willing be allies of the AKP, but also Davutoğlu has warned of the historically proven incompatibility between coalition government and stability. Furthermore, he has resigned even if he is going to remain in power until a new government is formed.

Besides all conundrums, the results are given and all parties should act accordingly for the sake of national unity, Erdoğan claimed. Then, it is not automatic that what happened 20 years ago will repeat again. Turkey has changed, after all. Given that the HDP seemingly cares for democracy and civil and political rights, then – in an ideal world – It should cooperate with the AKP to try to fight for more freedom of press, freedom of expression in general and to obtain further protection of the rights of the curds, of women, LGTB and other religious minorities.

Then, once the political situation will have stabilized itself, the economy will benefit from it too. The needed structural investments will probably arrive. Furthermore, the democratic ‘revival’ will help in recovering the relationship with the EU, which is extremely important if considering the loneliness that Turkey is experiencing on the eastern side. Forming a coalition government able to abide by the new instances coming from the electorate would definitely prove that democracy and Islam in Turkey could function together. On the other hand, if the parties in the Parliament refuse to collaborate, they would demonstrate to the Turkish people that the AKP is the only one able to run the country, while the others recover a ‘strategy of tension’.

Francesca Azzarà

Master’s degree in International Relations (LUISS “Guido Carli”)

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