Is this the end of the New Turkey? Fabio Paulos
The Turkish Election

The latest elections were a test for Turkish political parties. The AKP wanted to have 2/3 of the seats in order to be able to change the Constitution of Turkey. The opposition did not like this idea, even some voices within AKP were against, including the former Turkish President Abdullah Gül. 

In February, Gül said  that “We know the difficulties involved in our Turkish-style parliamentary system. We should not have a Turkish-style presidential system, (…) If it is going to be a presidential system, this should be like the one in the USA where the strong separation of powers is clearly specified, where everything is clearly defined and based on the rule of law”.

Gül was also against the draconian security law that the Turkey’s parliament passed last March . Kurdish people said that the new security law would be used to target them, but it seems as the new security law will target everyone in Turkey. The police have now greater power for searches and stipulates up to five years in prison for protesters who cover their faces, between other possibilities that turn Turkey into a “Police State”. Now it is also more easy to block websites if they deemed to threaten lives, public order or people’s freedom.

Despite the opposition of Gül to Erdoğan’s ideas, the President of Turkey said that he would be happy if former President would run for a Parliamentary seat, this attitude as been seen as a polite gesture. Erdoğan knows the importance of Gül in Turkish policy, and inside of its political party where he still have supporters.

The current Constitution of Turkey do not allow the President to be partisan, but this did not affect Erdoğan’s statements where he asked many times for the election of 400 AKP MPs, in order to turn the Grand National Assembly to make the necessary changes in the Turkish Constitution without any help from other political parties, who does not agree with the Presidential system. 

In April when the Turkish Prime-Minister and current leader of AKP, Ahmet Davutoğlu, presented his party’s manifesto he said that AKP aimed to win by 55% of the votes. President and Prime-minister deceived, AKP only won around 40% of the votes. Despite this, pro-AKP media are still saying that AKP was the big winner of 7 of June elections. 

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The PM Davutoğlu’s speech was also glorious, as if their party achieved their goals, “There is no doubt that the AKP Party is the winner of this election, (…) It is the 11th election in which we come first. A term of 12-13 years in power is just a beginning for a great and historic march. Greater victories await us.”. His speech make it sound as if AKP had a big victory and won the 55% votes that they were looking for, but with just 40% of the votes it is impossible for Erdoğan to see their dream of a Presidential system realized, making this election a big defeat for Erdoğan’s plan.

Erdoğan also did a trip around Europe trying to get some more votes for his party. The results overseas were different from the ones inside of Turkey. AKP had almost 50% of the votes, and the People’s Democratic Party (HDP) was in second place, while the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) would not be represented in the parliament. 

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The HDP, a Turkish version of SYRIZA (Greece), Podemos (Spain) and Livre (Portugal), tried to stop the Erdoğan’s political statements, but no one was able to stop his campaigns. The HDP had raised concerns over President’s impartiality and campaigning to the Turkish Supreme Election Board (YSK), but the institution rejected their appeals.

A few bomb attacks took place in HDP offices during the campaign, and last Friday before the Sunday’s election a bomb attack during their rally in Diyarbakır, the “capital of the Turkish Kurdistan”, resulted in three dead and many injured. There are suspicions that the attacks are linked with the ISIS, because of the fight between Kurds and the ISIS in north Syria/Iraq.

For the first time the HDP was running as a political party, before the HDP was represented in the Turkish Parliament with independent MPs, running as independents gave them the opportunity of electing 29 MPs. In Turkey there is a 10% election threshold for political parties (not applied for independents). The HDP is more than a pro-Kurdish party, the political party represents also other Turkish minorities, in its list for the Parliament the party had Armenians, Yazidis, Syriac, Alevis, Christians, Roma and LGBT candidates, and half of its MPs candidates were women. 

This time the HDP was able to pass the 10% threshold as a political party and elected 80 MPs. The same number of MPs elected by MHP. The HDP was the true winner of the electoral night, for many years Kurds have been excluded from the parliament as political parties, but now Kurds and other minorities are better represented.

Before elections, Turkey suffered two big cuts of electricity, some observers pointed as a cyber attack from Iran, while others a game played by Erdoğan in order to get more support to their nuclear power ambition. The word G was also part of the campaign. And Erdoğan attacked not only national journalists but also international media such as the New York Times and BBC. 

The whistle-blower Twitter account of Fuat Avni claimed, days before the election, that AKP members would make fraud during the election day. On the 7th of June there were cars without license plates parked outside polling stations, this launched more fears of fraud elections. The exit polls were also delayed during hours. Even if someone made fraud, the results were still bad for AKP, despite their victory.

The Grand National Assembly of Turkey will now be more pluralist, not only Turkish muslims are represented, ethnic and religious minorities have now the possibility to resolve problems that their communities are facing, but they will need space to work, for this a stable government needs to be constructed. The next parliament will also have more women than ever.

The first test that parties will face in the parliament is the election of the Speaker of the Assembly. It is necessary it is a majority, but if after three ballots without a winner, an AKP member will became the speaker. All the parties represented in the Turkish Parliament will have one vice-speaker.

Erdoğan has been off from the national TVs more than one day after the elections took place, but a written statement  was published on 8 of June in the presidential website, showing that Erdoğan believes “that the current situation, which did not permit any party to form a government on its own, will be evaluated healthily and realistically by all parties that have taken part in the race”.

It will be not easy for AKP to find a party with who can govern, the Kurdish issue will make the decision. The HDP was the nightmare of AKP, when they  passed the threshold of 10%, that left previous Kurds parties out of the parliament, but now the HDP will play an important role in the Kurdish issue in Turkey. HDP and AKP can achieve an agreement about the Kurdish peace process, but they are unable to agree in other questions.

While the nationalists MHP, do not want to give more rights to Kurds, so if AKP makes a collation government with MHP the peace process with the Kurds will end. A collation with the Republican People's Party (CHP), that maintained almost the same position than last elections, is far more complicated to achieve.

As in all countries a minority government face many obstacles, a Turkish minority government will not have a easy life, and new election can be held until before the end of the year. Erdoğan may have lost this battle, but he do not loose the war, he may have a plan B in order to achieve their ideas of a Presidential Turkey. While he remains in power he will always have something to say.