Blow to Erdogan

Published June 9, 2015
The outcome of parliamentary election is a blow to Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ambitions.—AFP/File
The outcome of parliamentary election is a blow to Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ambitions.—AFP/File

EVEN though his party still has a plurality, the outcome of Sunday’s parliamentary election is a blow to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s ambitions, especially to his appetite for more powers to turn Turkey into a presidential democracy.

Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu put on a brave face and said the ruling AKP had won — securing 41pc of the votes — but the harsh fact for him is that, for the first time, Mr Erdogan will have to look for a coalition partner.

While the main opposition party, CHP, must have felt disappointed for getting only 25pc of the mandate, the real gainer is the Kurdish HDP, which crossed the 10pc barrier to secure a place in parliament.

Also read: Turkey ruling party weighs options after election blow

The credit for this breakthrough goes to HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas, whose campaign strategy went beyond the grievances of the Kurdish minority and appealed to Turkey’s leftist and anti-Erdogan elements. While the HDP leader’s claim that the talk of “executive presidency and dictatorship” has come to an end is true, the implications of Sunday’s polls are likely to have long-term effects on Turkish politics, especially the consequences, not necessarily negative, of the decline in the AKP’s popularity.

To begin with, Mr Erdogan must learn from his mistakes and realise that it was his authoritarian behaviour which alienated a large segment of his erstwhile supporters.

His intolerance of criticism, the persecution of Turkey’s vibrant media and his treatment of judges whose verdicts went against the state betrayed paranoia. No wonder, during his 12 years in power 63 journalists were jailed for a total period of 32 years; he was even allergic to the internet on which he was routinely criticised.

The most appalling indication of his authoritarian streak has been his use of the constitutional clause which prohibits insulting the head of state. No one before him has used this clause.

However, during the AKP rule, 105 people, including a 16-year-old boy, were indicted and eight arrested, and two cartoonists had to suffer a prison term for 11 months.

Nevertheless, the AKP will remain a factor in politics for a long time to come. The election results could reduce the polarisation centred on Mr Erdogan’s personality, and the presence of non-AKP members in the cabinet could serve as a check on his autocratic tendencies.

On the whole, it is Turkish democracy which is the gainer, for the people have shown maturity by rejecting executive excesses and voting for a liberal polity.

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2015

On a mobile phone? Get the Dawn Mobile App: Apple Store | Google Play

Opinion

No Eid for Sachal
16 May 2021

No Eid for Sachal

All this pain has been inflicted on man by man. When reason fails, this is what man resorts to. Naked barbarity.
US exit: security implications
16 May 2021

US exit: security implications

All indications are that transnational terrorist groups are gearing up to increase their operations in the region.

Editorial

16 May 2021

Riyadh-Tehran thaw

SEVERAL official pronouncements over the last few days have confirmed that efforts are underway behind the scenes to...
16 May 2021

Ruthless evictions

FOR a state to deprive residents of their homes without providing for alternative housing for them is a dereliction...
16 May 2021

Wheat concerns

THE new official projections for provisional wheat output suggest that Punjab may harvest around 20.5m tonnes of...
Eid during Covid
Updated 13 May 2021

Eid during Covid

It is indisputable that our actions now will prevent matters from becoming far worse.
Updated 14 May 2021

Foreign policy gaffes

MIXED messages, retractions and clarifications from the government have become an all-too-common occurrence when it...
Zimbabwe series win
Updated 15 May 2021

Zimbabwe series win

For millions of Pakistani fans, it was a thrilling experience to see their team returning to its winning ways.