It seems that if the Justice and Development Party (AKP) cannot steal the votes, it will not be able to form a one-party government. This is excellent news for Turkey's democracy. Yet it will only be the start of a long journey, a journey that may take a few decades.
The AKP has seriously harmed Turkey's democratic structures, state, judiciary, media, civil society, religious communities, Islamic understanding, political culture, cohesiveness of society and so on. It will take a long time for even a disciplined well-planned government to deal with these issues. Forget having a robust government. We will have a coalition government for some time, similar to the 1990s. As far as economy is concerned, this is not necessarily bad news. Remember the last Ecevit government which was able to reform Turkey's economic infrastructure decisively with the help of the Minister of State for Economic Affairs Kemal Derviş, and which paved the way for AKP's success between 2002-2008? Nevertheless, the damage done by the AKP in other areas will not be easily tackled.
Most probably we will have an AKP-Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) coalition government. Yes, some MHP politicians have said that they will not form a coalition government with the AKP, but it can easily be revised. How is this: The country is on the brink of historical turmoil, with all sorts of problems, and as a result of our feeling of responsibility, we had to make this hard decision that is based on sacrifice! I do not have a problem with that. Life will continue to be difficult for the Hizmet movement under such a government, for MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli is not a good friend of the movement. Yet the brutal ferocity of the AKP against the Hizmet movement will eventually fade away with the decreasing power of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.
As far as the Kurdish question is concerned, an AKP-MHP government may be good news. Do not be surprised. It has been always easier to solve these problems when the hawks are in power, not in opposition. Kurdistan Workers' Party leader Abdullah Öcalan would have hanged if the MHP had not been in opposition at the time the death penalty was abolished, an act performed specifically for Öcalan. The Turkish state and 80 percent of society want a solution to the Kurdish problem. An AKP-MHP government may be helpful to this end.
The MHP will demand to benefit from public tenders. They were known to be “experts” in this area in the Ecevit coalition times. The AKP has existential problems and I am sure that it will be ready to negotiate. Within the state bureaucracy, there is already an AKP-MHP-Ergenekon coalition, so, it will continue.
Almost everybody, including Prime Minister Abdullah Gül and Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç, believes that such a coalition government will not last long and in less than a year, we will have another election. Many people have been working on this probability. The AKP may be captured by Gül or it may be divided into two. Or we can have a new center-right party with prestigious, well known figures that has a potential to get at least 20 percent support.
I do not think that the Republican People's Party (CHP) can ever pass its glass ceiling of 30 percent and MHP 20 percent because of their history. What Turkey needs also is a center-left social democratic party that is in tune with Islam, but in near future we will not see one. The CHP is becoming a good social democrat party but it has to rebrand itself and change its Kemalist name.
If it passes the threshold, the HDP will have an historic opportunity to be a party of Turkey, not Kurds. Its leader and candidates have done remarkably well on this point. I hope and pray that they can continue like this. I do not think that they will form a coalition government with the AKP as a result of a dirty bargain: Kurdish autonomy in return for a sultanistic Erdoğan regime. We can have never peace if the other 50 percent simply hate us, our government and our political arrangements. The Turks are now more empathetic to the Kurds' agonies and we will in one form or another solve this problem soon. We do not need the corrupt AKP for this.
The Hizmet movement will continue to be the biggest, the most robust, global and dynamic social movement of Turkey despite the setbacks that have actually been helping the movement critically revise itself for a healthier future.
Published on Today's Zaman, 05 June 2015, Friday