IAHIN – Future of regime in Turkey

Future of regime in TurkeyIt is estimated that in the general election to be held on June 7, some of the traditional supporters of the Kemalist main opposition Republican Peopleand#39s Party (CHP) are likely to cast their votes in favor of the pro-Kurdish Peoplesand#39 Democratic Party (HDP), which is at risk of failing the 10 percent threshold and being excluded from the next Parliament.Why would they do so? Obviously not because they agree with the HDPand#39s cause of Kurdish autonomy, but mainly for the following considerations: If the HDP can overcome the threshold, it would, first, be able to stop the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government from adopting the Turkish-style presidential system that President Recep Tayyip ErdoIan wants to have.

Secondly, if it is powerfully represented in Parliament, it may move towards becoming a mainstream rather than a pro-Kurdish party, and even build a coalition government together with the CHP. These CHP voters are disappointed with the performance of the CHP and appreciate HDP leader Selahattin DemirtaIand#39s performance, saying he best challenges the AK Party government that they detest.

A recent survey conducted on behalf of the CHP indicated that 1 to 2 percent of CHP votes are likely to go to the HDP in the coming election. It is no coincidence, then, that Haluk Ko, the deputy chairman of the CHP, said recently that the andldquoAK Party and the HDP look as though they are battling each other, while in reality they are cooperating.

They are simply trying to give the impression of a clash between the AK Party and the [Kurdistan Workersand#39 Party] PKK.andrdquo Since party leader Kemal KIlIdaroIlu made the same point, the CHP may indeed be panicking over losing a substantial number of votes to the HDP.

DemirtaI has for weeks been declaring that his party will surely overcome the threshold and stop the danger of the AK Party drafting a new constitution of its own. Are HDP party members equally sure of passing the threshold? This is the information I received from sources in the Kurdish-majority region: HDP members close to the leadership generally believe passing the threshold is entirely within the reach of the party, saying, andldquoYes we can, if we really want to.

andrdquo According to them, this however requires an election strategy that aims at collecting votes from the left wing, social democrat-leaning voters, conservative Kurds and even those close to the Hizmet movement. To achieve this, they claim, it is necessary to nominate candidates who would attract the votes of these groups.

The same HDP members are, however, not only unsure of who will decide on the nominations, but also whether the party really wants to pass the threshold. This is because there seems to be three different approaches in the ranks of the pro-Kurdish movement: 1) DemirtaI and the HDP leadership are convinced that the best way to achieve the Kurdish aims is to pursue a democratic, parliamentary struggle.

2) The PKK leader imprisoned on the island of ImralI, Abdullah calan, seems in favor of staying out of Parliament and thus allowing the AK Party to win as many seats as possible so that ErdoIan will be in a position to give Kurds what they want in the constitution to be adopted after the election. This probably explains why AK Party spokesmen have declared DemirtaI to be the andldquomain obstacleandrdquo to the peace process with the PKK.

3) The PKK leadership in the Kandil Mountains, on the other hand, seem inclined to not meeting the threshold so that there will be a legitimate reason to form a regional parliament of their own for Kurds.The pro-Kurdish movement certainly holds the key to the future of the regime in Turkey.

The following questions arise, however, if the above assumptions are valid: Will the HDP expend the effort necessary to pass the threshold? Assuming it does overcome the threshold, who will hold the reins of power within the movement: the HDP leadership, ImralI or Kandil? Since there are plenty of reasons to believe that it will not be the former, is it not likely that the HDP group in Parliament will support a presidential system in return for autonomy, a give-and-take deal with ErdoIan who obviously wants to hold on to power at all costs? Or are Ko and KIlIdaroIlu likely to be proven right.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman