Lessons from the election

There are many lessons to be drawn from last Sundayand’s general election in Turkey.
First of all, we have to recall that the turnout was 86 percent, a record high, which allows us to say without hesitation that Turkish people are eager to be taken into account in political processes. When politicians become more inaccessible to ordinary people, when they start building visible and invisible walls around themselves and when they start taking aice from only a small clique, people feel the need to remind them that they exist, too. They express their frustration and their disappointment with their free votes.
It is obvious now that a considerable number of voters believe the presence of the Kurdish political movement in the Turkish Parliament is indispensable. Thanks to their support, the pro-Kurdish Peoplesand’ Democratic Party (HDP)rossed the 10 percent threshold, securing 80 seats in Parliament. There are many people who arenand’t of Kurdish origin or who still have doubts about the real purpose of the Kurdish movement but voted in favor of the HDP. First, because they believed this was the best way to punish the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and second because they are persuaded that the HDP should become a andquotnormalandquot player in Turkish political life.
The campaign period was particularly harsh this time. With their votes, people have shown that they donand’t need more fights, polarization or tension in the country. Most politicians used rhetoric based on words like motherland, nation, flag, religion, faith and so on, but people were perfectly aware that these electric speeches would not be enough to bring a stable political life or to improve their economic conditions. Politicians from all sides have used this rhetoric hundreds of times, so people have enough experience to know that these concepts are not sufficient to build a better future. One can no longer persuade people to vote for you just by using these words because people simply respond, andquotWell, Iand’m Turkish, and yes Iand’m Muslim, and I can now work or study wearing my headscarf, but so what?andquot People always want better conditions one canand’t expect them to be content with what they have already.
The outcome of the election also proves that the nation believes no single party can find solutions to the countryand’s problems. With their votes, people have asked political parties to find a compromise and build a coalition government. In other words, people would like to have one bit of every political partyand’s promises. They have had enough of watching politicians struggling with each other and now they want to see them negotiating.
Do politicians want the same? Will they be able to find a compromise? No one knows for sure. One canand’t expect, of course, political parties to deny their roots and find a compromise at all costs. One needs a common background, a common purpose to have viable cooperation. Politicians have to ask themselves, andquotWhat are we going to cooperate for?andquot
More democracy and more freedom can be the answer. They could develop a compromise to write a brand new constitution that would guarantee the rule of law, respect for human and minority rights and transparency. The AK Party, too, proposed a new constitution and a new regime, but apparently people didnand’t want them to write the new constitution alone.
All political actors have a great responsibility on their shoulders now. People have asked them to take into consideration those who feel alienated or discriminated against. If politicians resume their sterile struggles, one canand’t predict how people would respond to that in the next election. Everybody must keep in mind that a minor party can block the entire system, because 13 percent of the vote was sufficient this time to prevent a single-party government.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman