Playing with fire

The pro-Kurdish Peoplesand’ Democratic Party (HDP), which had been appealing to just a certain portion of Kurdish voters until recently, has turned over a new leaf. Having secured a high percentage of the vote in the presidential election, the HDP has apparently decided to find out if they can appeal to the entire country.
The HDPand’s decision to enter the parliamentary election as a party in the election slated for June 7 — instead of using the independent candidate strategy as it did in previous elections to evade the 10 percent election threshold — seems to have created much uneasiness in the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).
The warm atmosphere between the HDP and the AK Party called the settlement process — the nature of which is unknown to all other parties and the public — is now way behind them. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is known to be in favor of a Turkish-type presidential system. Having already urged voters to support the ruling party and ensure that it secures at least 400 seats in Parliament so that the presidential system can be smoothly implemented, he has revealed that he is not impartial, as the president is required to be. If the HDP manages to pass the election threshold, this would deal the greatest blow to AK Party parliamentary seats. Every seat the HDP secures in Parliaments is taken from the AK Party. Consequently, the AK Party would not be able to form a single-party government and could not implement the presidential system dream of Erdogan.
The HDPand’s successful performance at election rallies, and that of its co-chair, Selahattin Demirtai, have taken the AK Party by surprise. A young and engaging leader who can appeal to every member of society and who can boldly criticize the president and send ironic messages may muster unexpected electoral support for the HDP. The armed attacks and smear campaign attempts of the HDP aim to undermine the interest that Turkish voters, particularly those with leftistliberal tendencies, may develop in Demirtai. They seek to create an atmosphere of contention and quarrel between the pro-Kurdish HDP and the pro-Turkish MHP, sending the message to the voters, andquotIf you donand’t vote for the ruling party, violence will come and chaos will ensue and the economy will be disrupted.and”
Last week, these attacks were amassed into a big wave of violence, as two bomb attacks simultaneously targeted the HDPand’s election offices, seriously wounding a number of people. andquotWe got the message, but we will still not allow you to become the president of a presidential system,andquot Demirtai said, referring to Erdogan, and implying that the responsibility for the attacks lies with the AK Party and Erdogan. This is a very serious accusation and we donand’t have any choice other than to hope it is not true. But the claim here is that certain and”deepand” and shady forces may be behind these attacks because they donand’t like the idea of the HDP undermining the AK Partyand’s power.
Using the holy Quran at election rallies was already an unusual move that can hardly be endorsed. If someone seeks to use violence against political rivals in an effort to eliminate them, then this is a very serious situation. If those who are behind these attacks are linked to the ruling party as some suggest, then it means that there are politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen who are afraid of the possibility of the current ruling party leaving the government through democratic means and the new ruling party launching investigations into unlawfulness and corruption.
Those who donand’t want to see this election as an end to their dream of establishing absolute power for themselves may resort to all sorts of methods. The claim that all dissident and critical media outlets and Internet sites will be silenced with the approval of the government has so far not been refuted. The Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) employed the same method after staging a coup against the government. They arrested or killed all dissident journalists.
The main opposition Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP) has issued a report detailing the potential election rigging methods the AK Party may attempt to use. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) had to send election observers. We still cannot be certain that the election will not be rigged. In 1913, the CUP undertook certain unlawful acts, accompanied by violence, during elections. Those elections came to be remembered as andquotelections with sticks.andquot
The coming election, in which the AK Party is tapping all the state power available to it and undermining its rivalsand’ right to speech and expression, and which is accompanied by violent attacks, will hopefully not lead to the elimination of social peace in the country. Those who play with fire get burned as well.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman