Red lines becomes blurred as coalition talks start

Following Sundayand’s general election, in which no single party managed to get enough seats in Parliament to form a government alone, party leaders have said they will push for a coalition, with the implication that they could be ready to put aside some of their political differences for the sake of forming a government.
Turkeyand’s interim prime minister, Ahmet Davutoilu, said in an interview on state broadcaster TRT on Wednesday night that an early election would only be considered only if chances for a coalition government are exhausted. Davutoilu also dismissed claims by a pro-government daily that his party has some red lines that partners of a potential coalition with his Justice and Development Party (AK Party) would need to obey.
andquotNobody can announce red lines of behalf of the AK Party,andquot he said.
Davutoilu underlined that all options would be on the table in forming a coalition, noting that defining red lines before coalition talks had even started would be andquotagainst the nature of politics.andquot
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has joined Davutoilu in saying that efforts should be made for a coalition government to be formed. During a ceremony in Ankara on Thursday, Erdogan said, and”Everyone should put aside his ego [and] a government should be formed in our country as soon as possible.and” Noting that he would undoubtedly carry out the duties conferred to him by the Constitution for the formation of a government, Erdogan stressed that those who would block the formation of a government because of their egos would be held responsible before history and the nation.
Some people claimed, following the elections, that Erdogan might choose to call for snap elections instead of tasking the leader of the second-largest party to form a government should Davutoilu, who would first be conferred the task as leader of the winning party, fail to form a coalition government. Although the ruling AK Party emerged victorious in the election by receiving almost 41 percent of the vote, it failed to obtain the 276 seats needed to secure an absolute majority in the 550-seat Parliament, which is necessary to form a single-party government.
According to temporary elections results announced by the Supreme Election Board (YSK) on Tuesday, the AK Party won 259 seats with 40.92 percent of the vote. The main opposition Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP) got 131 seats with 24.78 of the vote. As for the other two opposition parties in Parliament, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) received 79 seats by securing 16.25 percent of the vote, while the pro-Kurdish Peoplesand’ Democratic Party (HDP) received 13.42 of the vote, securing 81 seats in Parliament.
CHP leader Kemal Kiliandcdaroilu, who has made it clear several times that he favors a coalition government over early elections, has said once again his party would do its best for the formation of a government.
In a Twitter message on Thursday, the CHP leader said: and”Let everybody know that we will make assessments based on shared wisdom in the party to realize, by protecting our values, our [election] promisesandhellip Nobody should doubt that we have been doing our best to this end.and”
The official results of the election are expected to be announced by the YSK by June 20, following which Davutoilu is to start formally meeting with the leaders of the other parties for coalition talks.
In an apparently veiled reference to a recent surprise meeting between Erdogan and Deniz Baykal, a veteran CHP deputy, Davutoilu underlined during the TRT interview that Erdogan was not part of any coalition negotiations with opposition parties and that he would only step in if a crisis emerged. Davutoilu also called on all political figures to act within the limits allowed by the Constitution, which appeared to be a reference to Erdogan.
President Erdogan has been harshly criticized by opposition parties for having acted like the president of the AK Party rather than of the whole nation since being elected president last year. By so doing, the opposition argues, Erdogan has lost his impartiality as president, a requirement of the Constitution. Yet another major criticism by the opposition towards Erdogan is his meddling in the affairs of the government and those of the AK Party, in violation of the Constitution.
HDP Co-chair Selahattin Demirtai once again said on Thursday that his party is open to all options for a coalition government, other than with the AK Party. andquotPulling Turkey into debates over early elections will not help. We believe Turkey has to continue on its way by forming a coalition,andquot he told reporters in Ankara.
Erdogan assigned Davutoilu, after the latter presented his resignation following the election, as interim prime minister until a new government is formed.
Davutoiluand’s referral to andquotred linesandquot is an obvious reference to a report in the pro-government Sabah daily that enumerated on Tuesday the AK Partyand’s red lines in coalition talks as follows: and”The continuation of a settlement process launched to resolve the countryand’s Kurdish issue and terrorism problem, President Erdoganand’s legitimacy as president and the continuation of the fight against members of an alleged and’parallel structureand’ nested in the state institutions.andquot
The right-wing MHP is seen as one of the most suitable coalition candidates for the conservative AK party, but messages leading MHP officials have given since the election do not inspire much hope.
In fact, MHP leader Devlet Bahandceli said on the night of the election that the AK Party should try forming a coalition government with the main opposition CHP and the pro-Kurdish HDP, appearing to rule out any possibility of cooperation with the AK Party.
But in a Twitter message on Wednesday evening, the MHP leader, who seemed to have somewhat softened his tone, said accounts should first be settled with the AK Party for the legacy it has left after 13 years in power.
Calling on AK Party officials to practice self-criticism regarding past mistakes, Bahandceli said: and”Can a compromise be possible before the settling of accounts? If we forget the past while looking at the future, would we lose our existence or dignity?and”
As Bahandceliand’s message reveals, the MHP would only agree to join forces in a coalition government with the AK Party if its demands are met.
The risk of failure in negotiations is possible given that the prerequisites voiced by parties so far make it difficult to reach a compromise.
One of the major demands set forth by the MHP is the termination of the settlement process, which the MHP maintains is a process that would lead to the disintegration of the country.
But Davutoilu said in the TRT interview that the AK Party has decided to go ahead with the settlement process with the outlawed Kurdistan Workersand’ Party (PKK) no matter what the outcome of coalition negotiations with opposition parties.
Another MHP demand is that Erdogan remain impartial as president and not get involved, in violation of the Constitution, in the affairs of the government or the AK Party.
Yet another MHP prerequisite that is hard for the AK Party to swallow is holding hose AK Party members who were allegedly involved in corruption — as was revealed by two graft probes that went public in December 2013 — legally accountable for their actions.
The probes revealed, based on evidence in the investigation file, that Erdogan as well as four then-Cabinet ministers of the AK Party were involved in corruption. The charges against the suspects were dropped last year by prosecutors who were assigned by the government after the removal of those who had launched the graft probes.
CHP Deputy Chairman Sezgin Tanrikulu said in a live broadcast on Thursday that the party first seeks a coalition in which the AK Party is not a partner.
Noting that the nation removed the AK Party from power, Tanrikulu underlined during her interview on NTV that opposition parties should cooperate to call the AK Party to account for the corruption.
Noting that all opposition parties promised to do so, the CHP deputy chairman called on the MHP to offer support for a possible coalition between the CHP and the pro-Kurdish HDP.
He also said he has difficulty understanding why the MHP resists offering support to a coalition in which the HDP is a partner.
Unless all the three opposition parties — CHP, MHP and HDP — come together, no coalition government formula is possible without the AK Party. The total number of deputies the CHP, MHP and HDP have is short of reaching the required 276 seats.
Yusuf Halaandcoilu, the MHPand’s parliamentary group deputy chairman, once again underlined on Wednesday that the party would not be part of any coalition in which the HDP is involved.