The AKP, Kurds, pollster wars and chaos

The Justice and Development Party (AKP) has been working with five different polling companies.Almost all of them are owned by staunchly pro-AKP people. Some of them were candidates for the AKP in parliamentary elections and some of them have wives who are AKP deputies.

The pro-AKP pollsters claim that the AKP vote is around 43-45 percent (with an increasing trend) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) vote is around 9-10 percent. On the other hand, the companies that are regarded as more objective, such as Metropoll and Gezici — and also some that work for foreign observers — show a decreasing trend for the AKP vote and an increasing trend for the HDP. Their estimates arrive at between 38-42 percent for the AKP and 10-13 percent for the HDP.

Why are these two parties especially important and why do I not mention other serious contenders such as the Republican People’s Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) or the Felicity Party (SP)-Grand Unity Party (BBP) alliance? Because these two parties’ (the AKP and the HDP) votes will decide if the AKP can form a one-party government. If the AKP gets around 43-45 percent and HDP just below the draconian 10 percent threshold, the AKP will continue to establish its despotism in the country. Until 2019, there will not be any elections and in 2019, the elections will only be Assad-type elections. Thus, it seems that the pro-AKP pollsters are trying to get people ready for such a scenario: 43-45 percent for the AKP (if possible 48-50, of course) and 9.8-9.9 percent for the HDP. If they rig the elections with the help of the intelligence agency, electricity cuts during the counting (blamed on cats!), the state news agency monopoly on announcing the results or computer games (!) etc., the public will say “ok, that was what the polls were suggesting, anyway,” This is what the AKP seems to be planning. However, this time, this game plan may not work. For the first time in Turkey’s democratic electoral history, the number of people who do not believe that the elections will be fair is at its maximum. About half of the population does not believe that the elections will not be rigged. This is a very serious figure. What is more, the millions of Kurds who support the HDP think that this is their last chance of being an equal citizen in a democratic Turkey. If they believe that the AKP has stolen their votes and that the Turks from all parties watched this happen passively, then this will bring about tremendous consequences. The Kurds will start to think that a joint future with Turks is not possible and they will force their de facto autonomous local political and even judicial institutions. As a matter of fact, the Kurdish region of Turkey is ready for such a “plan B.” Many among the HDP and especially those in Kandil see this as a win-win situation, meaning that the Kurds will win both if they pass or fail to achieve the threshold. However, since this is not Czechoslovakia, this will not be painless. Millions of Kurds live in Turkish-majority western parts of the country and millions of them have married with Turks, are Turko-Kurdish or have Turko-Kurdish children. And this is not Europe the end of our marriage will not be civilized or based on negotiations — or without the interference of countless third parties who would love to play their own games. Turkey’s, Turks’ and Kurds’ bright future is only with an EU-style democratic Turkey and the first precondition of such a road-map is free and fair elections. The AKP government must convince the public that it has not stolen the votes of the Kurds. I know that the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan-Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoilu couple are not aware of the consequences of their dirty game plan since one of them (Erdogan) does not have any other choice but dictatorship and the other is immersed in “amour de soi” (selfshy-love). But I still want to hope and believe that at least some of the AKP guys can act wisely! Let us hope!