The June 7 election in Turkey

The results of the June 7 general election in Turkey may have an impact on the foreign policy of the government to be formed after the election, but at the stage of forming a coalition government, their impact may remain limited.
In this article I will try to analyze the possible impacts of the election results on the foreign policy of a coalition government to be led by the Justice and Development Party (AK Party). The foreign policy of a government not led by the AK Party will be the subject of my next article.
Theoretically, a minority government formed by the AK Party is also conceivable, but it is not very likely in the present political landscape. After the elections, the AK Party has not closed the door for cooperation with any of the opposition parties. However, Peoplesand’ Democratic Party (HDP)o-chair Selahattin Demirtai has said that they are not interested in forming a coalition with the AK Party. If the HDP does not revise this position, the AK Party will have to try its luck with either of the two remaining opposition parties, namely the Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP) or the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
The CHP is entitled to sit at the bargaining table with more demands than the MHP since it will be holding more seats in the upcoming Parliament. This is the disaantageous side for the AK Party. But, a government coalition with a bigger party can more easily face the challenges put by the opposition parties.
A coalition with the MHP has the aantage that it is relatively smaller than the CHP. Therefore, its demands from the AK Party will have to be proportionate with its size. This is an aantage for the AK Party. However, both the AK Party and the MHP are apprehensive that their cooperation may cause a loss of support from one party to the other at the grassroots level.
Despite the firm stand adopted by the HDP on possible cooperation to form a coalition government with the AK Party, a possible agreement should not be ruled out entirely. If the AK Partyand’s efforts to form a government with the CHP or the MHP remain fruitless, it may offer additional incentives to the HDP to persuade the latter to become its junior partner. The and”democratization process,and” also known as the and”Kurdish opening,and” was after all a common initiative of the AK Party and the HDP. This panacea may help the HDP to put aside its initial rejection and persuade it eventually to become the junior coalition partner of the AK Party.
No matter which major opposition parties become AK Partyand’s coalition partner, the results of the election will have an impact on foreign policy. Both the CHP and the MHP are emphatically opposed to the AK Party governmentand’s position on many foreign policy issues, especially on Syria and Egypt.
The CHP was very critical of Turkeyand’s Syria and Egypt policies and has come with concrete proposals on how to mend it. Former Ambassador Murat andcelik, the CHPand’s deputy chairman in charge of international relations, is a brilliant career diplomat with deep knowledge on Iraq since he served as Turkeyand’s ambassador to Baghdad before serving as under-secretary for security affairs. What Turkey was doing in Iraq was not too different from what Ambassador andcelik was doing there as ambassador. The CHPand’s approach to Turkeyand’s policy on Israel and Libya is also different from that of the AK Party, but it may not make a change in such areas a precondition for agreeing to form a coalition government.
The AK Partyand’s policy on the EU accession process is not very different from that of the CHP. At one stage, the CHP was more conservative than the AK Party on taking steps to abide by EU criteria. On Cyprus, the CHP is definitely less flexible than the AK Party. Therefore, one can only hope that the favorable new atmosphere after the election of Mustafa Akinci as president of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (KKTC) will not be wasted.
If the coalition is formed with the MHP, no concrete progress can be expected in the Kurdish question. This may also affect Turkeyand’s relations with Iraqi Kurds and its policy toward Syrian Kurds.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman