Time for reckoning

The unexpected has happened: The Turkish electorate has shown its wisdom.
I have been writing for months now that this was our last chance to make a democratic correction. And, indeed the Turkish electorate has made that correction in such a resounding way that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) has still not been able to recover from the shock. Democracy at work is truly a feat to observe.
The time for reckoning has come. Pro-government circles are busy blaming each other for past mistakes. Some of them suddenly have begun to write very candid columns about what went wrong. The thing is, we have been warning them for the last two years and were blamed for trying to undermine the government. Nothing is more powerful than the truth and the truth is that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has taken the party to the extreme. Most pundits were expecting this correction to take place in the local election last year, but societies need more time to digest monumental developments such as the Gezi Park protests, the Dec. 17 and 25, 2013 corruption scandals and the suffocating authoritarianism that become so intolerable to many citizens.
Many coalition scenarios are in the air. There will be extremely critical strategizing and horseandshy-trading going on in this process. However, the fact is that for the first time in 13 years, the opposition parties will have a majority in Parliament. This will have serious implications for the AKP and potentially for Erdogan himself. Although no one should discount the possibility that we may have an early election, I still think that some sort of coalition will emerge. The AKP will prefer to be part of a coalition because that will give the party more influence over developments in the coming months. The key issue for all potential coalition partners will be the corruption charges against the four AKP ministers and keeping Erdogan within the Constitutionand’s confines. Also, many bureaucratic posts will have to be reshuffled because a new coalition partner will surely demand changes in the bureaucracy. It would be no surprise if the judiciary will also see its share of this reshuffling. Of course, it is much too early to speculate but there is no doubt that we will see major changes in the overall atmosphere in Ankara. Even if a coalition government is formed, we may not see a full completion of the 25th session of Parliament. Hence, we are in for quite eventful days in Ankara.
The most important issue, though, is the public urge for a restitution of justice to the system. A considerable part of our society is expecting that those responsible for the excesses of the last three years will be held accountable. The four ministers will have to face the Supreme State Council. Many judges, prosecutors and police officers were unjustly appointed to irrelevant posts, some have been dismissed while others were charged because they unearthed corruption. Some journalists have been held in prison for extended periods. All of these issues need to be resolved.
It is natural that the bargaining among parties will continue for some time. We will have to get used to life with coalitions. The wildcard in this equation is Erdogan. It is not clear what he will allow Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoilu to agree to in any coalition negotiation. We will probably learn more of what Erdogan has in mind in the coming days. That said, it appears there is a lot of soul-searching within the AKP as well. We are in for some volatile days, but it is certainly refreshing to feel the air of pluralism and democracy again.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman