Turkey’s 2015 election results

Turkey’s parliamentary elections were held on June 7, 2015. Results shows that Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the sole loser of the elections.
The Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its majority in Parliament for the first time since 2002. A coalition government will rule Turkey henceforward. Democracy is a regime of deliberation, conventional wisdom and prudence. Elections are the main instruments of democracy. You may be wrong today, yet, you will have a chance to correct yourself in future. It gives you an opportunity to do so. In democracy, citizens express themselves during election time. Especially in electoral democracies like Turkey, they only have a chance to say something through their votes at these times. When their government goes off the road, the voters listen to the voice of their conscience. Turkey’s election results can be read as a fine-tuning of Turkish politics in this respect. The public observed a fast shift to authoritarianism and stopped it. The Turkish public preferred democracy to autocracy. With these results, Erdogan’s personal authority and arbitrary pressure on the media, bureaucracy, judiciary, economy, business and civil society was lost immediately, not entirely but sufficiently. When the results were announced, Turkey was relaxed. The Turkish public started to be able to breathe freely again. Although competition in the elections was unfair and in favor of the AKP, opposition parties achieved downgrading the AKP share of votes by 20 percent compared to the last parliamentary elections in 2011. Its vote share felt from 49 to 40 percent.
In addition to having a vote of confidence and sustaining a majority in Parliament, a government has to guarantee at least 276 seats in the 550-seats Parliament. None of the parties obtained a majority in Parliament. Even the AKP cannot singlehandedly form a new government. It needs a partner, but the others do not want to be involved in a coalition with the party.
Without any doubt the results reflect the social configuration of Turkey. The difficulty here is that Turkish politics is not only a source of social polarization but also the by-product of it. Turkey’s political culture is not based on negotiating and meeting in the middle ground to solve problematic issues. For that matter, Turkey’s coalition experiences were not promising. This is the major challenge for parties in Parliament.
The results indicates that the CHP, MHP and the HDP will shape the faith of Turkey. Citizens gave credit to the CHP, MHP and HDP on the condition that they compromise with each other against authoritarianism under Parliament’s roof. Indeed they gambled for high stakes. They favored a risky coalition instead of a stable authoritarianism. For Turkey, the results are an opportunity and a threat at the same time.
The three parties should act with responsibility under the burden of this credit given. If they achieve to come together in the middle ground to solve Turkey’s current major issues — getting back to the rule of law, limiting the president’s power, opening up corruption cases closed by the previous government, hindering waste in the government, freeing media and expression, non-interference in the judiciary and independent state agencies, and rehabilitating Turkey’s foreign policy — Turkey will recover and feel at peace in the short term.
By doing this, they have to put their ideological priorities put away for a while. The CHP may play a critical role to balance expectations of Turkish nationalists in the MHP and Kurdish nationalists in the HDP and neo-nationalists in the CHP. I think this CHP-led coalition will have great support internationally from the European Union and US and domestically from Turkish business conglomerates, intellectuals and moderate civil society. Of course,Erdogan and the AKP will try anything so they do not achieve this. This is where the opportunity lies in the election results. If the parties do not agree on the major issues and fall out with each other on the distribution of power in the government, the Turkish public will remember Turkey’s old, bad coalition experiences in the 1990s that left Turkey unstable and full of economic crises. This will probably introduce pressure for early elections on Parliament. Apparently, the AKP will be the single beneficiary of the elections by having a majority in Parliament again. I think none of the three party supporters will wish to confront this risky consequence. It is time to deal on Turkey’s future together. Aware of these risks and opportunities, the CHP, MHP and HDP leaders should make a detailed cost and benefit analysis and take decisions carefully. Otherwise a probable return of the AKP will not be the same as before, it will be even worst.