Turkey’s ‘ErdoIan problem’

The phrase belongs to Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kiliandcdaroilu, who is currently conducting coalition talks with the Justice and Development Party (AK Party). He accuses President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of being the andquotsource of all [Turkeyand’s] problems.andquot
As a matter of fact, we may cast this accusation into a more objective mold and use it for political analysis. Erdogan is continuing to play a decisive role in all current political developments, just as he did in the run-up to the general election. But this role is now driven by completely negative dynamics. Democratic processes, rules and players have been replaced by presidential intrigues, and Erdogan is trying to implement his own political plan using the means available to him.
What is Erdoganand’s political plan? Here is how Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahandceli sums it up: andquotHe failed to ensure a transition to a presidential system. His party lost power. He is afraid that the investigation into the graft and bribery scandals that went public on Dec. 17, 2013 will be re-launched. He is seeking to put his party back into power with a coalition government or via a snap election so that he can ensure his immunity from that investigation.andquot
Though it may sound simplistic, Bahandceliand’s analysis has exposed the basic rationale of the presidentand’s intriguing in black and white. Erdogan knows that if a government is formed, the graft investigation will certainly be re-launched. He is trying to gain time and change the circumstances that shape electoral preferences and ensure that his party can secure enough seats in Parliament to form a single-party government.
The proposal that the AK Party establish a minority government, apparently with support from the MHP, was quickly rejected by Erdogan because it gives Parliament the latitude to take action regarding the re-launching of the graft probe. This probe is not a red line for both sides in a coalition government to be established by the AK Party because it has nothing to do with the governmentand’s functioning it is more of a task for Parliament. Even if a coalition government is formed and this matter is not negotiated during the coalition talks, the probe will take its natural course. To prevent it, a secret deal has to be made. It has to be secret because parties are precluded from forcing their deputies to vote in a specific manner about this matter. So, if a coalition government is established, the graft probe will be reopened after the truth emerges. As Bahandceli noted, Turkey will go to elections after the presidentand’s intrigues create the suitable circumstances. With the exploratory talks between the AK Party and the CHP, the president is buying himself much-needed time for his intrigues. andOmer andcelik, who is conducting the talks on behalf of the AK Party, betrays the andquotdiversionandquot tactic by stressing that they are conducting andquotconsultations,andquot not andquotnegotiations,andquot and that the talks between the party leaders would start after the Supreme Military Council (YAi) meeting. In its headline story, the Cumhuriyet newspaper wrote that andcelikand’s assignment as the head of the AK Partyand’s coalition team is part of the conspiracy because this has irked even Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoilu.
Terror is the main instrument with which to toy with electoral preferences. The Kurdistan Workersand’ Party (PKK) had a misguided plan. In order to strengthen its hand in Syria, it threatened Turkey to put an end to the truce, thereby giving Erdogan a much-needed opportunity. In a potential election, the AK Party can secure enough seats in Parliament to form a single-party government only if the pro-Kurdish Peoplesand’ Democratic Partyand’s (HDP) votes decrease substantially. Escalating terror can ensure this decline. Indeed, any change in electoral support for the CHP or the MHP would not give the AK Party enough seats in Parliament to become a single-party government. Erdogan benefits from the MHPand’s harsh stance against the HDP.
The Education Ministry is refusing to comply with the Constitutional Courtand’s decision regarding prep schools and Erdogan is lobbying for the closure of Turkish schools in Indonesia. This is proof that the June 7 election hasnand’t reduced Erdoganand’s personal and arbitrary domain of influence. The presence of such a domain is a serious problem for the countryand’s politics because it inhibits the establishment of the new government as well as stability in the country and effective counterterrorism.