Turkey’s elections are over. What’s next?
AFP Turkey’s parliamentary elections are over, and the ruling AK Party emerged the clear victor with 47 percent of the vote. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s party fell short, however, of obtaining the two-thirds majority that would have allowed him to push his agenda through parliament without opposition. The AKP must now sit with members of ...
Turkey’s parliamentary elections are over, and the ruling AK Party emerged the clear victor with 47 percent of the vote. Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan’s party fell short, however, of obtaining the two-thirds majority that would have allowed him to push his agenda through parliament without opposition. The AKP must now sit with members of both the secular CHP (20 percent), the nationalist MHP (14 percent), and several independents under one roof.
So, what’s next for Turkish politics?
- Selecting the next president: First things first, the new government must pick its candidate for president. Although this is a largely ceremonial position, a perceived Islamist takeover of the presidency is what touched off secularist protests and led to these elections in the first place. So will AKP leaders choose one of their own (i.e. Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül), or will the victorious yet “humble” Erdogan reach out by finding a compromise candidate?
- A lively parliament: The election has brought 70 seats for the right-wing nationalist MHP party and 27 independent seats, which are mostly filled with pro-Kurdish representatives who are returning to parliament for the first time in more than a decade. This creates an interesting mix (to say the least), since the MHP’s main war cry was that Kurdish existence seriously threatens the Turkish identity. Mark Parris, former U.S. ambassador to Turkey, predicts colorful debate in the Turkish parliament… until healthy disagreement “degenerate[s] into a shouting match.”
- “Secular” opposition in shambles: The CHP, which tried to present itself as the guardian of Turkey’s secular identity, failed to successfully tap into the population’s fears of Islamic rule by the AKP. The CHP’s failure results in part from voters’ antipathy toward the party’s leader, Deniz Baykal, who refused to emerge from his home as the results were announced and now faces calls for resignation.
Most importantly, though, the end of the election means that Turkish vacationers can finally head back to the beaches, which have been deserted all summer.
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