What happened in Turkey? Return of a Sultan?
President Erdogan’s AKP has won a decisive victory over its political opponents, the Kemalist CHP and the pro-Kurdish HDP. Winning roughly half of the popular vote, Erdogan can now once again rely on an absolute majority in the Turkish parliament.
Erdogan had called the elections because of the surprisingly strong showing of the rival HDP party in the last round of voting. This had made it impossible for him to rule the country alone, without a coalition partner.
The Kemalist CHP party, which stands for a stronger Western orientation of the counrty came in second with 25 % of the vote. Having ruled Turkey for decades the party has still not recovered from many years of corruption and failed to win but 7 of the countries westernmost districts, includng the city of Izmir.
The pro-Kurdish HDP once again surpassed the 10% hurdle required to get into parliament.
The results of the election leave Turkey deeply split. Right after the winner was announced thousands of AKP supporters flocked to the streets to ridicule their vanquished opponents. “Sons of bitches, leave the country!” the mob shouted in front of an TV station run by political opponents. Spurred on by the AKP’s leaders, the language of hatred has once again found its way into the politcal contestation.
Erdogan’s government has shown increasingly autocratic tendencies in recent years. Sharing power with other parties is definitely not part of the AKP’s plan, now they won’t have to.
It is to be hoped that Erdogan, now that he has cemented his power, will cease to exploit Turkey’s deep cultural and political rifts for his own political gain. Given the common threat of ISIS, there is a real chance now to get back on track with the Turkish- Kurdish reconciliation process, and Turkey needs to quickly calm down after this heated political battle, to get the country’s Kurdish, and its foreign policy back on track.