Fragmentation of opposition signals failure to rule Türkiye

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There has been a reality in Türkiye’s politics for a long time. The main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), does not have enough votes to win the election against the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government.

Moreover, although 20 years have passed in power, Türkiye’s ruling Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) votes are around 40%, whereas the votes of the CHP are in the range of 25%-26%.

The CHP tried to go for an alliance model to overcome this severe problem. Primarily, the CHP joined forces with four small parties, namely the Felicity Party (SP), the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), the Future Party (GP) and the Democrat Party (DP). These four parties had a vote of seven points while participating in the alliance. However, their total votes have reduced to 2% since then. In addition, the Good Party (IP), a newly established party with approximate votes of 13%-14% support, also became a part of the opposition bloc called the Nation Alliance.

The Nation Alliance parties that came together to defeat President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan began to fight with each other, and in the crisis between the CHP and the IP, the IP lost about 5% of its votes. The IP had already lost some votes by then, and its stake, which was around 12% before the crisis, fell to 7%, and today it still does not seem to have left this deep trauma behind.

On the other hand, Türkiye has another party, the pro-PKK Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the candidates of which will run under the name of the Green Left Party (YSP) in the upcoming elections. The Marxist-Leninist Kurdish party YSP gets around 10%. On top of the IP, the CHP had to add the YSP to find a way to obtain a majority.

Identity issues in focus

The CHP was the founding party of the Republic of Türkiye and ruled the country alone as a single party for years. During those years, the CHP inflicted unforgettable trauma on several groups of society, no matter whether one is a Kurd, Alevi or devoutly religious. Those who experienced the trauma still remember it.

On the other hand, international powers use the phrase “the most important election of the year globally” for Türkiye’s elections. The foreign states seem very interested in how Türkiye will or will not govern itself, not who will win the election.

When you look into the parties’ campaigns, the HDP, i.e. the YSP, openly voices its thesis, especially autonomy and the Kurdish issue’s attaining a constitutional basis. On the other hand, the PKK terrorist organization expresses its thesis most radically to influence the political process by making its statements directly through the terrorist leaders in Qandil.

Apparently, the CHP, originally a left-wing party, can negotiate and get along with the Marxist HDP. However, the IP members, who have spent their entire lives walking a nationalist line, cannot adapt to the system as much as the CHP and HDP. Therefore, the “separation” of the IP is an option and a potential conflict on the agenda within the alliance.

Therefore, since essentially the IP is a nationalist party, the rapprochement of the CHP and the YSP makes it and its voters uneasy and causes a loss of lots of votes.

In this context, when you analyze the parties, the Nation Alliance, which is pretty successful in advertising its interest in winning the elections, finds it hard to answer the question of “How will you govern?” When asked this question, they try to defend themselves by quickly criticizing the government or listing its shortcomings.

Recently, The Economist magazine published an article stating that they expect Erdoğan to emerge victorious from the elections. One may come across similar articles all around the globe nowadays.

It seems the Nation Alliance has not been able to put forward a perspective on how to govern the country, and as the election approaches, I think it is time for the nation to compare the options and inquire how they will rule the country. Neither the electorate in Türkiye nor the international circles can offer any hope for how the Nation Alliance will govern the country. This deficiency will also affect the course of the election.

The Daily Sabah Newsletter

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