Erdogan biding his time

Posted: July 17, 2015 in Middle East, Turkey
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Hurriyet Daily News, 17 July 2015
Only two options left in Turkish political scene

Before entering the three-day Ramadan Bayram, the Muslim holiday marking the end of the fasting month of Ramadan (Eid-al-Fitr in Arabic), Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has completed his “exploratory” talks with the leaders of other three parties for the next stage of coalition talks …

Davutoğlu rules out any partnership with the Kurdish problem-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), despite saying he observed a moderation in the tone of HDP speech regarding the Kurdish issue and relations with the government.

The picture leaves the Turkish political scene with only two options in practice:

(1) Either a Grand Coalition between the AK Parti and the CHP, or
(2) Going to another election.

That would most probably be a re-election rather than an early one, because the constitution suggests that if none of the parties will be able to form a government in 45 days after the first mandate was given by the president (which was on July 9), the elections could be repeated.

Despite his statements urging a coalition government, almost in everyone in political backstage of Ankara believes that the real aim of President Tayyip Erdoğan has been to take the country to another election in order to give another chance to the AK Parti to re-gain its power to form a single party government.

Erdoğan could be right in trying to stay away from a coalition government since it could limit his moves to direct the daily politics, unlike an AK Parti government.

Davutoğlu underlines he was sincere in his desire for a coalition, especially with the CHP, since it could enable a broad-based government, which could be good for the economy and also provide a new and more democratic constitution, including an acceptable solution to the Kurdish problem. But he is well aware of the “sensitivities” of the President, his political leader who was among the founding triumvirate of the AK Parti.

Under the circumstances, it seems the probability of a re-election is currently higher than the probability of a Grand Coalition among the only two options in Turkey’s political scene.


BBC News online, 8 June 2015
Recep Tayyip Erdogan – Turkey’s bruised battler

Recep Tayyip Erdogan has dominated Turkish politics for more than a decade, but now his Justice and Development (AK) Party is reeling from an election that has loosened its grip on power. Deprived of a majority in parliament for the first time since 2002, the Islamist-rooted AKP cannot easily form a coalition.

And the election appears to have scuppered Mr Erdogan’s plans to turn Turkey into a presidential state and concentrate more power in his hands. After 11 years as prime minister, in August 2014 he became Turkey’s first directly-elected president, in what remains a largely ceremonial role.

But critics have increasingly accused the 61-year-old leader of polarising the country – by brooking no dissent and harbouring a secret agenda to turn Turkey into a fundamentally conservative Muslim society.

He has picked high-profile fights with some powerful vested interests – the staunchly secularist military establishment and a US-based Islamic scholar, Fethullah Gulen, who runs a huge network of supporters.

Read entire article for history of Erdogan’s rise to power:

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