In the wake of the elections, AKP and all the other parties have to contemplate the past, learn from the mistakes and start over with a brand new outlook
The Justice and Development Party (AKP), the victor of three general elections, three local elections, two referendums and one presidential election, with an ever-rising profile for its 13-year reign, once again came out as the number one party in the June 7 elections, albeit losing the majority to form a government. Another significant outcome was that the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), which is backed behind the scenes by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), overcame the election threshold of 10 percent and entered the national council with 80 parliamentarians. This situation has lots of implications for the future of Turkey. The AKP’s voters sent the party an important message by taking away nine percent of its votes. At this point, it is important to analyse this message prudently and introduce comprehensive changes to build new policies.
The AKP government has brought Turkey to a position that many would not even have dared to imagine 13 years ago. From infrastructure to healthcare and from urbanisation to social rights, the party has taken amazing leaps in development. The country was normalised by the efforts of the AKP. For the Turks, matters like the economy, roads and development always come second after the security, safety, peace and integrity of the country. The people assessed the debates regarding the presidential system in the past year as a part of this approach. In this election, the Turkish voters gave a clear message that they would never accept a presidential system that would eventually lead to federalism and the division of the country. Those who were alarmed and horrified at the prospect of disintegration as a result of the presidential system expressed their apprehensions at the ballot box.
One of the most important factors affecting the election results is the security flaws in eastern and southeastern Anatolia. PKK and its various extensions have almost become a state unto themselves own and even set up courts, appointed prosecutors and judges and built security forces. Contrary to widely voiced claims, PKK did not lose power during the process of negotiations and did not abandon its weapons. What happened in truth is that they got almost complete control of the region. The number of their recruits has increased significantly and they have shifted from light to heavy weaponry. It is now almost impossible to do anything in the region unless approved by the PKK and no political party, including AKP, can move freely in the region.
Southeast Turkey’s new order of the PKK is now dominant in the region. The PKK has sent the message that the government cannot protect the public but they will. The state has kept silent in the face of this message. The people believe that they need to vote for the HDP to prevent any possible upheaval in the region. The people were thus led to a general consensus that eastern and southeastern Anatolia should be given to the PKK.
The priority of the new government, which is yet to be formed, is definitely securing stability in these regions, regaining the regional dominance now held by the PKK and providing a safe and democratic environment where the public can move safely, speak freely and vote freely. In the wake of the elections, AKP and all the other parties have to contemplate the past, learn from the mistakes and start over with a brand new outlook. Having policies that ensure peace in society is almost as important as abandoning the idea of a presidential system. Libertarian policies on the media, the justice system and for people with different outlooks and an all-encompassing, open-minded approach will surely make a positive impact. The fact that political parties that can speak the same language as the youth and have a positive outlook are widely embraced and welcomed proves the importance of such policies.
Day by day, women become more active in society and politics and this has played a crucial role in the development of the country. It is of course commendable that AKP had 42 female candidates in these elections, 16 of whom wear headscarves, but it is far from being enough. Parties that pay great attention to women will always be rewarded by people and it is clear that all political parties in Turkey have a lot more to do in this area by giving more place to women in their list of candidates.
AKP can build the enlightened, modern and secular political model that champions women’s rights and freedoms that the Turks seek. AKP administrators should be open to well-intentioned criticism. Any structure that is averse to criticism, consultation and contemplation will eventually stumble. It is of paramount importance for the good of the country that AKP acknowledges this message and that they cease to pursue a presidential system and prove once again that they are a democratic and innovative party with a modern outlook on religion that works for the entire population. This strategy would allow AKP to play a pioneering role in the country’s stabilisation.
The Turkish people did not give the majority of the votes to any single party, showing their desire for a coalition government, and chose peace and welfare for society. AKP is still the number one party and has 16 percent more votes than its closest rival. It is feasible to attain the anticipated level again by assessing this message and responding to it in the best way to meet the demands of our people.
Adnan Oktar's piece on Daily Times & MBC Times: