Negotiations between Turkey’s plurality Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) haven’t been able to produce an agreement on forming a coalition government. The two parties reportedly differed on foreign policy and the role that President Tayyip Erdoğan should play in directly governing the country, among other issues, and CHP head Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu never shook the feeling that AKP merely wanted to use CHP to form a short-term government while shoring up its position for new elections in the near future. It’s been two months since elections cost AKP its outright majority in parliament, and it seems pretty likely at this point that new elections will have to be held sometime this fall.
It’s likely that Erdoğan and PM Ahmet Davutoğlu will keep up their military campaign against the PKK at least through the elections, in the hopes that disaffected former AKP voters will be inclined to come back to the party in order to create stability in a time of war. The beatings have to continue until morale improves, you know. But AKP’s losses in the June election were largely due to conservative Kurds, who usually vote with AKP for religious/ideological reasons, defecting to the mostly-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) because of how AKP has been treating Kurds along both sides of the Turkey-Syria border. The conventional wisdom after the election was that HDP’s dramatic gains were due to its decision to position itself as the generic “left” party rather than a purely Kurdish party, but a dive into the numbers shows otherwise.
AKP has now upped the ante by actually ramping up violence against the Kurds. In other words, the party appears to have learned a lesson from the June elections that’s pretty much 180 degrees removed from reality. Unless they’ve made themselves so anti-Kurd as to appeal to racists who voted for the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in June, AKP may find itself still struggling to get its majority back.
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