Turkey’s presidential election results has signaled an end of Erdogan’s single-party rule with his Justice and Development Party (AKP) suffering a shocking blow in the polls for the first time in more than twelve years landing the country again in a quandary.
The Turkish president’s AKP party lost parliamentary majority in the Sunday elections facing the lowest vote share ever by gaining only 258 out of the 550 seats, falling 18 seats short of majority. The party needed to win two-thirds of the seats in parliament. Erdogan, an Islamist and the country’s most popular leader, has been ruling the country ever since the success of AKP in 2002. He had been hoping to transform Turkey through constitutional amendment and creating a more powerful US style presidency in order to bolster his own powers. But his calculations misfired when Selahattin Demirtas’s People’s Democratic Party (HDP) swept 13 per cent of the votes through its progressive electoral agenda backed by Turkey’s Kurdish minority and the voters who opposed Erdogan’s increasing authoritarian political approach. The HDP, by crossing a threshold of 10 percent, thus becomes the first pro-Kurdish party to win a political representation in the National Assembly. Republican People's Party (CHP) that strongly opposed Erdogan’s pro-Islamic approaches and policies came up with 25 percent vote obtaining 132 seats. The third largest party was the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) gaining 16.5 percent by winning 81 seats.
As per the law, if a coalition government is not formed in 45 days, Erdogan can call for new elections. Demirtas can also form a minority government and face a new election if he fails to secure the vote of confidence. Despite the AKP wanting to form a government, the Opposition parties were reluctant to form a coalition with the ruling party due to its policies particularly the government’s Kurdish policy. According to the analysts, the Kurds abandoned Erdogan also due to Demirtas’s powerful influence. Erdogan after coming to power has pushed for more control of the judiciary and cracked down any form of criticisms against him. After the Arab Spring, with his modern Islamist approaches , Turkey that had been politically unstable under the fragile coalition governments was turned into potential model much to the envy of the Arab Spring countries and the Middle East which lacked democracy.
The Turkish economy boomed under Erdogan whose mature political stance and prudence also added to his fame. Even as he stood firm by his Islamist policies, he upheld secularism and showed consideration towards the Kurds who frequently spoiled the harmony with their issues of sectarianism. By nullifying the military security council which strives to topple every elected government, he had eliminated the even the least possible resistance against him. The ‘executive presidency’ akin to the US system was to replace the existing parliamentary system that would hinder his plans to achieve his goals. The changes in the constitution were seen upon by the people with skepticism. The authoritarian stand of Erdogan is still being complained about and is yet another reason for the blow. The racial polarization in the neighbouring countries of Iraq and Syria also influenced the Turkish kurds leading to the failure. A country which endorsed democracy, social justice and traditional moral values is apparently heading towards political stagnancy.