Turkey’s political system is constituted from four political parties: the Justice and Development Party (JDP) or Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP) in Turkish; the Republican People’s Party or Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (CHP); the Nationalist Movement Party or Milliyetçi Hareket Partisi (MHP); and the Peoples’ Democratic Party or Halklarin Demokratik Partisi (HDP).
Since 2002, the AKP had been winning the Turkish elections by getting the majority of the votes. However, during the June 7, 2015 parliamentary elections, the AKP won only 40.9% of the votes, less than the thirteen-year average of 51%. Thus, for the first time since 2002, the AKP will not be the ruling party. Before June 7th, the AKP’s goal was to win most of the votes in order to rule the country and even be able to change the constitution.
Right now, the government has not yet been formed in Turkey. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Turkey’s president, gave Ahmet Davutoğlu, AKP’s leader, 45 days to form the new government. Ahmet Davutoğlu needs to form the new government with a coalition with either the CHP or the MHP, the two parties who got the second and third largest number of votes during the elections. However, MHP put forth various conditions to form a coalition with the AKP. For example, the MHP said it would form a coalition with the AKP only if the president resigned, because Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has become very authoritarian. We are still in the 45 days period and the end is uncertain since the other parties can refuse AKP’s demand. Furthermore, if they do, there will be anticipated elections.
Why did people vote less for the AKP this time? It appears that, firstly, people started to rebel against the president’s atrocious acts at the time of the Gezi Park events when the prime minister wanted to destroy a park in Istanbul. Secondly, the event in Soma, a city in the Western part of Turkey, caused a massive rebellion: a drastic mine disaster caused the death of a great number of mineworkers. Before the disaster, people knew that the mine was not secure and that AKP offered scant rescue efforts. This caused fear and distrust in people. Furthermore, people wanted Turkey to be a democratic and secular country. They dreamt of the Turkey Atatürk, the first president of the country, had built as the foundation of the republic in 1923. On the contrary, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has limited Turkish democracy and modernity by making conservative changes. For example, he imposed religion lessons in schools.
To go further, during this period of 45 days, not only the population, but also foreigners, who looked forward to invest in the country, have been hesitant because of the uncertainty of the situation. The population is worried about the economy of Turkey and they think that an economic crisis could emerge.
Finally, I think that the CHP or the MHP should rapidly collaborate with the AKP so that the instability ends and Turkey’s economy continues to grow. If the coalition takes place in a favorable manner, I believe that the future will be bright. On the other hand, if it does not, Turkey could encounter early elections that could give the AKP the chance of ruling the country once again. Unfortunately, this could lead Turkey’s democracy to diminish even further.