Which direction for Turkey?


The political consequences of Ankara attack

directions

© photocredit

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Umut_Uzer

by Umut Uzer – As Turkey goes back to the polls on November 1st, there could be a number of alternative outcomes.

One is that the same political scene could emerge again; that is, a parliament with four political parties and the necessity to form a coalition in a country whose system of checks and balances between the three branches of government is seriously under threat. But a situation with no dominant party demands the formation of a coalition government, which would at least contribute to a culture of consensus.

Another possibility could be the strengthening of the AKP due to political instability in the country, which would result in its return to power. Concerns about coalition governments and the increasing climate of violence might well push the electorate towards the AKP. Such a state of affairs might emerge from the fear that the country could slide into civil war, meaning that only a single party
government could ensure stability. While such an eventuality cannot be ruled out, it would not eradicate anti-AKP sentiment among secular Turks, or Kurdish nationalists.

It is also possible that the opposition parties CHP or MHP could increase their votes and form a government on their own, or together. But the political polarisation in the country makes all these eventualities very hard to imagine.

The logical solution would be the reinstatement of the culture of reconciliation that existed between the left and the right in the early 1990s, despite the fact that the decade is seen today as a dark one due to the confrontations between the armed forces and the PKK. What we should remember is that the
polarisation of the 1970s was overcome with the establishment of a coalition government in 1991, between centre-right and centre-left parties. For that to happen now, however, political parties and individuals will have to see each other as fellow citizens and not as mortal enemies.

Sadly, the October 10th massacre is only likely to increase the polarisation in the country, between the government and Kurdish nationalists, as well as between other opposition parties and the AKP. While elections will most probably be held on the expected date, the lack of trust between all the parties will remain. The most dangerous scenario would be Turkey’s descent into ethnic and sectarian conflict, similar to the conflicts in Syria and Iraq. [Full Analysis.]

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