Turkish general election, June 2015

The most significant outcome of the 2015 elections is that HDP’s (rooted in a Kurdish political movement) strategy to become the party of Turkey is accepted and supported by the wider public in Turkey.

Turkey experienced the 25th general elections in its history on the 7th June. 20 political parties and 165 independent candidates run for the elections in which almost 48 million voters casted their votes (85.6% turnout overall). Although there is a 10% threshold to be represented in the parliament, election day figures demonstrate that 95% of the voters will be represented in the Turkish National Assembly. Besides, 4 Christian, 3 Armenian, 2 Ezidi and 1 Roma candidates are elected as MPs, which might play an instrumental role to reflect the multicultural aspect of Turkish society. Another optimistic outcome of the elections is that the number of women MPs exceeded 90 particularly as a result of HDP’s strong support to the women candidates. Current unofficial results* are as follows:

Political Party Votes Number of MPS
AKP (Justice and Development Party) 40.8% 258
CHP (Republican People’s Party) 25.0% 132
MHP (Nationalist Movement Party) 16.3% 80
HDP (People’s Democratic Party) 13.1% 80

First and foremost, results indicate that the AKP will not be able to form a majority government after 13 years of one party ruling term due to the fact that majority government needs 276 MPs to be formed. Accordingly, 258 MPs do not allow AKP to convert the political regime into a presidential system. That is to say, it seems clear that electorate in Turkey did not want to give more power to Erdogan to run the country on the basis of his political ambitions.

CHP pursued an economy-oriented agenda for the elections alongside with a number of respectful candidates. However, the party apparently could not make a significant difference vis a vis the previous number of votes belonging to the 2011 elections. At this point, even though CHP would play a significant role in the possible coalition scenarios, conflict within the party would emerge in the near future departing from a leadership debate.

MHP increased its votes by nearly 2 million compared to the 2011 elections and consequently had 80 MPs in the parliament. The leader of the party, Devlet Bahceli, secured and strengthened his leadership position in the party. The growing number of MHP votes also signal that nationalistic attitudes and sensitivities still prevail in Turkey. It is apt to state here that MHP’s stance will be highly influential for the structure and outlook of the forthcoming government formation process that is going to be negotiated in the following days.

The most significant outcome of the 2015 elections is that HDP’s (rooted in a Kurdish political movement) strategy to become the party of Turkey is accepted and supported by the wider public in Turkey. That is to say, people of Turkey allowed HDP to enter into the parliament not only strive for the rights of the Kurds but also for the other oppressed groups. Moreover, this 13% proportion also corresponds to the fact that some of the voters (particularly from the left wing) casted tactical votes for the HDP to build a bulwark against the discretionary attitudes of the AKP government as well as the President Erdogan. Although it is very early to come to any conclusion, HDP’s presence in the parliament at least would strengthen the idea that the platform for solution is not the armed struggle but the politics. Consequently, this may increase the legitimacy of the peace process thanks to the involvement of the different parties represented in the parliament.

Election results would also have implications onto the external relations of Turkey particularly foreign policy orientation towards the Middle Eastern countries in the sense that Erdogan will not be able to enforce his arbitrary decisions. Relatively stronger opposition would establish stronger check and balance mechanism in the foreign policy as well. Besides, since 2011 elections, it is an apparent fact that the ruling party drifted away from the EU negotiations, which affected the democratisation process of Turkey. Thanks to the multi-party government structure, Turkey’s democratisation attempts based on the relations with the Western world would be accelerated, which may result in a more secure environment both for the economic investments and the political cooperation. However, there is an apparent fact that Turkey’s number one agenda in the following days and weeks is going to be to form a government, which might turn into a troublesome period. Therefore, foreign policy engagements are expected to be temporarily postponed until the coalition government is formed.

2015 Number of Votes Vote Share Number of MPs
AKP 18.847.845 0,86% 258
CHP 11.511.891 24,96% 132
MHP 7.515.207 16,29% 80
HDP 6.051.967 13,12% 80 MP
Others 2.200.837 4,77% 0
TOTAL 46.127.747 100,00% 550
2011 Number of Votes Vote Share Number of MPs
AKP 21.399.082 49,83% 327
CHP 11.155.972 25,98% 135
MHP 5.585.513 13,01% 53
Independent** 2.819.917 6,57% 35
Others 1.981.279 4,61% 0
TOTAL 42.941.763 100,00% 550

* These results are based on the CNNTurk’s announcements by the 11.00am, 8th June 2015.
**Independent candidates were predominantly the members of BDP that initiated to found the HDP.

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