Turk­ish op­po­si­tion likely to de­mand lim­its on Er­do­gan’s fu­ture role

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY SUZAN FRASER

Op­po­si­tion par­ties are likely to de­mand lim­its on Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan’s role in Turkey’s next gov­ern­ment, com­pli­cat­ing coali­tion talks as the rul­ing party sought ways Tues­day to re­main in power.

Prime Min­is­ter Ah­met Davu­to­glu was to meet with Er­do­gan later Tues­day af­ter their Jus­tice and Devel­op­ment Party, or AKP, lost its par­lia­men­tary ma­jor­ity in Sun­day’s vote. It won less than 41 per­cent of the votes, get­ting 258 seats in the 550-seat par­lia­ment, 18 seats short of the min­i­mum re­quired to rule alone.

It was not clear if Davu­to­glu would sub­mit his res­ig­na­tion, in line with po­lit­i­cal cus­tom. In that event, Er­do­gan would ask Davu­to­glu to re­main in of­fice un­til a new gov­ern­ment is formed. Davu­to­glu’s sta­tus re­mains un­cer­tain af­ter the hu­mil­i­at­ing set­back for the party.

Er­do­gan has been a dom­i­nant and di­vi­sive fig­ure as he fiercely cam­paigned in fa­vor of the AKP, flout­ing a con­sti­tu­tional rule that re­quired him to be neu­tral. He had hoped that the party, which he founded in 2001, would win a su­per­ma­jor­ity so it could re­shape Turkey’s democ­racy into a pres­i­den­tial sys­tem where he would wield con­trol over gov­ern­ment af­fairs.

The AKP now faces dif­fi­cult ne­go­ti­a­tions to coax the right-wing Na­tion­al­ists into the next gov­ern­ment or, less likely, the main sec­u­lar­ist Repub­li­can Peo­ple’s Party or the pro-Kur­dish Peo­ple’s Demo­cratic Party. If no deal is reached on a coali­tion, a frag­ile mi­nor­ity gov­ern­ment and early elec­tions loom.

An­a­lysts say op­po­si­tion par­ties are ex­pected to de­mand that Er­do­gan stays within the con­sti­tu­tional bound­aries of the largely cer­e­mo­nial pres­i­dency and that the AKP aban­don plans for a switch to a pres­i­den­tial sys­tem. It’s not known if Er­do­gan, who needs to ap­prove any new gov­ern­ment, would sign off on such a deal.

On Tues­day, the pro-Kur­dish party that up­set Er­do­gan’s am­bi­tions by win­ning 80 seats in par­lia­ment again vowed not to en­ter in a coali­tion agree­ment with the AKP.

AKP deputy leader Yasin Ak­tay said, how­ever, his party was not rul­ing out any coali­tion com­bi­na­tions.

“There is no need for gloom,” Ak­tay said. “We will do all that is nec­es­sary to form a coali­tion and not leave the coun­try with­out a gov­ern­ment.”

Er­do­gan, who dom­i­nated air­waves through­out the cam­paign, has hardly been seen in public since the elec­tion up­set. A hu­mor­ous clock on the In­ter­net keeps tabs on the days, hours, min­utes and sec­onds he has not ap­peared on air­waves.

AP

A sup­porter of the pro-Kur­dish Peo­ples’ Demo­cratic Party, (HDP) flashes a “V” as oth­ers wave flags of im­pris­oned Kur­dish rebel leader Ab­dul­lah Ocalan, dur­ing a rally in Istanbul, Turkey on Mon­day, June 8, a day af­ter the elec­tions. The big­gest change from Turkey’s pre­vi­ous par­lia­ment is the as­cen­dancy of the Peo­ple’s Demo­cratic Party, a so­cially lib­eral force rooted in the Kur­dish na­tion­al­ism of Turkey’s southeast. It at­tracted more than 12 per­cent of votes, breaching the min­i­mum thresh­old of 10 per­cent. Turkey’s Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­do­gan’s lon­grul­ing Jus­tice and Devel­op­ment Party(AKP), has suf­fered sur­pris­ingly strong losses in par­lia­ment that will force it to seek a coali­tion part­ner for the next gov­ern­ment.

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