martedì 9 giugno 2015

Turkey: one parliament for four parties

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan

Turkey had a really interesting general election which ended 13 year Ak Party majority government. After this election there will be 4 party represented in the parliament.
AKP (Justice and Development Party) was founded 13 years ago by giving hope to the oppressed people and promising advance democracy, political stability and fair economy, they promised to fight against corruption, poverty and prohibitions. They have delivered some of their promises and won 3 consecutive elections and increased their vote every time. However, as they increased their power in politics, they have become less tolerant to people who do not agree with their policies. As a result, 2 years ago many street protests erupted in the streets of Istanbul and the country. The police state they have created pressured secular people of Turkey. During their rule many journalists were jailed too. In December 2013, a corruption operation carried out by the police uncovered a lot of wrongdoings by 4 ministers as well as the prime minister of the time, Mr Erdogan. $ Ministers had to resign but AKP blocked any trial on the Constitutional Court. AKP accused a Muslim cleric for creating "parallel state" in the police force and justice departments and carrying out this false accusations. After short time, all arrested in the operations (including cabinet ministers' sons) were released and the policemen and public prosecutors who uncovered the corruption were put in jail instead. In August 2014, AKP leader Mr Erdogan was elected as the president by securing 52% of the votes, and former foreign minister replaced him as the new leader.
However, even though according to the Constitution president should be impartial, Mr Erdogan has constantly interfered with the party politics and acted as president, prime minister and the AKP leader. In the last election campaign he organised election rallies on the state budget and actively asked people to vote for AKP. During his campaign he targeted HDP (People's Democratic Party) in particular and he wanted that party to fail getting enough votes to pass election threshold (10%). (This threshold was put in place by the military rule in 1980s and it is the highest threshold in the world.) Mr Erdogan thinks that president does not have enough powers and the parliamentary system should be changed to presidential system and most decisions should be made by the president. On a separate note, president Erdogan had himself a 1150 room very luxury presidential palace built and many people thought it was a big waste of public money while many people suffer with their low incomes. As a result of corruption cover up, luxury life style, unlawful arrests and the discriminatory language used by AKP and the president, people of Turkey withdrew their support to AKP but they remain as the largest political.
The big winner of this election was HDP! (People's Democratic Party) They had a huge hurdle (the threshold) to come over. They have run very active, positive and peaceful campaign. Their manifesto was one of the most democratic manifestos I have ever seenThey tried to reach out to non-Kurdish people and show them their party is not a Kurdish party but Turkey's party. They selected half of their candidates from women. Their party structure is also different from the rest as they have 2 equal leaders a woman and a man. They also had many candidates from different ethnic groups. They claim that they would like to remain part of the country as equal citizens. They say peace is possible within the politics. They kicked off their campaign by addressing Mr Erdogan and telling him "We will not make you the president!", and this statement got them a lot of "lent" votes from CHP (Republican People's Party). Even though many people in Turkey were (and still are) sceptical about HDP because of their ties with Kurdish terrorist organisation PKK, they managed to increase their vote from 6.5% to 13%. They will have 80 MPs in the parliament, including 31 women. I believe they now have a great task of delivering their promises of being everyone's party, helping establish peace and stopping Erdogan becoming president, of course!
Here are some interesting and good facts about this election result and campaign:
1- Opinion Representation in the parliament: 95%
2- Women representation in the parliament: 96 MPs (18%) highest ever!
3- Participation in Election: 85%
4- Collapsed anti democratic threshold.
5- HDP as the party of Turkey's nations and Kurdish representation the parliament.
6- HDP's peaceful messages to everyone.
And the worst thing to see during this campaign was that the division and hatred between different groups of people. I believe this is the result of 13 yearlong AKP ruling and the
irresponsible language they have been using.
Finally here are some information links for the 4 main political parties in Turkey:

Yurdakul Celebi is Turkish. He has been living in the UK for 14 years and currently living and working in London as a Software Test Analyst.

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