The next Turkish parliament promises to be more pluralistic, with the reduction of the minimum percentage of votes to obtain representation. The bar, which was 10% of the vote nationally for forty years, is now at 7%. The bill, introduced last week by the ruling coalition, was approved in the House today and will come into effect in a year.
This would suggest that the next elections will be held on their scheduled date, in June 2023, despite the demand for early elections by the opposition. This could also lose its cohesion, despite the presentation last month of a six-party alliance for change, since the legislative amendment could encourage the new matches.
These are split formations of the two forces in power, the AKP of Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the MHP of the extreme right Devlet Bahçeli. Among the former are Gelecek (Future), by former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, and DEVA, by former Finance Minister Ali Babacan.
In the second case, the Good Party (IYI), of Meral Aksener, the new Turkish Thatcher – the first was Tansu Çiller – which is the only one to have guaranteed representation so far, along with the centrist CHP and the AKP. The pro-Kurdish HDP will probably succeed too, as long as it is not banned before the elections.
40 years ago
The military imposed the threshold of 10% of the vote to curb the Kurdish left
The 10% bar, the highest in Europe, was imposed by the putschist junta forty years ago, precisely with the intention of making it almost impossible to represent Kurdish revolutionary nationalism. For more than two decades, most MPs in the ideological orbit of imprisoned Abdullah Öcalan were elected as independents. However, fertility in the southeast of the country is three times that of the west, so the glass ceiling has long since been broken.
It must be said that, during certain elections, such as that of 2002, nearly 45% of the votes of the Turks ended up in the trash, since the majority of the parties did not exceed the threshold of 10%. Reducing this percentage – ideally to 5% – has been a historic demand of Turkish democracy, but in today’s highly polarized Turkey it is not free from criticism of political expediency.
What in no way changes is the parties’ unequal access to the media, with the vast majority opting for Erdogan’s AKP, in a 180-degree turn from the situation two decades ago. .
Year-on-year inflation tops 61% and is expected to hit 70% by mid-year
However, the result of the next Turkish elections remains open, according to most observers, due to the wear and tear of Recep Tayyip Erdogan after almost twenty years at the top of power – increasingly pyramidal – due to capitalization by the growth opposition to the rejection of the four million Syrian refugees and the blow of inflation, which officially now exceeds 61% per year. The BBVA study center estimates that this should increase further to 70%, stabilize and, at the end of the year, drop back down to 50%.
Erdogan is confident that next year the benefits – not just the damages – of the pound’s depreciation will begin to be felt, especially in increased industrial employment and export activity. On the other hand, the uncertainty derived from the war in Ukraine, neighboring the Black Sea, could discourage the desire to remove him from the bar. Even today, the Navy was trying to disable a drifting mine off the Turkish coast.
Not to mention that the tireless constructive role of Turkish diplomacy, recognized by all parties to the conflict, is helping Erdogan to improve his relations with the West, Israel and various Arab autocracies, which have deteriorated for more than a decade. Today, the Turkish government appointed 36 new ambassadors, including the first to serve in Egypt for almost nine years.
Coming back to the war in Ukraine, Ankara’s equidistance is no whim. According to a survey of the conflict, the number of Turks who blame NATO exceeds those who blame Russia. And the most anti-Atlanticists are, precisely, the voters of Meral Aksener, the candidate spoiled by Brussels, on a par with those of Devlet Bahçeli.
Turkey finally announced today the reopening of its embassy in kyiv, installed near the Polish border since March, due to the Russian siege of the Ukrainian capital.