AKP projected to win majority in 2nd Turkey election of 2015

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After an election campaign filled with violence and crackdowns on opposition media, it looks like we have a different result from the June election…

BBC – “Turkey election: Ruling AKP ‘heads for majority'”:

Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) looks likely to claim a majority in a critical parliamentary election, results indicate.

With 95% of all votes counted, state-run Anadolu Agency said the party was on 49.5%, with the main opposition CHP on 25.3%.

The pro-Kurdish HDP and nationalist MHP appear likely to cross the 10% threshold needed to claim seats.
[…]
Current projections indicate the ruling party will gain substantially more than the 276 seats needed to gain a majority.

However, projections show it will fall just short of the amount of seats needed to call a referendum on changing the constitution and increasing the powers of the president, AKP founder Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

 

TG: “Turkey and EU’s Self-Righteousness”

Arsenal Bolt: Quick updates on the news stories we’re following.

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Soli Özel on European Union countries mishandling and misrepresenting their relations with Turkey:

A current question often raised in the European debate is this: What will happen if Turkey becomes more authoritarian? The background of the question is usually to push Turkey further onto the European sidelines. It also belittles the vitality of the political debate inside Turkey and the vitality and creativity of its civil society.

To make my point, let me ask what will happen to Hungary, an existing EU and NATO member, if it goes more authoritarian than it already has?
[…]
When France decided in 2005 — and much more aggressively after 2007, when Nicolas Sarkozy became President – to ditch Turkey and stop it on its route to EU membership, it came on the heels of the referendum on the European Constitution. Meanwhile, in Germany, Angela Merkel came to power and that country’s position changed as well.

Mind you, those years were not a time when Turkish democracy was being questioned. Between 2002 and 2007/08, if anything, Turkish democracy was improving by leaps and bounds. The idea often presented in the European debate — that Turkey was ditched because it was not sufficiently democratic or democratizing — is not true.

In fact, as if to add insult to injury, when things started to go wrong in Turkey between 2009 and 2011, the EU Commission wrote the lamest – repeat: lamest! – annual reports on the country’s progress.

Read the full essay.

Turkey will remain without elected government into October

Turkey will remain without an elected government until at least some time in October, now that a new round of elections have been called, following a failure to form a coalition after the June elections.

“Turkey PM formally gives up on coalition as polls loom” | AFP:

Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Tuesday informed President Recep Tayyip Erdogan he had failed to form a coalition government, paving the way for new general elections just months after June polls.
[…]
According to the constitution, the AKP will be able to continue as a minority government until elections if a majority in parliament votes in favour of holding the early polls.

If however Erdogan uses his right to call the election himself, a so-called “election government” will be formed until the polls, consisting of members from all four parties represented in parliament.

 
Will fresh elections make much of a difference in the parliamentary outcome?

“Turkey’s Erdogan gambles on new election bid” | Al Jazeera America:

Despite the carnage, however, a resumption of fighting with the Kurds could prove electorally useful for Erdogan. Tol called the bombing campaign against the PKK in aftermath of the June election defeat as “very related to Erdogan’s political ambitions.” A number of Turkish polls have shown the AKP gaining ground since then.

To regain a majority in parliament, Erdogan has tried to appeal to nationalists who were previously wary of his outreach to the Kurds, and weaken the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) […]

But while Erdogan’s political fortunes seem to have shifted since the surprising June defeat, his new strategy is nonetheless risky.
[…]
“To go the polls at a time when people are being killed every single day can have a downside,” Sinan Ulgen, chairman of EDAM, an Istanbul-based think tank, told the Associated Press. “The arithmetic in Parliament won’t necessarily change.”

 
On that last note, see my June 10, 2015 estimates “New Turkey elections might be AKP’s worst option”. While I came in at the time for some fairly thoughtful but strong pushback on that rough assessment, via Twitter, I still think the math isn’t really going to shift all that dramatically in a way that favors the AKP, if it moves at all on balance.

True, little changes could tip the balance by getting 18 more seats (and thus a majority) to the AKP or by pushing the Kurdish-dominated HDP back under the 10% national threshold to qualify. But at the moment I still have my doubts.

Emergency restriction areas re-appear in Turkey

Arsenal Bolt: Quick updates on the news stories we’re following.

Al-Monitor: “Is Turkey’s ’emergency rule’ back?”

As of this writing, 37 areas in Gaziantep, Sanliurfa, Tunceli, Kars, Agri, Hakkari, Siirt and Sirnak provinces had been declared provisional security zones. The law allows bans from 15 days to six months. Nobody can enter those zones without permission, and doing so could mean fines and imprisonment.

Idris Baluken, co-chair of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party Parliamentary Group, asked for a parliamentary inquiry about the decision. In a petition to the parliamentary speaker, Baluken said the decision is illegal.

“With this decision for forbidden zones, what is suspended is democracy,” Baluken said. “Rule of law is being violated. In addition to the political ramifications of the decision, there are also the legal aspects. Basic rights of residence, traveling and communications recognized by the constitution are violated. The ‘contract’ between the people and the public authority of law is violated by the authority.”

Although most of the forbidden zones are those where the PKK is known to be active, two areas on the Syrian border were also included on the off-limits list.

 


Previously from AFD on this topic:

“Turkey’s Erdogan demands total information awareness”

Turkey’s Erdogan demands total information awareness

Arsenal Bolt: Quick updates on the news stories we’re following.

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BGN News: “Turkey’s Erdoğan asks village administrators to spy on citizens for him”

“In order to continue its operations in a determined and forceful manner, the state has to determine what is going on in every house via intelligence gathering,” Erdoğan said during a meeting on Wednesday. “Who is in which home? What is going on inside? My muhtar will calmly, and in an appropriate manner, come and notify the district governor or the police chief.”
[…]
The last time muhtars were instructed to gather intelligence for the state was during the period of martial law following the 1980 military coup, a bloody period marred by severe state repression and severe infringements of the rule of law.

 

August 12, 2015 – Arsenal For Democracy 138

Posted by Bill on behalf of the team.

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Topics: Key news stories from Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Iran (and how it all relates to or affects U.S. policy in the region). People: Bill, Kelley, Nate. Produced: August 10th, 2015.

Discussion Points:

– Syria: The U.S. bombs fictional terror groups and Turkey bombs the Kurds.
– Iraq: On air conditioners and nation-building.
– Yemen: Saudi Arabia’s war and a horrific humanitarian crisis.
– Iran: Will the Iran Deal survive Congress? Will it change US-Israeli relations?

Episode 138 (56 min):
AFD 138

Related Links

AFD: Syria Archives
AFD: Iraq’s air conditioner uprising
AFD: Yemen War Archives
AFD: Iran Archives

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And don’t forget to check out The Digitized Ramblings of an 8-Bit Animal, the video blog of our announcer, Justin.

A new Syria “red line”: No Kurds in the Turkish-backed zone?

Regional View: July 24, 2015 map estimation of the perimeter of a potential Turkish occupation zone and U.S. no-fly zone in northern Syria. Enlarge Image. [See also our close-up detail map of the potential Turkish occupation zone perimeter.]

Regional View: July 24, 2015 map estimation of the perimeter of a potential Turkish occupation zone and U.S. no-fly zone in northern Syria. Enlarge Image.
[See also our close-up detail map of the potential Turkish occupation zone perimeter.]

The Wall Street Journal last week reported that the “U.S., Turkey Agree to Keep Syrian Kurds Out of Proposed Border Zone”:

The U.S. and Turkey have reached an understanding meant to assure the Ankara government that plans to drive Islamic State militants from a proposed safe zone in northern Syria won’t clear the way for Kurdish fighters to move in.
[…]
However, [YPG leaders] said they had made no commitment not to cross the Euphrates.

“The initial plan is to move to liberate the western side of the Euphrates once the areas to the east have been cleared of ISIS,” said Idres Nassan, a senior Kurdish official in Kobani. “But the YPG is acting in coordination with the local groups, such as the FSA and other groups fighting ISIS, as well as the coalition members.”

Preventing Kurdish forces from taking advantage of U.S. and Turkish airstrikes in the area is “red line” for Turkey as it steps up to play a greater role in battling Islamic State, a Turkish official said Monday.
[…]
Keeping Kurdish fighters from moving farther west restricts America’s ability to work in northwestern Syria with a Kurdish militia that has proved an effective fighting force. And it puts more pressure on the U.S. and Turkey to find an alternative capable of filling the void.

 
The United States promptly denied this report. However, the New York Times is still backing up the Wall Street Journal’s version as late as today.

The Turkish deal with the United States sets up an “ISIS-free” bombardment zone along a 60-mile strip of the border region that features another exclusion: At Turkey’s request, it is also explicitly a zone free of the Kurdish militia, even though the Kurds had begun advancing toward the area to start battling the Islamic State there.

Despite cooperating with American forces for months, the Syrian Kurds are now starting to worry that their success might not outweigh Turkey’s importance to the United States.

 
I’m sorry, but if these reports of a rule excluding Kurdish fighters are actually true, this is bad policymaking. Pure impulse and incoherent nonsense. It has little strategic foresight or unifying logic, and it’s probably tactically unenforceable at best.

As we argued in our recent op-ed in The Globalist, to recruit Turkey against ISIS, the United States lost sight of its true friends (the actually effective anti-ISIS — and non-salafist — Kurdish militant groups). This scattershot obsession with the crises of the moment has destroyed any U.S. attempts to form a coherent policy for Syria (or Iraq). We just flail aimlessly from one thing to the next — reacting, reacting, reacting.


Previously from AFD on this topic:

U.S. agrees to clear a “safe zone” in northern Syria
Mapping the projected Turkish occupation zone in Syria