Winners and losers of July 22

This should be noted as a concrete indicator of the democratic level the Turkish nation has achieved.

Winners and losers of July 22
By Bülent Keneş, Today's Zaman

The elections have finally taken place after a period of tension. Despite statements and actions of political leaders and actors from outside the political sphere that all catered to this tension, the elections passed without a hitch throughout Turkey, save for a few unpleasant incidents. This should be noted as a concrete indicator of the democratic level the Turkish nation has achieved.

So who are the winners and losers of this election? The long-awaited answer to this question will have already been disclosed by the time you are reading this column. Therefore, we, together with you, will see who is on the side of the winners and who will be with the losers. However, our profession sometimes obliges us to make comments prior to seeing the ultimate results. I will try to assess who will win and who will lose in this article, which I penned when the election results had just begun to come in.

First off, I should note that the winner of this election will be Turkish democracy, whatever the final result may be. The result that will come out of the ballot box will be the best answer to those who tried to mortgage the nation's will and disabled Parliament, which reflects the people's will, making it unable to fulfill its most essential functions. The result will also be an answer to anti-democratic interventions and calculations. While this answer to be given by the people will lay the groundwork for a new beginning, it will also give a historic lesson to those who cast a blight upon the people's will. To reiterate, whatever the result may be, the winners will be our democracy and our people.

The biggest winner of this election is the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), which significantly increased its number of votes in exiting the polls with a victory. Having garnered 34.3 percent of the vote in the 2002 elections, the AK Party may increase its votes to 45 percent of the total according to the first results disclosed. Naturally, the initial results may be misleading, even though they show the AK Party's votes to stand at 50 percent.

To me, the victory of the AK Party, which will definitely increase its share of the vote, is meaningful in two respects. The first is that the elections results have clearly indicated that people are generally content with the four-and-a half years of the AK Party in power, that they find the anti-democratic impositions not right, that they see the AK Party as legitimate a party as all the other parties of Turkey and that they find it to be the party most deserving of governing the country, to say nothing of failing to perceive it as a threat.

The second is that the AK Party, unlike the Republican People's Party (CHP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Democratic Society Party (DTP), has managed to gain the identity of a real centrist party by garnering votes from all regions of Turkey, from all ethnic groups, including Turks, Kurds and Circassians; from all religious groups and sects such as Alevis, Sunnis and minorities, and from all social classes: workers, employers, and rich and poor alike. As such, the AK Party has become the only party wherein the unity and integrity of Turkey manifest themselves. And what is expected of such an AK Party is that it continue with the radical strides forward that will carry the Turkish nation to new horizons by strengthening its reformist identity, which is the chief factor behind the rise in its votes.

The second party that has come out of the election with a positive result is the MHP. It will be a big surprise if the MHP cannot surpass the 10 percent barrier. Unless a surprise takes place, the MHP will take its share of the vote above 10 percent (14 percent) from below 10 percent by not promising anything tangible and by only addressing people's hatred and anger -- a remarkable success.

Twenty to twenty-five independent candidates from the pro-Kurdish DTP entering Parliament will also be a great success. If the deputies of Kurdish descent put the possibilities to be realized from this success to good use rationally, the winner will be both Turkey and our Kurdish citizens.

The biggest loser of this election is, as might be guessed, the CHP. Any rate below 25 percent -- despite all the efforts of the state mechanisms and institutions, the military and all the so-called civil society organizations in the orbit of the military and the CHP: the president, the high courts, the universities and the top bureaucracy; and despite the tension deliberately heightened and the polarization generated -- will be a fiasco for the CHP and its aggressive and overly ambitious leader Deniz Baykal. The initial results showed that CHP will get 19 percent of the vote.

A fiasco because the CHP pursued a policy of realizing its full potential by deliberately polarizing society and employing all the means it could exploit and abuse, which is ethically unacceptable but which is a proper method with regards to narrow party politics and pragmatism. And in spite of all this, his party fell below 25 percent which serve as proof of Baykal's political demise.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 23 Temmuz 2007, 09:26