[update below] [2nd update below] [3rd update below] [4th update below]
I am just so goddamned, f—ing disappointed! F—ing bummer! My disappointment and disgust at tonight’s outcome are equal to the exhilaration and joy I felt with the result of last June’s vote. In thinking about the election this morning I had visions of the AKP losing even more ground than it did last time, the HDP and CHP gaining, RT Erdoğan stunned and confused and descending into a deep depression, a faction of AKP heavyweights (Gül, Arınç, whoever) bolting to form a new party, and with the AKP’s hegemony over Turkish politics finally broken. Talk about a douche froide…
Wow. Had someone predicted these Turkish election results to me last week, I would have scoffed to their face. Never saw this coming.
In an instant explanation of the AKP’s near eight-point spike, WINEP’s Soner Cagaptay submitted that Erdoğan’s stoking up the conflict with the PKK drove liberal Turks from the HDP, nationalists from the MHP, and with conservative Kurds returning to the AKP.
Trying to look at the bright side of things—if bright there is—at least the HDP is over the 10% threshold, the AKP fell short of the 330 seats needed to change the constitution—insuring inshallah that RTE will not get the hyper-presidency/sultanate he so desperately wants—and that Turkey will at least have a stable government—if not political stability.
Michael Koplow has the first instant analysis of the outcome (in English), posted on his Ottomans and Zionists blog, “A Quick Reaction to the AKP Victory.” Money quote
People who pay attention to Turkish politics spend a lot of time reading the Turkish press online and conversing with each other on social media, but the vast majority of Turkish voters get their information from Turkish television, and last week’s seizure of Koza Ipek television stations reinforces that if you get your news from Turkish television, you are getting a relentless pro-government message. So in hindsight, it is easy to see how the AKP’s message that instability was the result of not giving the AKP a majority in June and that the only way to restore things was to correct course today, and drowning out every alternative argument to the contrary, could have produced the desired result.
Getting one’s news exclusively from state-controlled television… Like Slobodan Milošević’s Serbia in the 1990s. Or Vladimir Putin today.
On RTE and Putin, see the comment by Claire Sadar, who blogs at Atatürk’s Republic, in Foreign Affairs last February 12th, “Dreaming of Russia in Ankara.”
On possible irregularities in today’s vote, Michael Koplow says this
I’m not in a position to make accusations of fraud, but there is definitely some unusual stuff going on. The bottom line, however, is that even if there turns out to be nothing irregular at all about the actual vote tally, the facts are that the AKP spent five months harassing opposition politicians, arresting opposition journalists, shutting down television stations and newspapers, accusing the HDP of supporting terrorism, and warning the entire country that the instability that has wracked the country would look like child’s play if the AKP were not handed a majority this time. Whatever you want to call the sum total of those tactics, they do not make for a free and fair election. Welcome to the era of competitive authoritarianism, Turkey.
UPDATE: Istanbul-based writer Kaya Genç has a good analysis in TNR (November 2nd) of “Why Turkey stuck with Erdogan,” which is built around the “White Turks/Black Turks” cleavage (though he doesn’t actually use these terms).
The well-known columnist Mustafa Akyol, writing in Al Monitor’s Turkey Pulse, examines “How the AKP dominated yesterday’s election in Turkey.”
Istanbul-based journalist Alexander Christie-Miller, in a post in Foreign Policy, offers his thoughts on “Erdogan’s big night.” The lede: “The Turkish president’s party defied the polls, guaranteeing its political dominance for years to come.”
Cengiz Aktar of the Istanbul Policy Center has a tribune in Libération, “La Turquie d’Erdogan ne bénéficiera que d’une pseudo-stabilité.”
2nd UPDATE: Aykan Erdemir, a former CHP deputy and current Bilkent University prof, has “6 takeaways from the Turkish elections” in Politico.eu (November 2nd). Smart take IMO.
Vox’s Zack Beauchamp has a post on “Why Turkey’s election results shocked all the experts,” in which he quotes some of those experts (Michael Koplow, Steven Cook, Sinan Ülgen).
As for expert Sinan Ülgen, who is chairman of the Istanbul-based Center for Economics and Foreign Policy Studies, he weighs in on “Erdoğan’s second chance” in a commentary in Project Syndicate.
3rd UPDATE: Istanbul-based reporter David Lepeska has an analysis up on the Foreign Affairs website (November 2nd) on “The AKP’s Golden Opportunity: Erdogan’s victory and Turkey’s open-door policy.”
Also see Lepeska’s October 31st opinion piece on the Al Jazeera website, “A mountain to climb for Turkey’s liberals and leftists.” The lede: “Amid rising violence and a crackdown on free speech, critics raise their voices – but remain pessimistic about the vote.”
4th UPDATE: Erik Meyersson of the Stockholm School of Economics has a post (November 4th) on his blog, “Digit Tests and the Peculiar Election Dynamics of Turkey’s November Elections,” in which he tries to measure possible irregularities in the vote. I’m skeptical, as there appear not to have been allegations of fraud from the adversely affected parties (MHP, HDP).
Steven A. Cook has a commentary in Fortune (November 2nd) on “What Turkey’s election surprise says about the troubled country.”