It was already obvious that the general election of June 7 was going to be an extraordinary one. The results of the election abundantly confirm this. With one of the highest participation rates ever, 86%, the governing AKP lost about 10 points coming down to the level of 40%, the CHP took 25% which means it remains at the same level as it was in the previous general election in 2011, the MHP, the party of Turkish nationalism, took 16% increasing its votes by 3 points, and HDP took 13% which is a big leap from around 6%. Thus one of the most embarrassingly high election thresholds in the world, 10%, which in Turkish is literally called a dike, was flooded out by the HDP current. And the AKP managed to get so few number of seats that it is for the first time since 2002 unable to form a single-party government.
The most important issue of this election watched breathlessly right to the last minute was undoubtedly the question of whether the HDP would pass the 10% election threshold or not. Many polls before the election suggested that the HDP was oscillating just around the threshold level, without a clear sign. Yet the HDP passed the barrier with a very clear margin as if a strong pole vaulter passes the bar with ease. A 13% rate and 6 million votes is at the same time a severe blow inflicted upon the “terror” demagogy. This is an important victory and it is contributed by socialists, progressives, democrats, freedom lovers as well. On this occasion we, as working-class revolutionaries, share the happiness of the HDP to which we provided our support and the success of which we have worked for.
One needs to remember that HDP’s victory has been won under extreme repression and attacks, extraordinary irregularities, lawlessness and inequality. This victory of the HDP points out that the political map in Turkey is undergoing a significant change. Indeed a new page has been opened on the political arena. It is quite important that the HDP has taken more than 10% vote in biggest cities such as İstanbul and İzmir. In İstanbul HDP got nearly 13% leaving MHP behind both in terms of vote and MPs. The conceptions that consider the HDP a phenomenon contained merely in Kurdish provinces and only an insignificant entity elsewhere have therefore gone bankrupt at that. From now on the dynamic formed by the Kurdish movement and those socialist and democrat circles in alliance will be taken into consideration by everyone as a tendency with a substantial weight in the political battle ground. In fact a “New Turkey” very different from what Erdoğan and the AKP imagined is in the making.
One of the most important political issues of this election was Erdoğan’s great ambition to become the father president of Turkey. He did not refrain from continually violating the constitution by stepping in the scene and worked as if a co-chairman of the AKP in order to achieve his personal ambitions. Yet these zealous efforts did not work and Erdoğan’s ambitions were drown by the HDP flood that demolished the dike, i.e. the election threshold. With his heavy defeat Erdoğan turned out to be right as he said at one moment before the election that the election could bring “surprising results”! It should be underlined that the biggest loser of this election is Erdoğan and that the masses have not given way to the authoritarian drive.
The explicitly anti-Kurdish and warmongering policy pursued by the AKP during the election campaign is also received a heavy blow. Despite this policy Erdoğan and the AKP could still hope to secure the allegiance of certain sections of Kurdish people by employing traditional religious propaganda. Yet they failed once again, and broad masses in Kurdish provinces that had voted for the AKP before now turned their faces to the HDP.
Another new source of support for the HDP was the concern in the western part of Turkey in addition to the Kurdish provinces caused by the prospect of a new presidential system pushed by Erdoğan in his own personal authoritarian ambitions. His strategy was totally based on pushing HDP below the threshold level [in that case almost all the seats gained by the HDP would pass to the AKP] which aroused a wide-reaching anger. HDP stood firmly against these authoritarian ambitions and immeasurably reckless attitudes of Erdoğan, leading to him losing his temper in many instances. This stance also won the confidence of the masses. Although they did not vote for the HDP due to the prejudices against the Kurdish movement created by the long years of chauvinist propaganda, many people showed great sympathy towards HDP’s and Demirtaş’s stance against Erdoğan and AKP.
In our assessment before the election we pointed out that the general picture of AKP, and Erdoğan in particular, showed signs of decline and decay. Election results confirm this clearly. Since 2002 AKP and Erdoğan failed for the first time, and they have not achieved any of their election targets. This situation will cause the cracks within the AKP develop further. It is clear that in the coming days the efforts to form a new government will cause strife within the AKP and the question of Erdoğan will be posed in a more pronounced way.
In the coming days main issues of the political agenda will undoubtedly be whether a new government could be formed or not, if formed what will be its constituents, what will be the political programme of it, or if there will be early elections soon. The AKP front appears to be confused in terms of the after-election headlines and emphasises of the pro-government and Erdoğanist media. While some of them make an emphasis for an early election, others stress a coalition government with the AKP being the main partner. The prospect that Erdoğan who heightened tensions through various means and methods in the run-up-to the election could take the road of finishing the job in a process of an early election cannot be considered ruled out.
Aside from the concrete political developments, the results of the June 7 election show that the discontent of the masses is increasing and that the zeitgeist in Turkey is changing. We can see this not only from the election results but also from the recent weeks’ massive outburst of metal workers as a very important fact. The storm of metal workers perhaps is the best indication that a new page is opening in Turkey. For decades they have been under severe repression, silenced and made submissive under the yoke called Türk Metal (the gangster union in metal industry). Both the movement of metal workers, the locomotive force of the working class, and the election victory of the HDP are clear signs of the changing atmosphere in Turkey. It is highly likely that this ongoing change of atmosphere will provide possibilities for the progress of the working class movement.
Metal Workers Shake the Ground
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