Need for a broad coalition for the opposition

The opposition needs to act with a broad coalition understanding in order to defeat President Erdogan and to transition smoothly to the parliamentary system. CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu, who previously created the policy of alliance that took Istanbul and Ankara from the AKP in the 2019 local elections and the entrance of the IYI Party to the Parliament, plays a key role in this process as well. (Photo: Twitter)

Turkey is now experiencing a coalition government in a one-party rule under an administrative system which was constituted over complaints about vulnerable coalition governments of the 1970s and 1990s.

President Tayyip Erdoğan propagated the most crucial reason for establishing the Presidential Government System in 2017 as that Turkey will leave the coalitions behind. Still, the first result was to start the de facto coalition period.

Due to the 50+1 vote threshold condition in the first round of the presidential elections, which was the condition of MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli to abandon his stance against “partisan president”, Turkey is now governed by an unnamed, unofficial coalition. Official coalitions are established within a specific framework of a protocol about sharing authorities and responsibilities. However, under the AKP-MHP “People’s Alliance,” Erdogan cannot proceed in any matter without the approval of Bahçeli, but all responsibility belongs to Erdogan and the AKP.

Since the transition to this system in 2017, as a matter of fact since 2014, when Erdoğan was elected President for the first time, the per capita income has been declining continuously. The per capita income, which was 12,582 US dollars in 2013, dropped to 10,696 in 2017 and 8,597 dollars in 2020.

Not only the economy, but also administration and democracy

I don’t want to drown you with numbers. Since 2014, many values, from the country’s total national income to the Turkish lira, have decreased, but unemployment and the cost of living are on the rise. Corruption allegations cannot be investigated; the most recent example is the case of Ruhsar Pekcan, who had to leave the Ministry of Commerce office. Judicial ranks are determined by political influence. The most recent example is the appointment of Istanbul Chief Prosecutor İrfan Fidan to the membership of the Court of Cassation and then to the Constitutional Court by President Erdoğan in two months. The Constitutional Court, on the other hand, faces the threat of being shut down if it does not close the third largest political party (HDP) in the Parliament.

Turkey is gradually decreasing in the world rankings in many areas, from judicial independence to press freedom.

The main reason for this is the deliberate weakening of the checks and balance mechanisms with the 2017 Constitutional amendment. That’s why Bahçeli occasionally says that the MHP is the main opposition, the check and the balance because the Parliament’s auditory power is also under the pressure of the ruling bloc.

The opposition bloc is about to announce the new constitutional text that they have been working on lately. They agreed to use this text if they win the next election. The ruling bloc also probably announce their new election law draft.

Will opposition leaders take part in Parliament?

If the opposition unites on a single candidate, the possibility of overthrowing the government is no longer a low probability.

The important thing for the opposition is to unite around a candidate who can win not only the votes of CHP- İYİ (Good) Party’s “Nation Alliance”, but also the other voters against President Erdogan. Therefore, if the opposition bloc can defeat Erdogan in the election, it will establish the new order with the existing rules, but it should think about the cadres that will ensure the smooth transition to a new parliamentary system.

This requires a strong coalition understanding and organization.

There is no problem for CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and IYI Party leader Meral Akşener. They will enter the elections at the head of their own party. But, for example, will DEVA Party leader Ali Babacan, Future Party (Gelecek Partisi) leader Ahmet Davutoğlu, Felicity Party (Saadet Partisi) leader Temel Karamollaoğlu and Democrat Party (Demokrat Party) leader Gültekin Uysal want to enter the Parliament? Their parties seem to be far from the 10 percent threshold, or even the 7 percent threshold if it will be decreased. If they want to be elected in the Parliament, will they enter the election under the CHP or the IYI Party organization, within the framework of coalition solidarity?

Kılıçdaroğlu plays a key role

Let’s say the opposition bloc won the election. In this case, if other opposition leaders do not enter the Parliament, will they take part in the coalition government? There are questions here. For example, Babacan’s assuming responsibility for the economy as an internationally renowned economist may relieve the economy, especially foreign investments. It is inevitable that key ministries, especially Justice, Foreign Affairs, Internal Affairs, and Defense, and the Presidency structure will share authority and responsibility within the opposition bloc. It seems that such a sharing can only be met with a “broad coalition” formula. It should not be forgotten that the new government, which will take over the task and use those powers with the current Constitution, will need to work with utmost care and harmony in order to ensure a smooth transition to the “Strengthened Parliamentary System.”

At this point, the heaviest burden and responsibility rests on the shoulders of CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu. Kılıçdaroğlu first ensured that the IYI Party entered the Parliament in 2018. He also created the alliance policy, which won the mayorship of Istanbul and Ankara with the support of İYİ Party in 2019. The following words in his last video are interesting:

“I want to do what the irresponsible leaders and their governments cannot do. What will I do with palaces or riches at this stage of my life? It’s been many years since I humbled my soul. I have only one wish, and that is that my people pray for me in the future.”

The most important issue within the Nation Alliance at the moment is who will be the candidate. But just as much, accepting that there is a need for a broad coalition and act accordingly. May be this is the tactic that will make the opposition win the election.

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