The victory of the Justice and Development Party during the Nov 1 elections in Turkey was as unexpected as its failure during the previous elections on June 7. Not only has the party regained its positions in the parliament but it has also excelled its own result of 2011.
The most optimistic forecasts gave the party no more than 47% but they did neglect the resources it mobilized before the deciding vote.
As a result, the party has polled 49.4% of the votes and now will have a faction of 316 MPs. But this is still less than constitutional majority. Had Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s party gained 330 seats, its victory would have turned into a triumph.
The victory of the Justice and Development Party has turned into a loss for its two key rivals: the Republican People’s Party has retained its 25%, while the nationalists and pro-Kurds have sustained serious losses. The Nationalist Movement Party has polled just 12% (41 seats) against 16.3% (80 seats). This is especially disappointing as the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party has gained 59 seats.
The figures might change after final outcomes of the elections are announced, but the general view of the balance of powers in Turkey will not.
We still have to analyze why the Justice and Development Party has won and what this may lead to. However, the key factor of success of the party is evident. The focus on stirring up concerns of the electorate about the country's stability has proved to be the most effective one. For the past five months, the government made its best to persuade the voters their choice was right. The slogan of the party’s campaign was “Either We or Chaos!”. The ruling party indoctrinated the necessity of its reproduction threatening with political destabilization, economic crisis, social riots and a civil war. The fact that votes flowed from the Nationalists and part of pro-Kurdish supporters to the Justice and Development Party shows the strategy of the ruling party was effective. Hoping for stability and exit from internal and external confrontations, people tend to be closer to the strongest.
But Erdogan’s victory may in the long run end in a failure. Renewed monopoly will force him to be even more aggressive. So, we can expect new repressions against Kurds. Erdogan’s dream is presidential rule in Turkey and this dream seems to be coming true. And this will encourage him to become even more decisive in Syria.
But Erdogan and his party may choke in their own success. Today, Turkey is facing fundamental problems. Just 60 more seats in the parliament are not a solution to them. What 78,000,000 Turks need today is internal political consensus rather than political monopoly. Erdogan’s speculations on his people’s fears of new terrorist acts and bombardments may play a dirty trick to him one day.