Jul 02 2018

Erdogan’s victory likely to lead Turkey on collision course with West - analysis

 

The victory of the alliance between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the far-right National Movement Party (MHP) in Turkey’s June 24 polls is likely to spell trouble for Turkey’s relations with the West, Thomas Seibert said in his article in Arab Weekly.

Erdoğan was elected as the first Turkish president with full executive power in a new system where there is no serious mechanism of checks and balances last month an he owes his electoral success to the far-right MHP, which is now a de facto partner of Turkey’s new power bloc. The AKP was expected to get 295 of the 600 seats in parliament and now has to rely on its new far-right partner and its 49 members of parliament to produce laws.

“Erdogan’s AKP will have to rely on the far-right MHP’s support,” Seibert quotes Aykan Erdemir, a senior fellow at the Washington think-tank Foundation for Defense of Democracies, as saying. “This will result in further concessions to ultranationalist policies at home and abroad. MHP’s chokehold on Erdogan would rule out the possibility of a return to the Kurdish peace process. Cross-border military action against Kurdish militants in Syria and Iraq might intensify.”

“Turkey’s posture in Europe and the Middle East will be defined by an even more nationalist stance,” the article quotes Halil Karaveli, an analyst at the Institute for Security and Development Policy in Stockholm, as saying.

Under the MHP’s influence, Turkey is likely to push the United States to make more concessions in Syria.

The parties have their fare share of disagreements. Erdogan promised to lift the state of emergency in the country while the MHP wants to keep it in place, despite the fact that the state of emergency is a key demand by the European Union.

The MHP is strictly opposed to any moves that could be considered a compromise with Kurdish players, Seibert wrote, noting that the party’s influence could complicate efforts to end Turkey’s disagreements with the United States over Syria.