Jun 27 2018

Turkish nationalist vote surge in Kurdish-majority southeast Turkey

One of the biggest questions left by Turkey’s elections on Sunday was by the impressive performance of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), a coalition partner of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) which won 11.13 percent of the vote despite polling around 7 percent, Murat Ağırel wrote for the left-nationalist news website OdaTV.

Even odder, it added, the MHP had significantly increased its vote share in majority-Kurdish provinces with little prior history of any tendency towards Turkish nationalism.

Indeed, the few MHP voters in this area in the past were usually assumed to be soldiers, but not only did the party double or treble its vote in every Kurdish-majority province, it also polled far more votes than the total number of soldiers in the region. The MHP did not even bother campaigning in the area, deeming it a lost cause.

Compounding the mystery, many voters across Turkey’s southeast did not even bother voting for a presidential candidate, merely submitting a vote for the parliament. The difference in number, Ağırel said, was at least 85,000 votes.