Erdoğan plans to be more inclusive with his ‘Turkey Alliance’ - analysis

Following his call on 82 million Turks to join a “Turkey Alliance”, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is expected to emphasise a more inclusive political discourse and practice in the coming months, columnist Talha Köse said in the pro-government Daily Sabah newspaper. 

Erdoğan’s remarks followed an election campaign leading up to the March 31 local polls during which he called the opposition coalition a "contempt alliance", and accused opposition leaders of supporting terrorism. But he changed course after his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost the elections in Turkey’s most populous provinces, including Istanbul and Ankara. 

Since Erdoğan’s call, political analysts in Turkey have been discussing what the president meant by a Turkey Alliance and whether it was possible. Journalist Ahmet Takan of the nationalist Yeniçağ daily said this week that Erdoğan planned to establish a national unity government that would include representatives of opposition parties and civil society organisations. 

According to political scientist Sevilay Çelenk, Erdoğan’s call means a unity excluding the predominantly Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) that would use the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) as a crutch to raise the AKP once again onto its feet. 

For Köse, Erdoğan’s new discourse resembles his invitation to the opposition to join a national unity rally following the failed coup attempt of 2016.

There are signs Erdoğan will focus on priorities on Turkey's political agenda, starting with renewal and reform efforts within his party that could include separating party leadership from his presidential position, Köse said.

“Erdoğan is expected to emphasise a more inclusive political discourse and practice in the coming months. Such a change may strengthen Erdoğan's standing in both domestic politics and in the international arena,” the columnist said. 

The opposition bloc, on the other hand, will likely choose to escalate tensions and target Erdoğan to maintain their unity, but stability in Turkey requires broader social and political dialogue, according to Köse.