Turkey elects new government in back-to-back elections

It has taken two general elections for Turkey to choose a new government in 2015 and the country has decided to continue with governing AK Party in the end at a crucial time

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Updated Jan 1, 2016

Since the begining of the year till the very end, general elections have been on the top of Turkey’s agenda because they have crucially been instrumental in determination of the country’s future at a critical time when its respective region has been surrounded by multiple conflicts.

June 7 was set as the date of the 24th general election in the history of the Republic of Turkey. There were four main political parties competing to enter the parliament.

Among them, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) which has been governing party of the country for the last 13 years, sought to maintain its position. The AK Party wanted to continue its reforms towards a civilian constitution.

The party also introduced its plans for presidential system saying that a crucial step toward the considered system has already been taken when the previous AK Party leader and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan became the first publicly elected Turkish president on August 10, 2014.

Turkey’s decades old main opposition, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), built its campaign to become the next governing party. The party chose its main slogan as “Vote them (AK Party) out” asking citizens to give them a chance to show how they will govern the country if they were elected.

As the main third party of the parliament, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) aimed to preserve its Turkish nationalist attitude while staying in the opposition. The MHP toughened its policies against the rising Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) whom it labeled as its “sworn-enemy.”

Participating in the elections as a political party for the first time, the HDP’s main goal was to pass the 10 percent electoral threshold. The party promised to be a political party for all Turkey as it has been mainly focusing on Kurdish politics.

In this atmosphere, the June 7 election resulted with a surprise as none of the parties gained enough seats to form a majority government. The HDP passed the threshold by winning 13 percent of the votes.

The results showed that a coalition was needed to set up a government. However, almost two months of initiatives failed to form one.

At the beginning of the negotiations, the MHP and HDP announced that they would not form a coalition with the AK Party.

The AK Party had held long negotiation sessions with the CHP for a possible coalition government term but the parties could not reach an agreement to form a coalition due to differences regarding their expectations and interests.

The coalition talks happened under the shadow of ongoing PKK and DAESH terror attacks. More than 100 Turkish security officers died during that time. In the meantime, the government launched anti-terror operations against terrorist groups in order to stop the violence across Turkey.

Amid terror attacks, the coalition talks failed, Turkey set another date for an early election.

The snap election was held on Nov. 1. It resulted with the AK Party’s landslide victory. The party gained nearly half of the votes.

In his victory speech, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu promised to "build a ‘new Turkey,’ guaranteeing the freedom and security of its people.”

“I would like to make it clear that our citizens’ security of life and property and their freedom of thought and belief are guaranteed under our leadership,” he said.

TRTWorld and agencies