Turkish political alliances and blocs threaten AKP’s throne
Ahmed Sami Abdel Fattah
The map of political parties in Turkey is still forming, especially after prominent leaders from the Justice and Development Party (AKP), which has ruled Turkey since 2002, split and established opposition parties to resist the AKP’s dominance in all joints of the state.
Among the most prominent of these leaders are former prime ministers Ahmet Davutoglu, who also served as minister of foreign affairs, and Ali Babacan, who is credited with drawing up Turkey’s economic plans in recent years.
The real challenge for the nascent political parties in Turkey is their ability to attract votes from the traditional parties that have been on the scene for a long time, in addition to the need for parties to obtain 10% of the electoral vote in order to be represented in the parliament. This explains Davutoglu’s need to cooperate with other parties.
Since Davutoglu cooperating with Islamist parties is a closed option, it is likely that he will instead cooperate with Turkey’s largest opposition party, the Republican People's Party (CHP).
AKP’s falling popularity
Davutoglu established the Future Party, while Babacan started the Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), with the understanding that both sides would be cut off from the AKP's popularity, which has been affected in recent months, coinciding with the decline of the Turkish lira to an unprecedented level, representing a decline in the value of public savings.
According to the latest opinion polls on the popularity of Turkish parties, the AKP’s popularity decreased from 33.9% in February to 33.7% in March, before declining again to 32.8%. These figures show the need for the AKP to ally with the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in order to maintain a simple majority in parliament, which would guarantee it control of the legislature.
In the same respect, support for the CHP decreased from 20.7% in February to 17.7% in March, but the party managed to return to 19% in April. These figures mean that the CHP’s alliance with the Future and DEVA parties would be sufficient to bring Erdogan's new rivals into parliament, which would represent a real crisis for the AKP, especially since Davutoglu and Babacan hold many secrets about the party's management of domestic and foreign files.
Felicity and CHP
Turkey’s Felicity Party is holds an Islamist orientation, but is known for its strong opposition to the AKP for several reasons, including intellectual differences and the AKP’s exclusion of Felicity from entering into any electoral alliance with it, which prevented Felicity from joining the parliament.
As for Davutoglu and Babacan’s potential alliance with the CHP, this would fail if they resort to rapprochement with the fundamentalist Felicity Party unless the latter abandons a number of its fundamentalist ideas, which is out of the question for the time being. Although both the CHP and Felicity oppose the AKP, rapprochement has never occurred between them.
There are also a number of intellectual points that bring together Davutoglu’s party with the CHP, the most important of which is both parties’ opposition to the country’s change to the presidential system and the concentration of more powers in the hands of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Moreover, both parties support rapprochement with Europe at the expense of interest in Eastern issues, which Davutoglu believes is not in Turkey's interest to get involved with at all. Supporting media freedoms and demonstrations is another point shared between the two parties, especially after public freedoms have significantly declined recently.
In this last regard, Freedom House ranks Turkey as lacking freedom, with a total score of 32 out of 100.