Five months after losing their parliamentary majority to the Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP), President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s Justice & Development Party (AKP) has regained power in new parliamentary elections.
Of course, it could be said that the AKP never truly lost power as it prevented the HDP from officially taking power. There is no doubt that increased tensions with Syria played a big factor especially with Russia’s overt presence in the region. You might recall that Russian aircraft entered Turkish airspace last month which were met by two Turkish F16s.
Then there were the bombings in Ankara nine days later which claimed the lives of nearly 100 people. The Turkish government blamed the attacks on both ISIS and the PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party). These seems implausible given that the PKK has been actively fighting ISIS for over a year now. As I wrote at the time:
Well, with new elections taking place on November 1st and given Erdogan and Davutoglu’s reputation for not brooking dissent is it beyond the realm of possibility that AKP (Justice & Development) could have orchestrated an attack against their own people as a means to consolidate power? It wouldn’t be the first time.
Whatever role, if any, Erdogan had in the Ankara bombings he has what he wants and what he wants, he gets. This won’t be good for those Turks who dare to disagree with him especially journalists who write less than laudatory articles about him or broadcast less than fawning pieces about their fearless leader. Indeed, last week Turkish police shut down two TV stations critical of Erdogan accusing them of plotting to overthrow Erdogan.
This sad state of affairs can be placed upon the sagging shoulders of Erdogan’s trusted friend President Obama. As an editorial in The Wall Street Journal put it bluntly, “But it’s a reminder of what happens when America’s refusal to act to stop chaos in places like Syria frighten allies into making unpalatable choices. Strongmen often look good when America seems weak.”
All of which means things are going to get worse before they get better.