Monthly Archives: June 2015

The Turkish AK party’s strategy of consilience

Etyen Mahçupyan writes:

The pre-election arithmetic is based on the simple fact that a coalition that excludes the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is neither sustainable nor realistic in political terms. On the other hand, a new election in the short run is likely to favor the AK Party. Consequently, the opposition parties are caught in a dilemma. They need a coalition by all manner of means. Despite that, the votes the AK Party would get in a new election would be largely influenced by the way holding new elections is determined. If the AK Party behaves confidently about increasing its votes and keeps the bar of bargaining high, its votes might decrease inversely. But if the party does its best to form a coalition and cooperation cannot be made despite its efforts, its votes might increase beyond expectations. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu act accepting this simple equation. Erdoğan’s meeting with former Republican People’s Party’s (CHP) Chairman Deniz Baykal was a part of this. No matter if they are accepted or not, all the attempts to negotiate with party chairs have the same function. Davutoğlu also declared that they do not have any red lines and are open to negotiation with all parties, adding that the public willed the formation of a coalition and the AK Party would conform to this.



In Turkey, will the AKP and MHP form a coalition?

The only meaningful coalition in the new Turkish political scene going forward, it seems, is one between the AKP and the MHP, which attracted the most conservative elements of the AKP’s constituency in the last election. However, this will mean that the torch for the reconciliation process with the Kurds will have to be passed over entirely to the HDP, and perhaps burn out as a result*.

see Daily Sabah editorial

* given that the MHP considers the HDP as terrorists, and that it also represents the AKP’s most natural allies, it would seem that the Kurdish question will have to be put on the back burner, and the economy prioritised in the current period. Furthermore, since the HDP doesn’t look as if it will take a tough line with the PKK, the irony is that the rise of the “Kurdish  party” looks like impacting the Kurdish question negatively. This in turn will mean that the sudden rise of the HDP will, in due course, turn out to have been a flash in the pan.

The US Iran Deal

As I discussed here:

the Iran deal is clearly vital for US interests, and many lobby groups, which previously looked as if they were going to be dead set against the deal (because Netanhayu was against it),  are nevertheless going to back Obama.

If there had been any doubt about this, NY Senator Charles Schumer told a New York Jewish audience a week ago that the U.S. and Israel have very different interests re a possible Iran deal and as a senator representing Americans, he may determine that the deal is in his country’s best interest. In a remarkably frank discussion of dual loyalty, he said his concern for Israel comes second.

read more on:


Ahmet Davutoğlu’s statement

In a nationally televised interview with state-run TRT 1 on Wednesday, Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu made clear that the AK Party will look to form a coalition first and foremost before weighing other options.

He further stated that the AK Party was the only party that received votes from every corner in Turkey and from every portion of society during the general elections held on Sunday, making clear that calling immediately for an early election would be disputing the nation’s choice. Thus they will first rule out every option before this is considered.

“I will sincerely meet with every opposition party. We have no red lines. We always said a coalition is not the best option but if the people make such a choice, what falls on us is to do the best of it. Our people opted for a coalition. We will not argue against it but will try our best to do our part.”

He added that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was not involved in coalition negotiations with opposition parties and that he would step in if a crisis emerged.

“Since 1960, only four other parties besides the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) surpassed 40 percent support in the nation, while the left only surpassed 40 percent once with Ecevit’s CHP receiving 41 percent” Davutoğlu said.

He also said that the co-chairs of the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) have to call on the PKK to lay down arms to prove their sincerity in the peace messages they delivered in the party’s election campaign, adding that the HDP voters should also pressure the party to do what falls on them to protect the peace in the country. If the HDP still continued to conduct its politics through the PKK it would mean a return to security oriented policies for Turkey.

Requests made for the arrest of Egyptian junta leader Sisi in Johannesburg

Anadolu Agency reported today that the South African Muslim Lawyers Association (MLA) in South Africa has filed an official request for the arrest of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi when he arrives in Johannesburg on Friday to attend the 25th African Union Summit. Yousha Tayoub of the MLA believes that Sisi committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, and that the upcoming visit would present a good opportunity for the South African authorities to arrest, investigate and prosecute the Egyptian president for his alleged crimes.

South Africa was a signatory to the Rome Statute, which formally established the International Criminal Court (ICC), which means that South African authorities can arrest anyone accused of committing genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes or crimes of aggression.

The Media Review Network (MRN), a South African advocacy group, likewise supports calls for Sisi’s arrest upon his arrival in the country. MRN spokesman Ibrahim Vawda said reminds the South African government that the crimes committed by Sisi are universally condemned offenses, and that war criminals are considered enemies of all humankind. South Africa, as a young democracy mustn’t be seen as a safe haven for such criminals.”

Are central banks losing their ability to inflate asset prices?

Wolf Richter writes:

Despite massive QE by the European Central Bank, the price of Germany’s 10-year government bond, one of the most “conservative” investments in the world, dropped 7.5% in the seven weeks since April 20. And the price of the 30-year bond plunged 23%.



Turkey’s elections and the inevitable progress of the AK party

In the June 7 elections, when 86% of registered voters in Turkey made their voices heard, the AK (Justice and Development) party lost some ground (from 55.9% of the national vote to 51.6%), chiefly as the result of the emergence of a new party: the HDP (People’s Democratic Party).

Ironically, the success of the HDP, which is essentially a Kurdish nationalist party, was due to the AK’s party’s policy of rapprochement with the Kurdish population of Turkey and their greater integration in the political system. But the HDP in fact attracted the leftist vote on a national scale, when its leader sought to widen the party’s appeal. The left had nowhere else to go, since the CHP (Republican People’s Party) is seen as élitist, and the other parties, too conservative.

Actually the AK party also lost some votes to the MHP (Nationalist Movement Party), because of its policy of rapprochement with the Kurds. Nevertheless, AK still came in as the largest party and seems to be taking seriously its obligation to try to form a coalition government, now that it doesn’t have an outright majority in Parliament. This is irrespective of the hard line taken on the matter of coalition politics on the part of all the other parties.

The AK, however, will not back down either on its policy of constitutional reform, which envisages a presidential system with greater executive powers for the president, or on its policy of rapprochement with the Kurds. The HDP rule out a coalition with the AK party, essentially because it represents the protest and leftist vote. The MHP will not countenance the AK Kurdish policy. The only possibility left is a coalition with the CHP, which has, in the past few days,  slightly softened its stance on the idea of coalition.

But if its enters into coalition, it will effectively have to agree to a policy on the constitution which will give more power to the position of president, which their bête noire – Erdogan- occupies at the moment. However, the CHP, which had high hopes that “it’s the economy stupid” message would stem its long run of failures, is the biggest loser of this election. So, you never know, maybe they will agree to back the AK party’s main policies, in exchange for some power-sharing.

CHP deputy Deniz Baykal said, after meeting the President today, “I saw that Erdoğan is open to any coalition formula. I gladly saw that he has no objections to opposition parties forming a coalition among themselves,” he added. Baykal has no political clout in the CHP but he is revered as the grand statesman of the left, which was all Erdoğan needed  to project a new sense of inclusiveness and reconciliation.

But ultimately, if all of the AK’s attempts at forming a coalition government fail, the resulting political instability, which is already affecting financial markets, will reinforce AK’s argument for the urgent need for constitutional reform. The current situation will then play into AK’s hands, and an early election is likely to lead to an increase in their share of the vote.


The US Supreme Court ruling on Jerusalem is significant

No. 13–628. Argued November 3, 2014—Decided June 8, 2015
The Supreme Court upholds 6-3 Obama’s decision that no country has jurisdiction over Jerusalem, which has precedent because Truman recognition of Israel didn’t recognise any jurisdiction over Jerusalem
see ruling at