AKP hegemony on right-wing politics at stake

SoL columnist Volkan Algan wrote about the recent local election results in Turkey and what the results may indicate about the future moves of AKP and the right-wing politics in Turkey
Thursday, 04 April 2019 20:56

There are two major outcomes from the local elections in Turkey: Erdoğan got a major blow and there will be a profound criticism at the right-wing political scene.

Let’s make something clear: Did Erdogan’s party, AKP, consolidated its votes?

Despite the ongoing political instability inside the party and the country-wide financial recession, there seems no such major loss at the polls for AKP.

These are few snapshots of the current political scene, but a broader look to the ongoing trend will capture more. Especially, we got plentiful clues for right-wing politics from the last elections.

It is worth focusing at rural areas, such as mid-Anatolian and northern regions, well-known with its right-wing past. This will give an overview of the AKP hegemony and how it became delicate.

AKP entered local elections forming an ally with MHP, the racist party. MHP won 7 municipalities in these regions. Among those, AKP was leading the power over 50% of the votes in previous elections.

Besides that, the main opposition party, CHP, took four other towns such as Adana, Mersin, Bilecik, and Kırşehir.

Most importantly, AKP no longer holds the mayorship in metropolitans, such as Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir.

Metropolitans matters in country-wide politics. Victories in the rural regions do not satisfy Erdoğan’s wishes. Simply, the running budget of Istanbul Municipality is worth 10% of the total budget in Turkey. While AKP lost the opportunity of governing this large chunk of the economy, it also lost the ground to reinforce the political hegemony in the cities.

AKP runs this budget to consolidate its political hegemony, namely transacting money directly to its supporters, via instruments such as local foundations, religious groups, associations, etc.

The flow of cash is not insignificant and this can have direct influence in the political scenery and Erdoğan is well aware of this.

Is this the end of the fruitful days for AKP and its supporters? Probably not. Most of the money flow to the religious groups, foundations will continue but with a difference: Now, AKP is not going to be the only distributor of these resources. Other political players join the party and now seeking for opportunities to get their share, including the major party in opposition, CHP.

CHP has been flirting with the right-wing, and this became more obvious after nominating right-wing candidates at the elections.

Erdoğan and AKP used up their credits in politics but they survive because they have been major players running this corrupt machine.

Losing this ground might impact AKP hegemony on right-wing politics. This might get exacerbated with economic trends.

Overall, the political scenery is not stable in Turkey. In the next months, we might expect manipulative and tactical actions by bourgeois parties.

The last election is a substantial change for AKP and Erdoğan, and this might pave the road for a political recession for right-wing politics. Along with economic deterioration, more opportunities to come for communists.