Instability in Turkey may end when Erdogan gets what he wants - expert

Thu 20 August 2015 09:20 GMT | 14:20 Local Time

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News.Az interviews Ekrem Eddy Güzeldere, free-lance journalist and political analyst based in Istanbul.

The Islamic state has threatened Turkey’s leadership for their support of the US-led military actions. How serious are these threats?

Any IS threat should be taken seriously. The person speaking in the video was identified as a sweet seller from Bursa who moved with his family to Syria some years ago. However, so far Turkey does not really participate in the military fight against IS in Syria and is very cautious in Turkey with arrests of IS members or sympathizers knowing that because of many IS supporters in Turkey and recruiting cells, the danger of terrorist attacks is always there. Therefore in the current situation a big IS attack in a big city or tourist centre is still not very likely, because after an attack Turkey needed to be more active in the fight against IS in and outside Turkey

President Erdogan is hugely criticized for support of these American actions. Doesn’t it harm Ergogan’s reputation before parliamentary elections?

In Turkey the opposition criticized Erdogan for indirectly helping and supporting IS by keeping the border open and by not preventing fighters and material from passing. Therefore the opposition always wanted a clearer stance against IS and a participation in the military coalition against IS. There might be many recent moves by Erdogan, which harmed his reputation, but allowing the US to use the Incirlik air base is not among them.

How deep is a political crisis in Turkey at the moment?

There is no doubt that there is a political crisis in Turkey. After the 7 June elections, parliament was not able to form a coalition. The main responsible therefore is president Erdogan who made from the beginning clear that he would not accept the election result where the AKP needed a coalition partner. Erdogan wants at least an AKP absolute majority to de facto continue acting as president and prime minister in one person. He would prefer a 3/5 majority (60%) to also be able to change the constitution to turn Turkey also de jure into a presidential system.

Are you sure that HDP leader Selahattin Demirtas would go to compromises in his disputes with AKP leadership?

Currently the AKP tries to criminalize the HDP and its leadership and link it with violence and deaths. The strategy seems to alienate the non-Kurdish and conservative Kurdish voters of the party to push it below the 10% threshold in upcoming elections. However, at a certain point most likely after the elections and the formation of a government there will be a return to the negotiation process concerning the Kurdish issue. Then also the AKP and HDP will again need to cooperate.

Can we believe that Turkey is able overcome instability caused by PKK and other extremists?

The instability will most likely end the day Erdogan gets what he wants. This would be the election day ending with an absolute AKP majority. If also the repetition of the elections do not result in an AKP absolute majority, then this instability can continue for some more time.

F.H.

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