Can the Turkish opposition kick out Erdogan?

Poster of Turkey

From David Kenner, Foreign Policy:  Today, party leader Mustafa Sarigul announced that he was abandoning his plans to establish TDH as an independent political party, and would throw his support behind the CHP is Turkey’s 2011 general election.

Sarigul suggested that international and domestic developments — a reference to Prime Minister Erdogan‘s vociferous criticism of Israel in the wake of the Gaza flotilla disaster and the recent flare-up of Turkish-Kurdish tensions — were the reason TDH leaders had to "act as statesmen and unite" with opposition groups. The real reason, however, probably has more to do with changes in the CHP, and within Turkey’s political climate. After the resignation of CHP leader Deniz Baykal following a sex scandal, his replacement, Kemal Kilicdaroglu, has mended bridges with Baykal’s old rivals — including Sarigul.

Just as importantly, the Turkish opposition seems to have gained new life. Two recent polls found that the CHP was polling at its highest level in years, now receiving the support of approximately 30 percent of Turks. There are a variety of possible reasons for this improvement in the party’s fortunes: the new leadership of Kilicdaroglu, Turkish anger that the AKP’s much-celebrated "Kurdish opening" failed to achieve results, discontent over Erdogan’s Middle East adventurism, and double-digit unemployment in a job market that still has not turned the corner following the international recession.

From Daniel Pipes, the National Review:  (1) Turkish regulations require that a party receive a minimum of 10 percent of the votes cast to enter parliament. (2) The secular political elite in the 1990s fractured into many small parties whose self-absorbed leaders refused to join forces. …

Center-right and center-left parties excluded from parliament had 9.5, 8.3, 7.2, 6.2 and 5.1 percent of the vote, amounting to 36.3 percent in all. Add their percentages to the CHP’s 19.4 and they controlled 55.7 percent of the chamber. Had the gaggle of selfish party tyrants combined efforts, they all would have been represented in parliament and secularists would likely still be running the show. …

Turkey’s going Islamist resulted from an accident of personalities and regulations which can be undone.  (photo: Saygin Serdarpglu/AFP/Getty)

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