|HDP Co-chair Selahattin Demirtaş speaks with reporters|
Military operations recently launched against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) as well as remarks by a leading ruling party figure implying that a pro-Kurdish party often accused of being affiliated with the PKK could be closed down may well be part of a government plan to carry the acting ruling party to power in a possible early election.
After criticizing the pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) for failing to condemn the recent PKK violence, Mustafa Şentop, deputy chairman of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), said on Sunday political parties can be closed down only for one reason in Turkey, namely being linked to a terrorist organization.
The AK party lost a significant number of voters to the HDP in the predominantly Kurdish Southeast in the June 7 election. This was a large blow to the AK Party as it failed, for the first time since coming to power in 2002, to win enough seats in Parliament to form a single-party government.
“I feel this is part of a strategy to come to power as a single party,” Seyfettin Gürsel, the director of Bahçeşehir University's Center for Economic and Social Research (BETAM), told Today's Zaman.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who was accused by the opposition of trying to block efforts to forge a coalition government after the election, is also widely claimed to be seeking an early election.
Taking the military operations and the targeting of the HDP by the government as a sure sign of an early election, Gürsel added, “The AK Party could trying to close down the HDP if it feels it will not be able to push [voter support for] the HDP below the election threshold.”
The government may also be hoping that the bombing against the PKK, which started after the PKK murdered several security officials, would help the AK Party win back some of the nationalist votes that drifted to the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) in the latest election.
Until recently, the government has been adopting a “tolerant” attitude towards PKK activity in Turkey, which led some nationalist voters to turn their backs to the AK Party.