Dances With Wolves!

A Quick Look at the Results of General and Local Elections held in Turkey on 18th April 1999

As some of our abroad anarchist comrades might know, we have just left behind general and local elections here in Turkey. Despite the fact that elections don't mean much for us, it is, nevertheless, worth examining the results of these elections. Just to give our comrades abroad an idea about the latest political picture of Turkey, we therefore. found it useful to offer our comments on the results of the past elections.

Turkish political system was completely locked up in last a few years. Since 1991 elections, the government has always been formed with a coalition contain tug two or more parties often with contradictory political views. As none of the parties could gain sufficient majority, ill-fated coalitions have become the only available choice until very recently. While it was thought that the 1995 elections would put an end to coalition period, the very opposite had happened. More than 3 coalitions were immediately formed between 1995 and 1999 each driving the political system into a deeper crisis. In the light of this unavoidable political fragmentation. actually nobody was expecting a different picture at the eve of 18th April elections. The most optimistic expectation was that, at least parties of the same political wing should gain a sufficient majority so that an harmonic coalition could be formed. However. the results of the elections gave rise to nothing other than a new disappointment. Before we go through the details. it will he useful to provide sonic numeric results as well as the parties that joined the elections:

Keep in mind that there are 550 seats in the parliament: to form a government 276 seats are needed: national threshold is 10% and total voters are approx. 37.000.000 people.

Parties and the votes they received:

DSP (Democratic Left Party), nationalist-leftist 21.6% of the votes, 137 seats
MHP (Nationalist Movement Party), fascist: 18.1% of the votes, 127 seats
FP (Virtue Party), Islamist, 15.5% of the votes, 111 seats
ANAP (Motherland Party), centre-right, 13.4% of the votes, 84 seats
DYP (True Path Party), centre-right, 12.3% of the votes, 89 seats
CHP (Republican People's Party), centre-left, 8.3% of the votes but no seats
HADEP (People's Democratic Party), pro-Kurdish 4% of the votes but no seats|

Other small left-wing & socialist parties and the results they gained

ODP (Freedom and Solidarity Party), alternative socialist : 248,553 votes 0.80%
BP (Peace Party), pro-Alevite and secular 78,922 votes 0.25%
IP (Workers' Party), hard-line Maoist and also nationalist : 57.607 votes 0. 18%
EMEP (Labour Party), hard-line Stalinist, 51,756 votes 0. 17%
SIP (Socialist Power Party), hard-line Stalinist: 37,680 votes 0.12%
DBP (democracy and Peace Party), moderate pro-Kurdish 24,419 votes 0.08%

So according to above numbers. none of the parties have enough majority to form the government, with other words. a new coalition is inevitable. But how? Many coalition formulas were discussed in recent days with no concrete conclusion At least three Parties are needed to form a coalition. DSP-MHP-ANAP coalition seemed the hoist possible one. However the DSP and MHP are old enemies, though the Political difference among them is almost disappeared. On the other hand, to include FP into coalition creates other problems as this party backs up lslamist fundamentalism. While we were writing this article, there still was not a coalition, not even a concrete formula. As the army insists on DSP-MHP-ANAP coalition, we think that these three parties will not dare to dismiss the army's demands. Anyway, let's leave coalition puzzle up to these cowards and turn to other facts of the elections.

Two important developments have marked the results of thus elections:

1. MHP. the fascist party that had only 8% in 1995 elections, created a quake and became the second biggest party with 18.1% of the total votes. Beside showing how Turkish society went towards fascism, MHP's unexpected victory means an ever-harder period for the revolutionaries of this country. MHP represents Principal force of Turkish fascism with its armed militants also known as 'Grey Wolves'. Responsible for killings of tens of thousand revolutionaries.

MHP's best cadres are now in the parliament. Of the 127 deputies of MHP at least 20 have faced many trials in the past blamed for the killing of leftists and socialists. MHP's 127 deputies also include some well-known ex-police chiefs and torturers. If MHP joins the coalition -which seems inevitable- then all these people will come to strategic posts For example if MHP gets Interior Ministry (responsible for national security & police forces) and the ministry of Justice, it will not abstain from imposing harsh policies and even direct or indirect attacks on leftwing' & anarchist circles. The 15.000 political prisoners, mostly of Kurdish origin are alarmed against possibility of MHP taking Justice Ministry which is responsible for prisons.

2. The other important development was that the CHP representative of 70 years old official Turkish Kemalist ideology could not enter the parliament for the first time in the republic's history. (containing some honourable elements, the CHP used perform as a barricade against the hard-line state policies Now, as CHP could not pass the 10% national threshold. the political balance in the parliament is totally ruined.

HADEP, the pro-Kurdish Party. managed to keep its votes at the same level as 1995 despite the fact that this party was under intensive attacks of the state and the fascists. In a time during which Kurdish movement is passing through a defeat process. HADEP's votes serve as an encouraging element. While HADEP won 4% of the votes on national basis, it became the first party in THE Kurdish Provinces here its average Percentage was around 40%. HADEP also won about 40 municipalities in Kurdish provinces which means that it now has most of the local administration in Kurdish region of Turkey. Deeply disturbed by this fact, the state and the media have already started to carry out various provocation's against HADEP's local administrators. i.e. blaming them for the support given to Kurdish guerrillas. On the other hand. HADFP's victory in local elections in Kurdish Provinces. also means a reversion on classical Kurdish claims. Having tasted the fruits of the power the Kurdish movement makes a break with its main goal of an Independent Kurdish state and instead integrate to existing Turkish regime. That the Kurdish radicalism will deeply be effected with HADFPs victory in local elections us beyond dispute.

Finally a few words about other left-wing & socialist parties. Although they always complain about the Turkish election system being unjust. they nevertheless, participate in the elections. Apart from a few outlawed socialist organisations. most of the Turkish socialists have joined the elections across the country. The overall percentage of all socialist panics, as mentioned above, is less than 1.5% of the total votes. This can give you a rough idea about socialism's overall power in Turkey against a hinge fascist camp. socialist forces equal almost to nothing. On the other hand, there are some reversions among the socialists as well. Compared with the last elections, the classical Maoist and Stalinist parties have decreased their votes. Understandably. the failure of socialist systems have blown an important strike to these type of' parties . Being very intolerant of the anarchists, these parties are at the bottom of their political strength. Nevertheless, they still maintain their force in limited areas which are encircled by fascists.

Among the socialist parties. the ODP. Freedom and Solidarity Party got most votes. ODP's success -though quite less than it was expected- is not only significant for the socialists it has also something to do with the anarchists. Founded in l994. ODP represents 'smiling socialism' here in Turkey. The member profile of ODP can be described as follows: Intellectuals. authors. poets. Artists, journalists, students. partly workers. environmentalists. greens. Peace & human rights activists. war resisters. many women. sexual minorities (gays & lesbians) amid other sub culture elements. So among the socialist parties. ODP is the most colourful one. It is also the most tolerant socialist party towards the anarchists ODP's total votes were much more than overall votes of all other socialist parties. This shows that classical social democracy is giving way to what we may call alternative or moderate socialism. As the ODP's rank and file and is, to some extent, parallel to anarchist circles, one could assume that anarchist tendencies are getting a certain base here iii Turkey. Unfortunately, this development is overshadowed by another danger instead of a revolutionary orientation.

The radical opposition moves towards an integration with the existing system as in the case of ODP The revolutionaries of' Turkey have only two choices, one worse than another: either keep going with hard-line Stalinists and Maoists or else moving towards more moderate ODP reformism. One factor which could remove this impasse would he building a social anarchist movement which is what we are trying to do.

So this was a short commentary on the latest elections of Turkey. As it seems, in the forthcoming days. we are going to dance with 'Grey Wolves'. Grandfather Bakunin save us!

Ates hirizi/Kaos Yayinlari
Piyerloti Cad. Dostlukyurdu Sok.
Selimbey Apt. no: 8

About Anarchism in Turkey: Turkiye'de Anarsizm

Texts in Turkish: Turkce metinler