MÜMTAZER TÜRKÖNE

Is a solution possible without the MHP?

The proposal brought by Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu »»

The proposal brought by Republican People’s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan took as its point of departure a foundation of dialogue in which all the various political parties could participate.

 Its essence sprung from a compromise that would rise up between the parties in the name of creating this dialogue. The most sensitive point in this was that all the parties would be present in this atmosphere of talks. But Kılıçdaroğlu’s proposal collapsed from the very start. This was because the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) had nothing but harsh criticism for the proposal, let alone any intent of actually participating. As for the Justice and Development Party (AK Party), it also tried to withdraw from the fray, pointing to the MHP as a reason for doing so. But later, it announced that it would move ahead, even without the MHP on board. This being the situation, it now appears that solutions will be sought on a platform that does not include the MHP for talks and debates.

But is a solution without the MHP actually possible? The answer to this question depends on the CHP. And the meaning of the answer is hidden in the initiative that has been developed by the CHP.

The CHP proposal tries to find a solution to the Kurdish problem out of the foundation of party competition. As a political party, the CHP is making a great sacrifice in this. The solutions to ethnic problems all over the world are generally solved only through the ruling party paying a heavy price. And a party such as the AK Party, which had behind it such great support, showed hesitation when it came to stepping forward and paying this price. As for the support proffered up now by the CHP, it lessens the load on the AK Party’s shoulders, while increasing the risk for the CHP.

As for the risk newly shouldered by the CHP, it represents a great opportunity for the MHP.

One faction of CHP voters may wind up switching their votes to the MHP because of these moves on the part of the CHP. Previous elections have already proven that when it comes to the axis of the Kurdish problem, there is sometimes some back and forth between the CHP and the MHP among voters. In this situation, with the MHP having stuck the CHP into the same category as the AK Party, it appears it may have its sights set on grabbing some CHP votes. In short, the MHP is making some very basic game calculations here. But are these calculations really correct?

Just how right these calculations are depends entirely on the CHP’s support being insufficient when it comes to actually solving the Kurdish problem. Who will prevent this from happening? The PKK/BDP (Kurdistan Workers’ Party/pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP)) front of course. In the face of a new and resolute push for a solution, the PKK will only increase its violence; if, in response, the public becomes indignant, then this whole CHP move to support finding a solution will wind up meaning a large loss of votes for the party. But what if the contrary occurs, and a solution appears on the horizon due to these new efforts? Well, then the MHP will be marginalized, and a two party system that has the AK Party on one side and the CHP on the other will truly take root in Turkey.

The MHP is a party whose very existence can be tied to the Kurdish problem. When the military threw in the towel in 2007, the MHP leader attempted to fill the vacuum that had been created. Ever since that date, policies that run from the centralized nation state idea to certain assimilationist policies have all been championed by the MHP.

For as long as the Kurdish problem remains a terror issue that takes lives, the MHP will maintain its threshold of voters. And as the flames of the terror begin to wane, so will their votes. What this situation really reveals is that the MHP and the PKK are in fact akin to being two political actors that nourish and strengthen one another. There is only one result that can be elicited from this: The Kurdish problem will be solved despite the existence of these two actors. Neither the MHP nor the BDP will be a part of the search for a solution.

And thus, finding a solution to the Kurdish problem without the MHP or the BDP is in fact possible. But it is not possible without the CHP. If the new solution quest supported by the CHP actually takes place, both the MHP and the BDP will evaporate and disappear. Both the MHP and the BDP are strengthened by the continuing lack of solution. Turkish society is aware of this. Which is why, if terror increases as a solution appears closer, it appears less and less likely that any growing anger on the part of the society will return to the PKK or the MHP in the form of support.

Is a solution possible without the MHP? Yes it is.

2012-06-10

Columnists

Columnist:: MÜMTAZER TÜRKÖNE