New Parliament and the future of politics in Türkiye
The Turkish Parliament’s opening session took place on Friday, as elected parliamentarians took the oath of office with Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) Chair Devlet Bahçeli serving as interim speaker.
The symbolism of the parliamentary oath-taking ceremony is always noteworthy. It was certainly ironic that Bahçeli welcomed Erdoğan to Parliament as interim speaker. Let us recall that the MHP chairman expressed solidarity with the Turkish president in the wake of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt, formed the People’s Alliance with him and made significant contributions to Erdoğan’s victory in the presidential election.
Meanwhile, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu and Ali Babacan, the leaders of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Democracy and Progress Party (DEVA), watched the ceremony from the spectators’ section. The remaining four opposition parties were not represented by their chairs.
Chairs of ‘table for six’ missing
Interestingly, the six opposition leaders, who hoped to serve as vice presidents, did not run for Parliament.
It was also noteworthy that the Green Left Party (YSP) deputies did not sing the national anthem – unlike the Free Cause Party (HUDA-PAR) representatives.
Although seven parties are represented in Parliament, according to the official results, the actual number is 16. Accordingly, Parliament currently represents over 94% of all voters.
Experts believe that the 38 parliamentarians, who do not have a caucus, will attempt to form a new caucus over the next few days – mainly because having a parliamentary caucus would enable them to field a presidential candidate in 2028 without having to collect 100,000 signatures or receive at least 5% of the general vote. It would also allow them to be represented in the Parliament’s management and parliamentary commissions. Finally, members of a given caucus can address the General Assembly slightly longer than others.
A diverse Parliament
It is possible to argue that the new group of parliamentarians from very different ideological backgrounds will participate in many unexpected debates and rhetorical battles over the next five years. Once the chairs of CHP and the Good Party (IP) survive leadership battles this summer, one might expect fierce debates at Parliament.
Obviously, the People’s Alliance will exert more influence over Turkish politics than others because it has a parliamentary majority and also controls the executive branch.
Whereas the Nation Alliance remains on the brink of disintegration, the ruling People’s Alliance will resume its activities seamlessly.
The opposition might recover from its most recent defeat before next year’s municipal elections to remain in charge of metropolitan municipalities.
Some media personalities who have been guiding the main opposition party demanded Kılıçdaroğlu’s resignation. I would say that such efforts will prove futile.
The CHP’s need to transform its political platform and mindset has become extremely dire. Its chairperson might have to make strongly worded statements and accusations to help the movement recover.
Over the weekend, President Erdoğan and his new Cabinet started working toward the “Century of Türkiye.” The Turkish leader has many items on his diplomatic agenda – as the number of world leaders congratulating him and attending his inauguration ceremony suggests. Over the following years, Türkiye will promote peace, stability and cooperation in its neighborhood, consolidate its continent-wide initiatives and strive toward a more just world order.