Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu has submitted his formal resignation in a procedural move necessary for Turkey to begin rebuilding its government after shocking election results that left the nation with no parliamentary ruling party. The majority AK Party to which Davutoğlu belongs must now attempt to form a coalition with at least one other minority party for Turkey’s Parliament to function.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s AKP–an Islamist and capitalist party–sought to turn their majority into a supermajority and use their oversized influence to turn Turkey’s government into a U.S.-style presidential system. Instead, their majority was reduced to the bare minimum necessary to maintain any majority at all, 40% of seats in Parliament, and the AKP is forced to build a coalition with minority groups or push yet another election in the hope that one party will gain enough votes to unilaterally lead.
The three other parties in the Turkish legislature are the CHP, a social-democratic party; the HDP, a pro-Kurdish party with ties to the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party group (PKK); and the MHP, a nationalist conservative party.
Davutoğlu will keep his position until he and his cabinet can forge a ruling majority together with at least one other party. He will have 45 days. So far, all three parties have ruled out the possibility of joining a coalition with the AKP.
The Kurdish HDP, as Hurriyet columnist Murat Yetkin notes, is an unlikely parter, as both parties galvanized their votes at the expense of the other. Many HDP voters are just as anti-AKP as they are pro-HDP–particularly the non-Kurdish vote, and vice versa. The HDP has not only remained silent on the possibility, but has accused the AKP of permissive attitudes towards violence in Kurdish communities. “You would think they are waiting to allow the country to slip into civil war so they can say, ‘Look at how valuable the AKP is,'” said HDP leader Selahattin Demirtaş of violence at Kurdish political rallies involving the PKK and what Demirtaş insinuated were supporters of the Islamic State.
The CHP, the second-largest party in the legislature, has used more conciliatory language in the hope of attracting a different party to support the AKP and prevent an early election. The CHP itself, however, appears to be an unlikely coalition partner itself. Party leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu ruled out a coalition with Erdogan, largely based on his moves to amass power as president: “Can you end this control? No! Can you restrict the president to just his constitutionally-defined authority? No! Hence why we’ll never be in any coalition involving the AK Party. The CHP and the AK Party are two polar opposites, hence why we can’t partner up.”
Former CHP leader Deniz Baykal met with Erdogan shortly after the election, however, and urged other parties to consider a coalition with him. “I got the impression that he is open to all coalition solutions. I have the impression that he will have a positive approach to all models in this sense,” he said.
That leaves the MHP, which was long considered the most likely coalition partner for the AKP. But even that nationalist party has ruled out the option, suggesting instead that the AKP align with one of the other parties. Turkey’s Zaman is suggesting that the CHP may lead its only majority coalition if it can get one of the other parties to join them instead of the AKP.
Davutoğlu’s post hangs in the balance. In May, the Prime Minister stated that if the AKP did not remain the ruling party, “I will leave my post to another honorable friend.” He, nonetheless, praised the Turkish people for participating in the elections on Sunday, with no sign of stepping down.