World View: In Major Election Setback, Turkey’s Erdogan Loses Support as Kurds Gain Seats

Political Parties Hold Rallies Ahead Of Turkish Parliamentary Election
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This morning’s key headlines from

  • Israeli residents near Gaza border expect war soon
  • Israel launches fresh air strikes on Gaza
  • In major election setback, Turkey’s Erdogan loses support as Kurds gain seats

Israeli residents near Gaza border expect war soon

Hamas tunnel (Memri)
Hamas tunnel (Memri)

Israeli residents who live near the Gaza border can hear the sounds of tunnels being dug underground, and the digging goes on 24 hours a day. The residents blame Israel’s Defense Forces (IDF). According to one resident:

Very simply, the IDF didn’t do the job the last time.

I’ve also heard of many residents in the area complaining about hearing digging, so we weren’t surprised that a senior Hamas official said their people continue to prepare offensive tunnels. I hope that next time [the army] will properly deal with the tunnels in a timely fashion instead of waiting until 14 terrorists pop out from underground.

Many of these residents living on the border were forcibly expelled from the Gaza Strip in 2005, after the prime minister at the time, Ariel Sharon, forcibly withdrew all Israeli settlers from Gaza, and turned the Strip over to the Palestinian government.

I keep saying this again and again. It’s been 10 years since we were expelled from [Gaza], and the leadership in this country – some of whom are alive, some of whom are dead – promised us we would be safe. Since [leaving Gaza], we’ve absorbed 6,000 mortar bombs and even Qassam rockets, and we didn’t complain. […]

They promised that there would be quiet in the South and the entire country. But since we left [Gaza], there have been three large-scale campaigns – Cast Lead, Pillar of Defense, and Protective Edge. In the last year, we have seen a trickle of missile fire and the digging of tunnels, and we may be on the verge of another military operation.

As I have been writing since 2003, Generational Dynamics predicts that there will be a new war between Arabs and Jews, refighting the bloody, genocidal 1948 war that followed the partitioning of Palestine and the creation of the state of Israel. Jerusalem Post

Israel launches fresh air strikes on Gaza

Israel’s air force launched air strikes at a Hamas training facility in the northern Gaza Strip on Sunday, in response to a rocket launched from Gaza at Israel. The rocket landed in the middle of a farmer’s sunflower field, and there were no casualties from either attack.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest, accompanying President Barack Obama at a G7 summit in Germany, supported the Israeli air strikes: “Clearly the US stands with the people of Israel as they defend their people and their nation against these kind of attacks.”

The head of the IDF’s Southern Command, Maj-Gen Sami Turgeman, says that Hamas is not responsible for the rocket fire from Gaza:

These are isolated rockets fired by terrorists in Gaza. The rockets explode in open fields and the IDF retaliates to the incidents but will not launch an operation in the Strip because of them. The IDF responds in accordance with the attacks.

According to Turgeman, the IDF believes that Hamas wants the calm in Gaza. The Omar Brigades, a Gaza terror group, took responsibility for the rocket fire. Reuters and Jerusalem Post

In major election setback, Turkey’s Erdogan loses support as Kurds gain seats

The electorate on Sunday surprised Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan by refusing to give his party the re-election margin that he needed to implement the constitutional changes he was proposing.

Erdogan’s AKP (Justice and Development Party) government has won a parliamentary majority for the last 13 years, giving Erdogan a great deal of power, which opponents say he has used to become almost a dictator, suppressing free speech and jailing opposition.

During the campaign, Erdogan asked the voters to give him an even bigger parliamentary majority, so that he could modify the constitution to change from a parliamentary government (like Britain) to a presidential government (like the US), presumably giving himself even more power. So Sunday’s election was probably really a referendum on Erdogan’s increasingly autocratic grab for power.

The loss in support was significant. The AK Party got 49% of the vote in the 2011 election, but only 41% in Sunday’s election. This means that Erdogan will have to try to form a ruling coalition with another party. However, some reports indicate that Erdogan feels he was cheated, and may call for a snap election soon, in the hope of regaining a majority.

It was significant that the AK Party got only 41% of the vote, but equally significant was that the Kurdish anti-government far-left Peoples’ Democratic Party’s (HDP) got 12% of the vote, surpassing a 10% threshold that gives the party a significant representation in the parliament. HDP’s support was very strong in eastern Turkey, in the region that Kurdish separatists desire as an independent Kurdistan.

Note: HDP = Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party in Turkey, PKK = Kurdistan Workers’ Party anti-government insurgents in Turkey. Peshmerga = Kurdish militias in Iraq. PYD = Kurdish militias in Syria.

The PKK is considered a terrorist group, and has fought an on-and-off civil war with the government since the 1980s, but has sought peace in recent years. So the rise of the HDP in Sunday’s election will give the Kurds in Turkey a much larger political voice than they’ve had in the past. BBC and Daily Sabah (Turkey) and Hurriyet (Turkey)

KEYS: Generational Dynamics, Israel, Gaza, Ariel Sharon, Sami Turgeman, Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Justice and Development Party, AKP, Peoples’ Democratic Party’s, HDP, Kurdistan Workers’ Party, PKK
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