Highlights of the 2015 Turkish Elections and the CHP

Turkish Parliament 2015

Chart: Hürriyet Daily News

Initial election results 2015:

AKP 40.86% of the vote and 258 deputies

CHP 24.96% of the vote and 132 deputies

MHP 16.29% of the vote and 81-82 deputies

HDP 13.12% of the vote and 80-82 deputies

Main facts:

  • Turkey’s general election on June 7 took place with a record 86 percent turnout.
  • The AKP looks to have lost about 70 seats, and is 17 short of a majority.
  • 276 seats needed to form single party government.
  • 367 seats are needed to change the constitution directly, 330 seats to call a referendum to change the system.
  • The number of women in the Turkish parliament has increased from 79 in 2011 to 96 in 2015 – a record high. The AKP is the only party to have less female MPs than in 2011.  (the Guardian). Rose from 14% to 17%.
  • For the first time ever, the estimated 6 million Roma citizens of Turkey will be represented in the Turkish parliament by CHP İzmir Deputy Özcan Purçu.
  • Christian citizens of Turkey will be represented in the Turkish parliament in greater number after a long absence as four members of the community. Selina Doğan, from the CHP, was elected as the first deputy candidate from the second election area of the CHP’s Istanbul list. Doğan, who is of Armenian origin, practices law as an attorney. Garo Paylan and Erol Dora from the HDP and Markar Esayan from the AKP.
  • In addition to the four Christians, two members of Turkey’s small Yazidi community were also elected for the HDP – Feleknas Uca from Diyarbakır and Ali Atalan from Batman.

Women Deputies

Distribution of the CHP votes in 2015 elections

CHP Votes - Elections 2015

Source: AA News Agency

“Erdogan, who placed himself at the center of a fractious and sometimes violent campaign, made no comment immediately after the results on Sunday.

As the Turkish president zigzagged the country for a month, holding rallies billed as opening ceremonies in an attempt to preserve his constitutional impartiality, he deployed bellicose rhetoric to attack his political enemies and convince voters to back his bid for more authority. competing for airtime with opposition leaders and his own prime minister, Mr. Erdogan repeatedly attacked the Western press and issued warnings that a foreign-led conspiracy was seeking to halt Turkey’s re-emergence as a great power, a century after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire.

In response, opposition parties railed against Mr. Erdogan and the government for corrupting the state and resorting to autocratic moves to stifle dissent and erode the rule of law. As the campaign moved to a crescendo, there were violent attacks on all parties, culminating in the twin bombings of an HDP rally in the majority kurdish southeastern city of Diyarbakir that left two people dead and more than 100 injured.

All three opposition parties said they wouldn’t partner with the AKP in a coalition.”  (Wall Street Journal) 


End of AKP Rule

“Now, for the first time in 13 years, The AKP no longer holds the 50% majority it needs to form a single-party government, reflecting strong public opposition to Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s highly controversial rule.

After coming into power in 2002, with Erdogan as Prime Minister, the AKP government reversed many of Turkey’s secular principles and introduced its own style of authoritarianism.

Last August, as Erdogan won Turkey’s first ever presidential election by a simple majority of 52%, his roles as Prime Minister and leader of the party were carried on to Davutoglu – the former Minister of Foreign Affairs. To mark the occasion, Erdogan built himself a $615 million palace using taxpayer money, causing public outrage over his plans to rule the country through an executive Presidential system described as “quasi-dictatorial” by the opposition.

Due to its serious attacks on freedom of speech and democracy, AKP’s critics are both nationally and internationally numerous. As a result of AKP’s rule, Turkey currently ranks as 149th out of 180 on the World Press Freedom Index, making it one of the least free countries on the planet despite its position in Eastern Europe.

In 2013, thousands of citizens were either killed or imprisoned during the Gezi Park Protests, and journalists who dare criticise the government are frequently arrested and imprisoned.

In the past decade, AKP has fined TV stations for blasphemy, banned access to both Youtube and Twitter in order to cover up video proof of Erdogan stealing government funds, trialled leftist military officers with fake charges of “coup plans”, banned alcohol between 10pm and 6am, displayed serious anti-Semitism, lobbiedagainst abortion rights, jailed more journalists than any other nation in the world, constructed the largest expansion of mosques in history using taxpayer money, and conspired a false flag attack on Syria.

It has also repeatedly insulted protesters by calling them “vandals” and “alcoholics”, removed the Turkish Republic’s “T.C.” initials from government buildings, taken control of Turkish media through bribery and arrest threats, banned advertisements and TV shows displaying alcohol, led to the death of 301 miners in Soma due to inadequate safety regulations, attacked citizens with chemically toxic water cannons, blamed critics of being controlled by Jews and “Jewish corporations”, and then blamed stray cats for a conveniently timed blackout during the 2014 local elections.”  (The Social Humanist

CHP Leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu:

Oppressive era ended through democracy. Long live democracy!

DHA Photo KKilicdaroglu

“CHP, the social democratic party, is led by Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. CHP won 25% of the national vote, potentially giving them the chance to form a coalition government against AKP with either MHP or HDP in order to restore secularism to the republic.

As the founding party of the Turkish Republic, CHP was established in 1923 by Ataturk and governed the country for several decades. Today, it is the most prominent opposition to AKP. The party supports social democracy, secularism, civil and political equality for women, state support of the sciences, and free education.

Throughout AKP’s rule, CHP has consistently been against censoring of media, for freedom of speech, and for further integration into the European Union. In contrast to Erdogan’s cold relations with the United States and neighbouring countries, CHP adopts a more cooperative stance with more westernisation and secularism, rejecting AKP’s focus on traditional islamic values.”  (The Social Humanist

The CHP manifesto includes measures to increase disability benefits, raise the minimum wage to 1,500 Turkish Liras and grant payouts to pensioners twice a year on religious holidays.

The party pledged to extend general health insurance to 3.2 million people as part of measures to combat poverty.

As part of its electoral campaign, the CHP announced plans to build a new mega city called “Central Turkey” (Merkez Türkiye) to serve as a trade hub between Europe, Asia and other continents.

The “mega city,” with a planned population of 3,000,000, will be completed by 2035 with $40 billion in public investment for infrastructure and $160 billion in private investment for superstructure. Powered by renewable energy and designed as a smart city, it will host production plants, logistics and trade facilities, research and development centers, techno parks, cultural institutions and a free trade zone.” (Hürriyet Daily News

Please also see CHP European Bulletin for the details: CHP’s economy-focused election manifesto and What is this Merkez Türkiye Project?

The 25.32 percent support will give the party around 132 seats in the 550-seat parliament. In remarks made at his CHP’s headquarters in Ankara late Sunday, Kilicdaroglu said: ” “We have ended an oppressive era through democratic ways. Turkey has won..Democracy is the real winner in the country’s 25th parliamentary elections, Long live democracy! We will continue to work with the same determination.” CHP President Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu in a short speech after the elections.. CHP activists chanted slogans “Prime Minister Kemal”.

Separately, at a press conference late Sunday, CHP Vice-Chairman Haluk Koç said: “The AKP, which turned into an oppressive power, has been downscaled in Sunday’s election. The one-man regime charge has been lifted today.The real loser of this election is Mr. Erdoğan. There is no possibility that we can come together with the AKP” Koç said .

Borrowed votes to the HDP

The CHP was unable to increase its vote share due to the transfer of many votes to the HDP amid a campaign to ensure the party crossed the 10 percent electoral threshold.

“We are now on the verge of entering the Parliament with 80 delegates” told HDP Deputy Sırrı Süreyya Önder in a press conference held in Ankara. Önder also thanked the non-Kurdish voters including liberals and others who cast their ballots for the HDP, based on the mathematical calculation which indicated that the HDP passing the threshold would be a severe blow to the AK Party. “We understand the reality that we have won this election on borrowed votes.. we will never forget this and will honor their votes. We thank them.” (BGN News

Elections night and election fraud attempts

(This sections highlights collected from Today’s Zaman reportings)

Last night running theme in speeches of all Turkish opposition parties were about an unfair election, AKP’s use of state resources in the campaign as pointed out by Benjamin Harvey, Turkey Bureau Chief for Bloomberg on social media platform Twitter.

“CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu casts his vote in Ankara. Kılıçdaroğlu complained that the campaign process was not fair and said a deadly attack on an HDP rally in Diyarbakır on Friday was particularly saddening. In his remarks posted on Twitter on Sunday before the polling stations opened, the CHP leader had underlined that the election was not a “war” as some claimed, but “an important election.”

Votes from abroad

“A brawl has been reported between party observers at the Ankara Chamber of Commerce (ATO) during the counting of votes from abroad, over extra votes that were seen to fall out of one of the ballot boxes. According to the Doğan news agency, 76 extra votes came out of one of the ballot boxes during the counting. When some of the observers suggested the extra votes be burned at random, tension broke out at the ATO’s meeting center. Riot police intervened into the incident.”

Cyber Attacks

“The Cihan news agency is subjected to a barrage of cyber attacks. When the users tried to enter cihan.com.tr website, they faced a “404 — Not Found” warning, proving the website was hacked. Cihan news agency General Manager Abdülhamit Bilici said the agency’s website has been under heavy attack from unknown cyber groups with the aim of preventing the agency from reporting the election results to its readers and subscribers. Ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Gaziantep deputy Şamil Tayyar had said on the eve of the election that the Doğan news agency and Cihan might be hacked on the day of the election after voting finished at 5:00 p.m.”

Preliminary findings and conclusions on Turkish elections announced by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (OSCE/ODIHR)


Coalition government options

Coalition options

Coalition scenarios after Turkey’s elections Photograph: Anadolu Agency/The Guardian

In addition to the scenarios above, Reuters examines two more possible scenarios for Turkey:

  1. AKP minority government. The AKP could seek to form a minority government, with the support of enough opposition deputies for it to win a confidence vote in parliament. The MHP is the most likely to support this move, but would again seek to extract concessions such as a guarantee of an early election. Analysts see little interest for the CHP or HDP in supporting such a move.
  2. Early elections.If no working coalition can be formed, or a minority government fails to win a confidence vote within 45 days, the constitution gives Erdogan the authority to call an early parliamentary election. That election would have to be held 90 days later.

Download as PDF file:

Highlights of the 2015 Turkish Elections and the CHP

About CHP EU Representation

The CHP was founded on 9 September 1923, about one and half month before the proclamation of the Republic of Turkey. The first President of modern Turkey’s oldest party was M. Kemal Atatürk. Today CHP is a social-democratic party, member of the Socialist International and associate member of the Socialist Group at the European Parliament. The scope of the CHP bureau in Brussels is not limited to the bilateral framework of Turkey's EU accession process. Issues such as the information society, energy policies, social development, climate change, international trade and security are among the different focus areas. The EU-Turkey relations are about integration and need multiple, plural and horizontal channels of communication. The CHP supports and promotes Turkey's EU membership process also by being more present and active in Brussels The CHP's Representative to the EU is Ms Kader Sevinç who previously worked as an MEP advisor at the European Parliament and in the private sector.
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