Turkey's ruling Islamic-rooted AKP party may have trouble finding the coalition partner necessary to form the next government, after voters dealt a stunning rebuke to President Recep Tayyip Erdogan Sunday, with strong losses in a national vote that stripped the party of its parliamentary majority.We have to hope he's been crippled, but also be wary that he could decide to just wipe out democratic laws within an instant if he wanted to, much like the Nazis did during WW2. For now, it looks like a fortunate turn of events is happening, and Erdogan's been weakened deservedly.
Turkish voters effectively ended 13 years of one-party rule and stalled the Muslim nation's march toward Islamist control in historic elections. The democratically-elected Erdogan, through posts as prime minister and president, has held office since 2003 and had in recent years begun an alarming crackdown on the media, dissidents and ethnic minorities in what observers feared was an effort to move the NATO nation and U.S. ally toward theocratic rule.
In addition to announcing plans to expand the powers of his office, Erdogan had come under intense criticism for building a 1,000-room presidential palace, which was rumored to have gold-plated toilet seats.
"The dictator has collapsed," proclaimed the Yurt newspaper headline Monday.
Erdogan's party is now left with few options to form a new government, after it was stripped of its parliamentary majority and opposition parties ruled out joining it in a coalition pact. The Islamic-based Justice and Development Party, known as the AKP, won about 41 percent of the votes in Sunday's election and was projected to take 258 seats -- 18 below the minimum required to rule alone.
Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, an Erdogan ally and fellow AKP member, convened his cabinet and party executives Monday to discuss the party's options. Davutoglu will need to choose the most likely course to remain in power, whether by coaxing a reluctant opponent to the table or by trying to rule alone in a parliament where the AKP will be outnumbered by three empowered rivals.
The election result also puts Erdogan's hopes of passing constitutional changes that would have boosted his powers on hold. He is likely to see his preeminent position in Turkish politics erode without the ability to steer the government through his party.
I expect Erdogan to take by fiat what he can no longer win with votes. He can be confident because of the way the world has allowed Putin to do as he pleases. And Iran. And no one will stop him. Certainly not his pal Obama.