TURKISH ELECTIONS 2009

“If you cry tomorrow, it will be in vain.”
~ R. Tayyip Erdoğan.
Leyla Zana votes for the first time in 18 years, 29 March 2009. Photo: Fırat News.

Most of the counting is done in the local Turkish elections and AKP has lost ground. Literally.

DTP took Sêrt (Siirt–49% DTP; 46% AKP; 2% CHP) and Wan (Van–52% DTP; 41% AKP; 3.6% SP) from DTP; it also took Îdir (Iğdır–40% DTP; 31% AKP; 27% MHP) from MHP. In spite of bribes of washing machines, refrigerators, and the like, DTP took Dersim (Tunceli–30% DTP; 25% Independent; 22% AKP).

“The Castle”, aka Amed aka Diyarbakır, broke Katil Erdoğan’s heart by handing DTP a 65% win, compared to AKP’s 32%. I would guess that much of the support DTP has in the Kurdish capital is as much a result of Osman Baydemir’s wild popularity as it is DTP’s campaigning. In Colemêrg (Hakkari), DTP won by an overwhelming 79% over AKP’s 16%. For more details on numbers, check Milliyet’s interactive map. Hürriyet also has lots of election data.

Other significant wins for DTP include Êlih (Batman), Sîlopî (Silopi), Tetwan (Tatvan) and many others. DTP now has 13 women mayors and Fırat news reports that unofficial results show DTP owning eight provinces and 50 districts as a result of the 29 March election.

There have been some problems in connection with the elections. For example, as DTP supporters celebrated the DTP win in Elkê (Beytuşşebap), police attacked the DTP office with tear gas bombs while village guards threw stones. There are problems with election results in Erzîrom’s (Erzurum) Tekman town, where AKP won by four votes while 30 votes were purposely cancelled. Apparently fingerprint voting for AKP was accepted but not for DTP. DTP filed objections and the election judge is currently being held by the TSK (local brigade commander) and the governor (qeymeqem/kaymakam) of the town. For what purpose the election judge is being held is unclear but I suspect it may be that he’s being held until he okays the shady goings-on.

Here’s some analysis on DTP’s Amed victory from Hürriyet:

This is a very strong comeback for the DTP, which some observers see as the political wing of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK. In the general elections of July 2007, in it was overshadowed by AKP’s phenomenal success in Kurdish areas.

At least 10,000 people gathered in front the DTP headquarters last night to celebrate this victory. There were men and women, the young and the old, the modern and the conservative. Women in headscarves were chanting around fires along with girls in blue jeans.

There was a notably high number of youth who were all cheerful about not just the DTP, but also the PKK. Its leader, Abdullah Öcalan, who has been in a Turkish jail since 1999, was frequently praised. When his posters were shown, enthusiastic supporters chanted his nickname, “Apo, Apo, Apo.” At some point a slogan filled the air: “The PKK is the people! And the people are here!” It was followed by another one: “Hey Turko, go home, Amed is not yours.” Amed is the ancient name given to Diyarbakir in the Kurdish language.

No mention was made in the article about AKP-sponsored violence against the people of Amed, particularly during the Amed Serhildan exactly three years ago, in which Katil Erdoğan gave a green light to security forces to murder Kurdish women and children if they got in the way. Security forces did, indeed, murder a number of Kurdish children throughout the region at the time. No mention was made of Kurdish opposition to TSK’s cross-border invasion of South Kurdistan last year, which was a massive failure and embarrassment for the TSK, as well as the government. Nor was there any mention of last year’s Newroz violence.

Hürriyet also offered some analysis on why AKP lost ground throughout Turkey, including:

* Since 2002, only two major political parties, the AKP and the CHP, were competing in the political arena. The AKP was leading the polls, increasing its votes in the last three consecutive elections. In the fourth, CHP managed to curb this trend and started to close the gap, thanks to its reputable candidates in many cities.

* MHP has increased its votes in many Anatolian cities, becoming a more visible contender appealing to center-right voters.

* In the southeast Anatolia, where the AKP was pushing hard to get the municipalities from DTP, it failed to succeed. On the contrary, the DTP seems to have increased its political visibility in the region where the AKP distributed social aid to the poor just before the elections. In addition, neither the government’s initiative of the start of Kurdish broadcasting on state TV (TRT-6) nor its recent attempts to extend an olive branch to Iraqi Kurds for cooperation produced sufficient results for the AKP.

* Support for the AKP in leading industrial cities, like Kayseri, Denizli and Bursa, decreased mostly because of the economic crisis. Although the AKP is less likely to lose the municipalities in these towns, the decrease in the votes would have tangible results over the general outlook on the results.

Now let’s see how bold the paşas become. Let’s see if AKP will cut the budgets for those provinces that are in DTP’s hands. Let’s see if AKP intensifies repression in those provinces. In the meantime, hearty congratulations to DTP for its victories!

Bijî DTP û Serkeftin!

DTP’s Women Mayors: http://www.firatnews.com/index.php?rupel=nuce&nuceID=5302
DTP has 50 districts: http://www.firatnews.com/index.php?rupel=nuce&nuceID=5308
DTP attacked in Beytuşşebap: http://www.firatnews.com/index.php?rupel=nuce&nuceID=5292
Controversy in Tekman, Erzurum: http://www.firatnews.com/index.php?rupel=nuce&nuceID=5304

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