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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
06ANKARA3227 2006-06-02 13:10:00 CONFIDENTIAL Embassy Ankara
Cable title:  

OPPOSITION PARTIES UPDATE: LOTS OF TALK, BUT

Tags:   PGOV PREL PINS TU 
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					  C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 ANKARA 003227 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/02/2025
TAGS: PGOV PREL PINS TU
SUBJECT: OPPOSITION PARTIES UPDATE: LOTS OF TALK, BUT
LITTLE VISION

REF: A. ANKARA 002901


B. 2005 ANKARA 006878

Classified By: Janice G. Weiner, E.O. 12958, reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).



1. (C) Summary. In the aftermath of the May 17 shooting at
the High Administrative Court in Ankara (ref a), there has
been increasing talk about forming electoral alliances among
smaller opposition parties on the center right and the center
left. At this point, it is largely chatter. Forming
electoral alliances is tricky under Turkish law, party
leaders, egos are huge, and the larger opposition parties
have little incentive to cooperate with their smaller rivals.
End summary.



2. (C) The Turkish parliament,s current term does not expire
until November 2007. Secular opposition parties and their
allies in the secular state establishment are already
jockeying to force early elections to stop the current
parliament, dominated by the ruling pro-Islam Justice and
Development Party (AKP), from selecting the next President in
May 2007 (ref b). The AKP, which calls itself a conservative
democratic party, remains the juggernaut of Turkish electoral
politics. Most polls conducted over the past year --
including one published May 30 in Vatan newspaper -- indicate
that AKP would win 30-35 percent of the vote and the
center-left Republican People,s Party (CHP) would win 15-20
percent of the vote, were elections held today. These same
polls also show the center-right True Path Party (DYP) and
the ultra-nationalistic Nationalist Action Party (MHP)
hovering around the 10 percent electoral threshold. The
other three dozen Turkish political parties are stuck in the
basement, in the low to mid single digits, with no hope of
winning any parliamentary seats on their own.



--------------------------

--
Calls for Unity on Center-Left and Center-Right


--------------------------

--



3. (C) Bulent Ecevit, a former Prime Minister and former
chairman of the Democratic Left Party (DSP) (currently in a
stroke-induced coma), recently called for unification of the
left-of-center secular parties. Ecevit suggested that DSP,
CHP, the Social Democratic People,s Party (SHP) and other
parties on the left forge an electoral alliance with Yilmaz
Buyukersen, the well-respected DSP mayor of Eskisehir, as the
coalition,s announced PM candidate. SHP Chairman Murat
Karayalcin responded favorably, calling for the Turkish left
to follow the example of the Italian left and unite under a
single banner. Karayalcin said the Turkish social democratic
movement should unite around the principles of Ataturk and
the Socialist International.



4. (C) Former President, PM and True Path Party (DYP) leader
Suleyman Demirel made a similar call for unification on the
center-right. At a meeting Demirel convened May 30 near
Ankara with 180 representatives of center-right parties, the
group agreed that the center right should unite under
Demirel,s leadership. The next day, several center right
politicians expressed support for Demirel,s efforts.



--------------------------


CHP and DYP Not Interested in Alliances


--------------------------





5. (C) For their part, CHP leader Baykal and DYP leader Agar
would love to absorb the smaller opposition parties. Each
would happily accept a merger with smaller parties under
their own leadership. Baykal and Agar, however, have huge
egos and little incentive to cooperate with the smaller
parties in an informal electoral alliance. CHP leader
Baykal, accordingly, called on the smaller left-of-center
parties to unite by disbanding and joining CHP. DYP leader
Agar is reported to have rejected Demirel,s plan.



6. (C) CHP and DYP members with whom we have talked believe
their parties will cross the 10 percent threshold in the next
election. They see a potential merger with a smaller party
as unlikely to change CHP or DYP,s share of the vote by more
than a few percentage points. Accordingly, a merger would
win neither CHP nor DYP many new seats in parliament, but
would require CHP and DYP to give some seats to alliance
members -- not a prospect their leaders relish.

ANKARA 00003227 002 OF 002





--------------------------


Electoral Alliances Not Part of Turkish Law


--------------------------





7. (U) Under Turkish law, there is no provision for forming a
formal electoral alliance. Parties interested in
establishing such an alliance must do so unofficially by
having their candidates run under one party,s banner and on
one party,s official electoral candidate list. In essence,
the parties merge under the umbrella of one party for the
purpose of the election, with the understanding that the
candidates from other parties will return to their original
parties after the election. If parties in such an electoral
alliance win enough votes to secure a state financial
subsidy, the subsidy is given to only one party. According
to law, that party may not share it with other parties.



8. (C) Comment. Political chatter about electoral alliances
and mergers will continue as just that -- as chatter and
wishful thinking -- since it will prove difficult to
translate these strategies into practice. Within Turkish
political parties, party leaders wield tremendous power: many
egotistical Turkish party leaders would far rather
dictatorially govern their own small parties than work with
other parties, leaders to advance a common ideological or
political agenda. While smaller parties, like DSP and SHP,
may be able to form a temporary electoral alliance, these
alliances are unlikely to cross the 10 percent electoral
threshold. As for Baykal, he is likely to resist a
CHP-DSP-SHP alliance, as Agar is likely to oppose a
DYP-Motherland Party (ANAP) alliance, despite the fact that
these mergers would advance the interests of the center-left
and center-right, respectively, in Turkish politics. As a
result, absent an unexpected collapse of AKP, that party will
continue for now as the 800 pound gorilla of Turkish
politics. End Comment.

Visit Ankara's Classified Web Site at
http://www.state.sgov.gov/p/eur/ankara/

WILSON