Margaret Owen, who took part in a delegation to southeast Turkey to monitor the recent snap elections, has produced this report based on her observations. Alongside Margaret were several others, including barrister Melanie Gingell, John Hunt, journalist; and Kawa Besarani, human rights advocate and political analyst; and academic David Graeber, among others.
Margaret Owen with voters in Sur, Diyarbakir
The results, that came in on Sunday night took many of us, the international observers of the election, by surprise. Last night we wept, as the first fireworks, music and song, of what everyone thought would introduce a night of celebration, turned into dark hours of grief and anger, which ended when the armed police arrived with their tear gas and water cannon, stone throwing from the youth, arrests and more violence.
How will the peace process with the Kurds be resurrected after this result? When Erdogan himself has stated that it is in tatters. But perhaps all is not lost for ever. The AKP got a majority but not a “super” majority in numbers. He will still need support from the other parties to rewrite the Constitution in the way he wants, that is, to give himself a life presidency and in reality, a dictatorship, far removed from Ataturk’s creation of a secular republic. At least the HDP kept its 10% threshold. Although they lost many votes they still have representation in parliament. It could have been worse.