‘Erdogan gaining more power in Turkey dangerous internationally’

People wave flags and hold a portrait of Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan outside the AK Party headquarters in Istanbul, Turkey November 1, 2015. © Osman Orsal
If the ruling AK party gives sweeping powers to Turkish President Erdogan the situation in the country might be close to civil war, and dangerous domestically and internationally, Ronald Suny, of the University of Michigan told RT.

Turkish President Erdogan's ruling party [AKP] won a crucial election on Sunday, achieving 49.3 percent of the vote.

READ MORE: ‘Victory of democracy’: Turkey’s ruling party claims parliamentary majority

RT: The Justice and Development Party (AKP) has regained its parliamentary majority with almost 50 percent of the vote. Are you surprised by the strength of its support? 

Ronald Suny: I’m a little bit surprised. Most of the polls said that it would be more or less a repeat of the June 7 election, in which the HDP [Peoples’ Democratic Party], the pro-Kurdish party had gained enough votes that it stopped an Erdogan majority, and therefore prevented the creation of the presidential system…

This whole crisis is somewhat artificially created by the President of Turkey precisely because he didn’t win that election on June 7; he didn’t form a coalition government in between and forced this further election. In the meantime of course what he did – was bomb the Kurds, start the war with the Kurds and create a level of violence that in fact may have turned many people over toward the government in order to enforce some kind of stability.  

READ MORE: Turkish police fire tear gas at protesters dissatisfied with election results

RT: The ruling party wants to turn Turkey into a Presidential Republic which would give sweeping powers to Erdogan. Is that now a done deal, or do you foresee a lot of obstacles ahead of him if he wants to get this extra power?

RS: If he has a majority in parliament he can probably make the constitutional changes that he wishes to make. That would be something that a good 40-45 percent of the country oppose. We’re dealing with the situation here that is close to a kind of civil war, and that is really dangerous – it is dangerous for Turkey domestically, and it is also dangerous for the international scene where Turkey, the US, Russia, Syria – all these countries, the Kurds are all involved in the struggle against ISIS in Syria and in Iraq.

A woman casts her ballot at a polling station in Istanbul, Turkey November 1, 2015. © Murad Sezer

RT: That issue has created divisions between Ankara and Washington, hasn’t it?

RS: Absolutely. The situation in Syria is very complex. You have Assad…You have the Kurds largely in the Northern part of Syria – the YPG [People's Protection Units]…- a party which has been effectively fighting against ISIS. The US is allied with the Kurds; Russia, I think, is also favoring the Kurds; but Turkey is bombing the YPG, bombing the Kurds in Iraq, in Syria and creating violence in its own country…


The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.