ANKARA —Last Sunday's general elections in Turkey represented nothing less than a cultural and political revolution: Not only did President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lose his parliamentary majority, but Kurdish politicians also succeeded for the first time in winning enough votes to enter parliament.
The Turkish electorate's disenchantment with its egomaniacal leader deals a blow to Erdogan's one-party rule, and his ambitions to convert the country into a U.S.-style presidential system.
Here are the top 10 takeaways from this historic election:
1. The defeat of arrogance
Erdogan's pedantic speeches, his constant efforts to push the boundaries of the law, his bragging and high opinions of himself, his underestimation of opponents and belief that voters are fools — all of these were resoundingly defeated.
2. A star is born
Kurdish politician Selahattin DemirtaÅŸ is now an essential and transformative figure in Turkish politics. Hailed as the "Kurdish Obama," DemirtaÅŸ helped steer Turkey's pro-Kurdish party beyond the 10% vote threshold necessary for it to finally take seats in parliament. He possesses a calm manner, a sense of humor, and an embracing and liberal attitude.
3. When you push too far
Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) was depicted on billboards everywhere. Its members claimed every field for their own. They used civil servants for political campaigning. They tried everything through the president and the prime minister, and yet they garnered just 40% of the vote. Pushing too far backfired.
4. Media tune-out
It's now clear, given the election outcome, that the pro-government media has little effect on the people. Its newspapers go unread, its television broadcasts unwatched.
5. Davutoglu is done
"I will resign if my party cannot come into power on its own," Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has said. His political future looks bleak if you take him at his word.
6. Birth of a Turkish-Kurdish brotherhood
Thanks to this election, the Kurdish party is now a mainstream part of this country's political establishment. Turks and Kurds came together to fight for equality and freedom. Istanbul and the Kurdish stronghold of Diyarbakir became brotherlands this time for real.
[rebelmouse-image 27089121 alt="""" original_size="800x533" expand=1]Kurdish boys in Diyarbakir. Photo: Leoboudv
7. Credibility for CHP
The Republican People's Party (CHP), the main opposition, ran a very good campaign this time, abandoning an ideological approach and focusing instead on the economy. Its representatives offered positive messages. But even if its past credibility problems couldn't be overcome, it should continue down the same road.
8. Erdogan's self-sabotage
He spoke at political rallies when he should have been acting as an impartial president. He dominated the party's campaign and was square in the middle of the political debates. He didn't just push the boundaries of the constitution, he ignored it. For all these reasons, he is most to blame for his party's poor election performance.
9. A certain coalition
Almost nothing will be ruled out in forming a government. All possibilities will be debated from now on: coalitions, early elections, minority elections, etc.
10. The economic effect
Those who believed there was a connection between support for Erdogan's party and economic growth were apparently right. His party received beyond 50% of the vote when Turkey was growing, but in the face of halting prosperity, the ruling party paid the price.