As of next week, the AK Party will announce their official candidate for the forthcoming presidential elections and Turkey will go through a period it has never before experienced before; within five weeks the whole nation will vote to elect the "president of the public."
When Thomas Jefferson looked back at the first years of the American Revolution he said, "We believed that anything that was not a monarchy is republican." In Turkey, the procoup mindset considered and announced that anything that is not directly military domination is republican. In other words, during Turkey's pro-military periods, even military fascism was considered to be within the concept of being a "republic" and as a result the concept of democracy was shaped through this mindset as well. But this will be over from now on in Turkey. There will be three candidates running for presidency in Turkey and these three candidates represent the political parties currently in politics.
However, this time, the election campaigns of these candidates will not include mere party propaganda; they will announce to the public what they mean by being a republic. We have lived in Ekmelledin İhsanoğlu's republic for the past 80 years. İhsanoğlu's campaign will be based on assuring everyone that things will continue as they were.
Whereas, AK Party's candidate, which might be the current Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayip Erdoğan, will announce the start of a new era for Turkey, both economically and politically. The pro-Kurdish party, People's Democracy Party (HDP) on the other hand will highlight the importance of regional peace and integration, thus, leaving the CHP and MHP's joint candidate İhsanoğlu alone to defend the "Old Turkey."
In this period, İhsanoğlu will stand alone and be perceived as the candidate with a procoup mindset, the looter and monopolist bourgeoisie, militarist and jurisdiction domination.
This candidate symbolizes the consolidation that brought CHP and MHP and the parallel powers that are supporting them together. A paradox will also appear here as İhsanoğlu will also be perceived as the candidate of the organized group that has infiltrated the state and also attempted the Dec. 17 coup in Turkey. This group, or movement, a while ago was severely criticizing the neo-nationalists, who just like Jefferson says, thought everything that was not related with monarchy was pro-republic and pro-democracy. It was against their Western-imitation republic, which was about to be wiped from history.
The jurisdiction circles who were in favor of the ideals of this movement became the main actors in Ergenekon and Balyoz cases, where many neo-nationalists and militarists were sentenced. But now İhsanoğlu also appears as the candidate of this mindset and has also received their support.
While electing our president, what these candidates are promising to offer Turkey economically and politically should also be considered.
These days an interesting debate is taking place in the European Union regarding the election of the President of the European Commission. The United Kingdom does not want Jean Claude Junker, who is not supported by the conservatives in the U.K. and also by the German labor party, to be elected. Their stance is very clear and sharp; they have even threatened to question U.K.'s EU membership if Junker is elected. But the ruling British Conservative Party has not offered any other name than Junker; they want a candidate who is a reformist and who is not in any way related to countries such as Germany. The debate here is actually on the expansion of the EU and Turkey's EU membership.
That was the exact point Prime Minister Erdoğan made the other day. Erdoğan criticized Chapter 15 on energy and Chapter 31 on foreign security concerning Turkey's EU membership negotiations still not being open to debate despite the crisis in Ukraine. He further implied that the EU was shooting itself in the foot. Turkey is the only country in the Southern Energy Corridor which holds pipelines carrying energy resources from the Caspian Sea, Mosul-Kirkuk and even the Eastern Mediterranean and Iran to Europe.
So why hasn't Chapter 15 been opened for discussion yet? Moreover, it is quite difficult to understand why the EU does not open the Foreign Security Chapter, while Russia sets the scene for a Caucasus Union as a rival alternative to the EU and heats up the frozen conflict zones in the Caucasus. The answer to all these questions lies in EU's puritan capital being scared of Turkey. Erdoğan further noted in his speech that Turkey also wants an inclusive and functioning democracy to be established in Egypt as well. "Although some do not like this wish, we will continue to state it whenever we can. Our stance has always been humanistic and democratic towards everything that has happened in Egypt. And we will continue in this manner."
Noting on how the military coup overthrew a government which had obtained 54 percent of the votes, which meant it was supported by more than half of the public, Erdoğan criticized some western countries for not even defining it as a coup. "On top of the coup, this person has staged a presidential election just for the sake of it, just to prove that he has won it and some Westerners have even congratulated him. We cannot congratulate any government established as a result of a military coup," added Erdoğan.
This speech represents both the economic and political strategies of Erdoğan. While it was aimed at some EU Ambassadors, it also gives signs of Erdoğan's will to build a "new republic." It also highlights the value Erdoğan puts on democracy, on peace and how he is a leader that will protect the democratic principles throughout the whole the region; while still valuing and protecting some of the principles that have long been abandoned by the EU. Turkey, which is one of the three central countries in the region along with Iran and Russia, will be returning back to all the economic regions which it had to abandon according to the Lausanne Agreement and moreover, it will also reach energy and market economies of this region.
Erdoğan, to become a president elected by the whole nation would also mean democracy can expand in the region. This new stance of Turkey however, is definitely not against the new foreign policies and economical preferences of the U.S. - now represented by the Obama government. To the contrary, it will ensure that any doubts and objections the U.K. might have against Turkey's EU membership will finally be settled and it will reveal that the only offensive country, the country that stabs the EU in the back, is Germany.
Therefore, the global support for Erdoğan has a sounder basis when compared to before, and this support encompasses various details those who claim that Erdoğan does not have any global backing are unable to observe.