It's not just the economy

Published 09.07.2014 01:10

The most famous phrase that attempts to describe voting behavior was used many years ago in one of Bill Clinton's campaign rallies. The slogan, "It's the economy, stupid," which underlines that American people choose accordingly to their individual economic condition became very popular at that time. The word "stupid" actually means that the economy is always the benchmark. Indeed, the economy is the most uncertain and loosest element in a person's life in any country in the world where capitalism has triumphed and the conditions of the free market have spread and financial resources have been globalized. The situation in question obliges you to earn a steady and sufficient income which hints at new demands for joining the market, although you will never get a guarantee of a life-time job. If you don't play by the rules then your family life, social status and health are harmed. In an environment where individual risks are present, it is not surprising that expanding or limiting freedoms affect voting behaviors very little.

Lately, his remark is also being used for Turkey. There are convictions that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has become authoritarian and that Erdoğan wants to become a dictator. Consequently, there is control over the freedom of media and right of assembly. Thus, the votes that the AK Party receives are related to its economic success. Even if this conviction was true, there would be nothing much to say: "The people of Turkey had been realistic," we would say, yet this approach is very superficial because above all, it merely looks at some of the affairs that are happening in Turkish politics. Although there are some incidents that enable us to say that the government has tyrannical tendencies, there are a lot of incidents that put the government in a democratic light. Moreover, the thesis that the AK Party is authoritarian is highly manipulative and ideological since people who make that analysis have no meaningful answers for the question "why?" The idea that Erdoğan is genetically disposed toward dictatorship is just ridiculous.

Therefore, there is no counterpart to this negative picture about Turkish people. If we give a simple example, it is said that there are dozens of journalists in prison, yet there are only eight people who have been convicted due to their stories, and all of them are the victims of the anti-Kurdish approach of the jurisdiction. There is nothing that cannot be talked about in Turkey right now regarding freedom of speech. The restrictions of the freedom of assembly are only limited to the crowds that are above a certain number. Big crowds must go to designated meeting areas that are assigned by the municipality.

In short, AK Party voters are happy that the economy is going well but the allegations about removing another evil are empty. Furthermore, the public is generally happy about the regulation of freedoms. When compared to 15 years ago, the new prospering middle-class is not only in a good position financially, they also have mobility in public space and freedoms. Hence, this middle-class is afraid of losing the economic stability as much as the possibility of losing these freedoms. We do not know which one of the two points in question is more critical, and it is not possible to understand this by taking a poll. Yet, if you know anything about the public, you can say this much: The people who will walk away from the AK Party simply because the economy breaks down is much smaller than predicted. Because, it is not just the economy.

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter
Disclaimer: All rights of the published column/article are reserved by Turkuvaz Media Group. The entire column/article cannot be used without special permission even if the source is shown.
However, quoted column/article can be partly used by providing an active link to the quoted news. Please click for details..