Kılıçdaroğlu’s ‘old’ politics

Published 22.11.2014 01:43

Even though the government has a vision for a "new" Turkey, which will be constructed with reforms, some argue that this is not something new but a revival of Kemalism - a point of view that is strongly adopted by the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP). If you have a realistic approach, you will see that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has quite a new political strategy regarding a wide range of topics including intraparty administration, identity rights, ties established with society and economic relations that enable integration with the world despite a number of mistakes and "road accidents." It is not surprising that this strategy of the AK Party will deepen further and achieve a systematic basis under the chairmanship and prime ministry of Ahmet Davutoğlu. The opposition may relieve itself by ignoring the fact that we are heading toward a "new" Turkey, however, in this way it inevitably alienates itself from the time and society with which it lives.

The sense of desperation generated by this alienation has confined CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu to "old" politics as he does not have any vision for the future or any comprehensive or coherent projects to address the country's problems. The CHP fills this gap with a continuous emphasis on the AK Party's mistakes and Kılıçdaroğlu thinks that he will garner more votes only by pointing out the government's flaws. Or he may not have this kind of thought and he is simply trying to complete his tenure as opposition leader.

Otherwise, he would not continue to criticize the government in the same manner relying on one of my recent columns in which I touched on three fields where the AK Party has failed. The first one of these is the incapability in correctly relating the atmosphere in Turkey to the West due to its apologetic attitude. The second is that the government, as a result of taking everything politically, has difficulty in understanding the social dynamics of the secular minded public and getting in touch with them. The third is that the government, driven by its requirement of rapid growth, has to assume the mistakes of contractors in the business world who avoid abiding by the rules.

With reference to the third point, Kılıçdaroğlu called on the public not to vote for the AK Party saying that "even the prime minister's chief advisor" did not deny corruption. First of all, I need to specify that, so far, I have written many times about the existence of corruption and one cannot expect me to change my position simply because I was appointed chief advisor to the prime minister. Kılıçdaroğlu's way of treatment reveals that he strives to tire the government rather than questioning corruption environment.

I would like to plainly say once again that the AK Party received 44 percent of the vote in the March 30 local elections and that most probably it will reach around 50 percent in the upcoming general elections. This is not because the public does not believe in corruption and consents to it, but rather as all opinion polls show, at least half of the Islamic section of society disapproves of corruption. Nevertheless, people support the AK Party as they consider that AK Party's removal from power as a threat and they are afraid of the possibility that the government could be toppled through undemocratic means rather than through elections.

Unless the CHP takes up democratic legitimacy seriously, corruption or other failures will not undermine the AK Party so much. Had Kılıçdaroğlu pursued ethical politics instead of running electoral campaigns with an audio recording of then prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, after the Dec. 17 operation, the AK Party's vote would probably drop. Creating an alternative in Turkey is possible with imagining the "new," but it also requires the renewal of political style. But unfortunately, the CHP is far behind this level of understanding.

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