As the general election nears, seems that the Turkish opposition's sole political strategy has not changed: Trying to exploit its rival's mistakes instead of putting something new on the plate
There have been a good many indicators of the kind of atmosphere in which the upcoming general elections will take place. We are on the verge of a period of high tension that fits into to the three-stage marathon - the first two parts of which were the March 30 local elections and the Aug. 10 presidential election. The government and the opposition are like two sumo wrestlers who are on the mat to prove their power to their opponent. The opposition considers itself sufficient to block Parliament, form a resistance bloc against the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and wait for the government's mistakes that will undermine its legitimacy. This is mainly because of their belief that the West will support them. They think that the AK Party and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan have completely lost prestige in the eyes of the West, which believes in the argument that the government is becoming authoritarian and thus the opposition automatically represents the liberal wing in Turkey. Rather than dreaming of defeating the AK Party in the elections, the opposition hopes that the view that the AK Party is seeking to establish a police state will gain ground, and thus the government will eventually come to a dead-end and perhaps destroy itself through becoming gradually more and more vulnerable.
On the other hand, the AK Party wants to close a historic page by turning this point, which it has reached after an arduous journey and after escaping many dangers, in its own favor. The AK Party has several mainstays with which to achieve this. First of all, popular support for the AK Party is gradually growing, in terms of potential. Fluctuation in the voting rate does not mean that the AK Party's vote is dropping, but rather it reveals that it cannot achieve its vote potential. From this point of view, the atmosphere of tension certainly works against the AK Party, which gives up the idea of receiving more votes for the sake of consolidating a certain section of voters. On the other hand, however, it continues to put a clear distance between itself and the opposition. It is likely that the AK Party will receive a vote that will correspond to the totality of the three opposition parties' vote in the upcoming election. The second mainstay concerns the changing international environment. Contrary to what is implied by the argument that Turkey is becoming isolated, the developments in the Middle East have always taken place in accordance with the AK Party's wishes and the government has found the support it desires from Europe and the U.S. In other words, even though the West has a strong aversion to the AK Party, it will not support any attempt to "overthrow" it - which is rather a bad news for the opposition.
At first sight, it may not be very clear who benefits from maintaining the tension in this equation. Indeed, the atmosphere of conflict consolidates politics as a whole and transforms it into a status quo, which makes everyone appear happy in the end. Even though the opposition does not produce any alternatives while the AK Party maintains its power, the AK Party continues to receive the same social support, and events conspire to nevertheless work in favor of the AK Party as it is "pulling the strings" in politics. The only strategy of the opposition is based on the mistakes of the government. If the government does not make mistakes, the opposition will have admitted defeat in advance. How could it be a reasonable political strategy to leave your fate, image and prestige in the hands of your rival? The main question then becomes to what extent will opposition parties be permanent in the next five years if the AK Party does not make mistakes? Because this strategy of the opposition implies that it has no clear vision of the future to offer the public, and this is clearly seen by certain social segments.The AK Party is careful to use the tension in its own favor by adopting an interesting strategy. Without any compromise, it tries to implement this will in an unyielding fashion, so much so, that it becomes impossible for the opposition to escape this struggle. When the mutual discourse of tension is removed, there remains a simple fact: On the one hand, there is a vision of the future, on the other, there is nothing apart from the desire to foil this vision. So, it would not be surprising if this environment of tension works in favor of the AK Party.