The race of future dreams

Published 21.05.2015 22:48
Updated 22.05.2015 00:05

With just two weeks left to go until the June 7 general elections, the most critical remarks are, naturally, being made about the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) potential vote and about whether the Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) can pass the election threshold of 10 percent. Obviously, different election results will produce quite a different political agenda. No matter what the result will be, we are likely to go back to our basic questions about the new Parliament and government soon after the elections, and will find the same political actors maintaining the same discourse. Since Turkey's political balance points to a background that goes beyond the results of the upcoming elections, it is useful to keep a broader perspective in the back of our minds.

Indeed, election surveys are one of the most interesting indicators of this. We have been facing election surveys conducted by a large number of research companies for months and we might be right in thinking that some of these surveys are manipulated. Despite having certain ideological tendencies, there are also a few research companies that seek "objective" results and do not hide their findings. When we look at data from such organizations together and take their differences about technical assumptions into consideration, we see the following picture: For months, all parties have been maintaining the same voting rate with the exception of some fluctuations caused by cyclical incidents. Discussions about interest rates led to a sudden fall in the AK Party's vote; however, the same figures were achieved in just a week. With the exception of momentary oscillations, it is still unlikely that the HDP can pass the election threshold.

With their populist election strategies, the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) might have the chance to gain a few points, which might come from floating voters or the electorate who previously did not vote. Thus, voter turnout will be kept at a high level, implying that the relative impact of incidents that might positively or negatively affect parties will not matter much.

In short, there is a clear and consolidated political dissidence in Turkey, meaning that voters' preference does not concern the June 7 elections alone. Rather, this preference has become "categorical" in a way that goes beyond the elections. For some, this is a differentiation regarding identities. There are parties that represent Islamic, secular, Turkish and Kurdish identities, and if identity is that important, the presence of fixed votes is natural. As far as the past two decades of Turkey are concerned, this assumption remains rather superficial. Neither parties have such a strategy, nor is there such a homogenous electorate structure. It is difficult to suggest that parties are based on identity politics, while the AK Party has expanded the middle class to 40 percent, the CHP nominates conservative figures as candidates, the MHP is reluctant to use the word "Turk," and the HDP adopts a discourse of Turkification. Society already thinks beyond such identity patterns and shapes its attitudes accordingly. Today, we hardly face any social action or political objection that is based on a single identity or prioritizes a single identity.

Then, what is the basis of the consolidation of voters? The answer should be sought in the question of what kind of a Turkey the electorate wants. Identities are impactful in this respect, because while all people shape their imaginations about the future, they are driven by the desire to protect their vested rights and to expand their area of freedom. However, any dream about the future is not shaped around an individual's own identity alone, since everyone has dreams about what kind of a country Turkey will and must be. The aforementioned differentiation concerns this issue. Today, four different dreams are racing and none of them totally clash with each other about the future of the country. There is a simple reason why the AK Party receives most of the votes and has taken its vote to this level: This reason goes beyond the identity, its dream is both more realistic and more authentic.

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