Does the opposition have anything to offer?

Published 14.06.2018 21:32

Turkey's elite left-wingers and liberals are once again full of hope that "at last" they have the political atmosphere to topple the 16-year reign of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

Commentators of the so-called "oppressed" media freely write that Erdoğan's days as the chief executive of the country are numbered and that the alliance of parties with different ideologies has ganged up with the Kurdish nationalists to create an alternative to the AK Party.

They even draw conclusions from the recent victory of billionaire businessman Ali Koç who thrashed the longstanding Fenerbahçe president Aziz Yıldırım in the ballot box to become the new chairman of the famous soccer team. Aziz Yıldırım had run the club for 20 years but his popularity sagged in the past four years as his team could not win a single trophy despite spending millions of dollars.They feel that the opposition will repeat the victory of Ali Koç against Erdoğan. All wishful thinking that can fool foreign public opinion, but really this has little relevance in Turkish politics.

Erdoğan's election victory in the past and in the upcoming elections has never been a foregone conclusion. But the secret behind his success has been his ability to deliver most of his promises to the ordinary Turk and elevate the standard of living in the country as a whole.

The weakness of the opposition has always been their shortsightedness about the real issues and wishes of the masses. They have always failed to offer some alternative to the promises and policies of Erdoğan. In recent years all they have done is to gang up to "finish off" off Erdoğan at all costs and have failed.

Erdoğan speaks of progress, of putting Turkey among the top 10 economies of the world by 2023, of building a new social welfare system and a reformation of the state system with meaningful structural changes.

All that the opposition offers is to dismantle everything Erdoğan has done. The Turkish people do not want this.

That is why Erdoğan still enjoys at least 50 percent support of Turkey's 80 million people despite all the international pressures on his administration and some foreign instigated economic problems as well as some structural flaws in Turkey's state system. This is an unprecedented success in Turkish political history unmatched by any other political leader. Even today his closest rival only wins about 28 percent of the votes.

The Turkish people stick to their leaders. That is why late Süleyman Demirel who served as prime minister seven times and once as president had a political career of five decades running from 1963 to 2015. That is why the late left-wing Bülent Ecevit became prime minister three times and served for four decades with the backing of the Turkish people. That is why many Turks believe Turkey's innovative leader the late Turgut Özal would have been the only challenger to Erdoğan had he been alive today. Like Erdoğan, these leaders ran Turkey with an iron fist but still prevailed.

Erdoğan is not here to stay. They day will come when he too will bow out. But that day is not in the near future judging from his massive popularity. Erdoğan is not a failed soccer club chairman. On the contrary he has brought a series of successes even under the current conditions which no rival can even dream of.

Erdoğan has made things tougher for himself as he insisted that the president should be elected with 50 percent plus votes. If he was the strongman they claim he is he would have accepted a presidential election system where the first candidate past the post would be elected. He did not. He wanted a sound democratic system to be established for the sake of future generations.

What the AK Party will do in the elections remains to be seen.

Turkey remains an island of stability and progress in a region of high turbulence. That is thanks to Erdoğan. The holy month of Ramadan is over. Happy holidays everyone.

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