There are only three days before the elections that will determine Turkey's fate. Great enthusiasm and excitement is prevailing in the electoral period despite all the attacks and attempts to shape opinions. The previous day I was in Kırşehir and Mersin provinces with Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu. Within one day, I attended open-air rallies and indoor meetings in two provinces and four districts. When I had a chance, I strolled along the streets and had conversations with those watching the rallies from afar.
I once again saw the fact that from shoe shiners to shopkeepers and teachers, everyone is aware of what a great distance Turkey has covered and what destination the country should steer toward in the future. They see the shortcomings of both the government and the opposition. They also know about the motivations underlying the alliances. For this reason, they wish to contribute to the big picture by attending and watching rallies. This became clearer to me as I observed the rallies Interior Minister Soylu attended in Kırşehir, Mucur, Mersin, Erdemli, Toroslar and Akdeniz.
This big picture has two crucial components: the revolutionary identity of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the historic fight ongoing against terror groups with global affiliations, such as the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ) and the PKK. In every place he went, Soylu stressed how Erdoğan has made a revolution that changed mentalities and relayed the following observation:
"Tayyip Erdoğan is a revolutionist. He is not like the so-called revolutionists who punch the air with their left hands, throw Molotov cocktails and never put their discourse into practice. He is a revolutionist that changed mindsets and developed Turkey by doing things others would not dare. In 2002, people used to abstain from expressing their identity, ethnicity or faith and could not say 'I am religious,' 'I am Alevi' or 'I am Kurdish.' Now, thankfully, everyone can freely express themselves as Erdoğan has achieved a great revolution."
The second issue Soylu touched upon was counterterror activities. He drew attention to the approaches that motivate terrorism, which is even more dangerous than terrorism itself according to him: "We are fighting against terror and will never abstain from fighting. But the actual threat is the political mindset that endeavors to legitimize and justify terrorism. This mindset is causing more severe losses. Here, I would like to warn the Republican People's Party (CHP) and its allies who call themselves nationalist or religious. You could not carry the burden of such a big sin."Saying, "We must not yield Turkey to the hands of those ripping off the epaulettes of an Afrin hero," Soylu enjoyed great public support every place he visited. To understand how this interest will reflect on the ballots, I mainly listened to those watching the rallies from outside rather than the attenders. In Kırşehir, the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), which comprise the People's Alliance, enjoy wide support. The sum of their vote shares is around 75 percent, whereas the CHP ranks third with 19 percent. No surprise is expected in the city. The AK Party will probably assign two deputies to Parliament from Kırşehir.
After leaving Kırşehir, we visited several districts of Mersin. While doing so, I witnessed the difficulties of being a politician once again. The rallies organized in three districts ended at around 2:00 AM. Especially in Erdemli, a tremendous crowd welcomed us. In Mersin, four parties are competing. The newly founded Good Party (İP) is also addressing a considerable population in the city, while the AK Party and the CHP seem to be competing head-to-head. The key factor in the city is the MHP, whose vote share is around 21 percent. The results will not change if the MHP secures this vote share. As far as I could observe, the electorate considers four criteria while casting ballots: "trustworthiness, dignity, stability and the future."
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