A good reminder for all parties: Don't forget foreign policy

Published 14.12.2018 02:21
Updated 14.12.2018 08:00

For the future of the country, political parties should put aside the temporary pressures of the campaign process and focus on more permanent issues

In politics, it is often natural for both ruling and opposition parties to not take brave steps or position themselves based on changing world conditions and realities while preparing for election campaigns. The pressure of the campaign process is deeply felt by the party leadership and members. Instead of focusing on foreign policy issues, they tend to deal only with domestic policies and miss or ignore what is going on in the world and in the neighboring regions.

In Turkey, that story is no different. However, opposition parties, particularly the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP), fall into this trap more than the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party).

Turkey is scheduled to go to the polls for local elections next March. Parties have already started their election campaigns and declared almost all of their candidates. Political alliances have also been formed and it can be said that everyone is (nearly) ready to run.

The AK Party and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) have announced that their partnership, the People's Alliance – formed ahead of the June 24 presidential and parliamentary elections this year, will continue. The CHP and the Good Party (İP) have also agreed recently to work together.

Compared to the People's Alliance, however, the CHP and its allies have so far failed to find an answer to the conflicts and crises in Turkey's neighboring region and the world. In fact, the majority of Turkish people have always demanded their government be aware of regional and global realities and take concrete actions. It is especially important when public opinion thinks that making Turkey a key player in the international community is an inevitable must.

Therefore, if the CHP and its allies continue to ignore world crises – as they have done so far – they will not gain public approval and damage Turkey's global reputation. It has been observed numerous times that whenever the AK Party took an active role in foreign policy, it directly won the hearts and minds of the people.

As the Turkish people make such demands and are currently pushing the government to clarify global crises, such as rising racism in Europe, the street uprising in France, Russian influence in the energy sector etc., the opposition demands the government be isolated from such issues. Thus, the opposition continues to suffer from a lack of support and trust from voters.

The AK Party and the MHP, meanwhile, should not forget how significant foreign policy decisions are for them and the country. They should get rid of the pressure caused by the election campaign period.

The opposition miscalculates public demands and in doing so, a chance to win the upcoming elections. Unless they shift their views on foreign policy, the future looks bleak for them, since the AK Party and its ally MHP agree on seeing Turkey play a more active role in world politics.

In a nutshell, political parties should save themselves from being pulled down by the pressures of the election process and should not ignore developments in foreign policy. If they do, Turkey's position in the world may take an unfortunate hit.

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