Turkey recently underwent an election period with historical significance.
The time period from last year until the end of the local election race was challenging and bizarre. It could be suggested that the strange occurrences started on Jan. 3, 2013 with the first visit of the Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) delegates to Abdullah Öcalan, the leader of the PKK, for the launch of peace talks.
Only five days later, however, Sakine Cansız, who supported the reconciliation process and was known for her affiliation with Öcalan, was killed along with two other PKK members in Paris. Everything then happened in rapid succession.
Additionally, the talks between the government and PKK members in Oslo were revealed to the media in order to destroy public support for the reconciliation process. Attempts were made to weaken the peace discourse through different strategies of perception engineering and the previous traumas of Kurdish and Turkish sociology. Meanwhile, the Gezi protests broke out.
Compared to the faults of the government, the demonstrations were manipulated in a disproportionate manner. Kurds and Alevis were forced to pour into the streets. The Gezi protests were followed by a media operation aimed to alienate Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The criticism lost its rationale and some liberal Kemalist elites, who previously praised Erdoğan to the heavens, started to rebel against him by allying with the national base at whom they previously had daggers drawn.
Turkey witnessed these incidents in a period during which there was unprecedented economic success.
When everything was on track again, the elites of the Gülen Movement came out. Initially it seemed that the crisis broke out when the government took action to close down the movement's private tutoring schools; however the underlying reason was to transform the passionate voters of the AK Party affiliated with the Gülen Movement before the upcoming three elections. Soon after, some operations intended for Erdoğan's family were secretly carried out by Gülenists in the police force and judiciary. This probe bundled three separate cases into one file and the Gülenist officers leaked the information to the media.
After this, Turkey slid into chaos. Top secret information about the government, senior politicians and journalists was circulated and telephones of thousands of people were illegally tapped with the aim of fabricating criminal cases. Finally, another illegal bugging of a top secret meeting held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was released to the media.
Despite this below-deck political engineering, the AK Party and Erdoğan came out as the winners of the March 30 local elections with 46.2 per cent of vote. The Republican People's Party (CHP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), namely the allies of the Gülen Movement, did not find what they had expected.
They were in cahoots to collect the votes in the most challenging opposition party; however they failed. It was understood that the voters were in favor of sustainable and respectable politics.
On the other hand, the Kurdish BDP was the other winner of the local race. They not only received more votes than the MHP in Istanbul, but also won more provincial municipalities nationwide. The AK Party won 51 cities out of 81 with the number of district municipalities under the AK Party increasing. Furthermore, the AK Party won three district municipalities of the opposition CHP's stronghold.
Running in a total of eight elections since its founding, the AK Party increased its votes with an enviable performance and came out on top.
The party successfully resisted against the weariness of ruling for 12 consecutive years.
The voters gave an explicit message: "Respect me and never leave legal politics. Protect peace, develop projects and do not threaten sustainability, but ensure it."
Turkish democracy passed an important exam on March 30. Despite all manipulations, the elections were held in due time and under peaceful circumstances. The path for Erdoğan's presidency has presumably been opened and he already hinted at his candidacy during his traditional post-election victory speech.
Finally, the opposition will face a serious crisis in the short term. Even though its actions were unethical, the opposition thought it had caught a historical momentum to unseat Erdoğan with the support of the Gülen Movement and through judicial manipulation. Almost all political parties joined forces with the support of the media; yet still it did not work.
The parties' own voters are going to ask them to justify their bizarre alliance. Their current situation will perhaps make them understand the importance of ruling a government without attacks. It is a weak possibility, but I hope it may be achieved.
This is because Turkey's greatest problem is not the AK Party, but the opposition parties which do not respect the public and attempt to stage coups.
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