The Good Party (İP) has accelerated its efforts to gain Kurdish votes, which carry considerable weight, with less than 25 days left for the June 24 parliamentary and presidential elections.
According to experts, without the votes of the Kurdish electorate, it is difficult to receive a significant percentage in the elections.
Therefore, experts say İP Chairwoman Meral Akşener is trying hard to win the Kurdish voters' acclaim, while ignoring the collective memory of Turkey from the 1990's when she served as an interior minister.
On May 14, Akşener remarked on the Kurdish electorate, saying, "It is an urban myth that I am not receiving the Kurds' votes."
According to Talha Köse, an academic from Ibn Haldun University's department of Political Science and International Relations, Akşener is not being sincere asking for votes from Kurdish citizens because her past discourses and inefficient electoral work do not support her rhetoric.
Akşener also stated that all candidates should run with the same approach regarding the imprisoned former co-chairman of the pro-PKK Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaş, who has been in prison for charges related to terrorism since November 2016.
Furthermore, she underlined that everyone should be able to learn their mother tongue - including Kurdish citizens. However, her party's election manifesto neglects to mention the Kurdish cause or any improvements regarding Turkey's eastern and southeastern regions.
In addition, Akşener also mentioned on May 30 lifting the state of emergency and her aim of creating a broad social consensus with a new Constitution that would secure individual rights and freedoms.
"She will not be able to ask for votes because of her past discourses, her party's discourses and the candidate lists. Therefore, it is a declaration that excludes a part of Turkey both geographically and culturally," Köse said.
Köse said Akşener's pro-Kurd rhetoric is a tactic to sway votes away from the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) electorate base. "I absolutely do not think it's sincere," he added.
In the 1990s, Turkey faced an escalation in government corruption and excessive state coercion. The corruption levels caused the economy to dive and attempts to boost it were inefficient. Turkey crises doubled as PKK terror activities in the eastern and southeastern region continued to escalate.
A relentless state of emergency was enforced, especially in Kurdish-majority regions, to fight against the rising PKK terrorism. Starting in 1987, 13 overwhelmingly Kurdish provinces were governed under a state of emergency and ruled by state-emergency regional governorships until their abolition by the AK Party government in 2002.
"The word ‘Kurdish' isn't even mentioned once in the election manifesto, and the text doesn't offer any solutions for solving the issue," Köse said.
The İP chairwoman was the interior minister of the Welfare Party - (RP) True Path Party (DYP) coalition government after then-Interior Minister Mehmet Ağar resigned following the Susurluk incident that took place on Nov. 3, 1996.
The Susurluk incident is remembered as a controversial turning point in Turkish politics. After a traffic accident in Susurluk, a district of western Balıkesir province, state-mafia relations were exposed. Gang-related people and deputies were found with drugs and guns in a car that had collided with a truck near Susurluk.Regarding the issue, Mustafa Altunoğlu, a political science academic at Eskişehir Anadolu University, said it would not be reasonable to expect a radical change with minor gestures in the Kurdish electorate.
"If a politician is a candidate for presidential elections, they cannot ignore the considerable weight of the Kurds. However, it is very difficult for Meral Akşener's Good Party to respond to the expectations in the provinces where Kurdish citizens are dense. ... However, ultimately, it seems very difficult to win over eastern and southeastern Anatolia for this election," he said.
At the time, state built secret counterterror organizations, such as the Gendarmes Intelligence and Counterterrorism (JITEM) team and Özel Harp Dairesi (Special War Unit), were created.
These illegal organizations were involved in the illegal detention, torture and deaths of Kurdish intellectuals, community leaders, businessmen and politicians.
These experiences led to a massive wave of Kurdish migration, mostly toward western Turkey or Europe. After the migration, the region's economy and development suffered. Eventually, the region succumbed to PKK terrorists, who quickly took root.
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