A video of a young Justice and Development Party (AK Party) volunteer, showing exemplary behavior toward a far-right Good Party (İP) member, who sarcastically harassing him, has gone viral.
Yusuf Özoğul, 19, who worked as an AK Party volunteer in Istanbul's Pendik district, was sarcastically harassed by İP Pendik District Board Member Mine Koraş.
The video shows Özoğul handing out some election brochure to Koraş, who used provocative and humiliating language and recorded the whole event without Özoğul's consent. She later shared the video on social media; hoping people would support her response.
However, it was Özoğul's kind and gentle response in the face of harassment that won people's hearts. The video has since gone viral, making Özoğul a symbol of humility for people against elitism. The hashtag #İyikiVarsınYusuf (Good to have you, Yusuf) was trending on Twitter in Turkey.
Özoğul received an invitation from the president's office to meet President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He was in Turkey's northeastern province of Bayburt to attend his grandmother's funeral. Following the invitation, Özoğul left for Istanbul to meet President Erdoğan. Erdoğan hosted Özoğul in Istanbul Saturday and congratulated him on showing exemplary behavior. Talking about meeting President Erdoğan, Özoğul said, "That was my only wish."
The İP formed an alliance with the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) under the name of Nation Alliance for the local elections. The CHP has been criticized by pundits for being elitist as well as embracing pedantic rhetoric and thus failing to appeal to regular voters. The party has been traditionally successful in high-income districts and provinces and its sporadic strongholds but has failed to earn majorities in the suburbs and central, eastern and southern provinces. The party frequently nominates candidates from its right-wing grassroots to gain broader support, a move that is often criticized by the CHP's original voter base, causing dilemmas for the party's administration.