As presidential candidates and electoral alliances become clear, the election campaign has reached a new level. We are witnessing unreserved statements and even accusations among politicians within the same electoral alliance. Yet, their deeds are not aligned with their words. In other words, they are doing what is politically convenient. At the same time, politicians are starting to voice extreme views that amount to impositions on the electorate. Within the opposition, we see a mixture of threats, peer pressure, hope, rage and a yearning for revenge. In this sense, the election campaign takes shape in a way that makes it harder for voters to make sense of all the political and ideological divisions and rivalries.
Indeed, the Nation Alliance’s two prominent components have been accusing each other of “ambushing, impositions, and casting the shadow of terrorism” on politics. It is difficult to say what kind of rhetoric may emerge from the presidential race between the incumbent, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, and main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.
It is no secret that the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) tacitly endorsed Kılıçdaroğlu with its decision to not field a presidential candidate itself. Since senior HDP members repeatedly equated supporting Erdoğan with “hostility towards Kurds,” they do not actually need to come out and ask people to vote for the incumbent’s opponent. By saying that “our people know the democratic candidate,” they attempt to play into Kılıçdaroğlu’s hand and refrain from unsettling nationalists within the Nation Alliance. Positive statements by the PKK terrorist organization’s senior operatives on the Nation Alliance, too, attest to that fact.
At the end of the day, the HDP’s 11-point position paper and the Nation Alliance’s policy proposals meet a certain common ground. Stopping the appointment of independent trustees, allocating more power to local governments, and the release of individuals dismissed from public service by decree immediately come to mind. Under the current circumstances, one does not need to be interested in politics to conclude that the PKK and the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), sworn enemies of the People’s Alliance, shall do everything in their power to help Kılıçdaroğlu win.
HDP’s totalitarian nationalism
The opposition may be united at the level of political party leaders, but voters cannot be expected to embrace that partnership wholeheartedly. The HDP’s endorsement of Kılıçdaroğlu made it more likely for conservative-nationalist voters to break ranks with the “table for six,” which has been in a state of uncertainty. Most recently, Yavuz Ağıralioğlu, one of the Good Party’s (IP) most prominent members, publicly accused the Nation Alliance and Kılıçdaroğlu of “ambushing” them, “negotiating with separatists to take the state’s most prestigious offices” and “letting HDP cast a shadow over the selection of the opposition’s presidential candidate.” For the record, those remarks reflect discord at the grassroots level.
Let us recall that IP Chair Meral Akşener said similar things upon leaving the alliance before her eventual return under duress. She has been curiously silent in recent days. Ağıralioğlu’s comments represented an objection to the opposition bloc’s secret dealings with the HDP. He spoke about being betrayed and a betrayal of the country.
Ironically, one of the most uncompromising statements came from Ahmet Türk, a prominent HDP member. He said, “Anyone that supports this government is being hostile toward the Kurdish people. That is immoral. No Kurd has the right to vote for, or support this government.” For some reason, he seems to think that it is alright for people to vote for the CHP chair – which is largely seen as being responsible for the Kurdish issue. Yet he argues that it is unacceptable to vote for Erdoğan, who enacted the most progressive reforms on Kurdish identity in the Republic’s history. That statement is not just patronizing but also racist and discriminatory. It is an embodiment of PKK-HDP’s totalitarian nationalism.
In this article
- 14 May 2023 Turkish General Election
- 2023 Turkish General Elections Presidential Candidates
- 2023 Turkish Presidential Election
- Fethullah Terrorist Organization (FETÖ)
- Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu
- Table for Six | Turkish Opposition Alliance
- Türkiye's 2023 Elections
- Türkiye's Republican People's Party (CHP)
- Türkiye's Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chairman