As most of you probably don’t know: I am from Turkey (Turkiye). Yes, it is really called that. No, we don’t strike in the streets to change it’s name. (someone really asked me that)
This post is nothing to do with literature. Since last two weeks I have been thinking about the elections on 24th june and god knows how fixated I am in this. So I wanted to post about this…
I am a Turk living in UK since 2011. Well I am a Brit now too, but still, Turkey is where I’ve been born. As a country we were never one of the cool kids. Stuck between Middle East and Europe, we were neither of them, but depending on who you speak with, you could be any of them.
The Mild Islamist who secretly loves radicals
First thing first: YES WE HAVE ELECTIONS IN TURKEY. and yes, they are normal elections. God knows how many people grinned me in the UK- oh come on, your can’t have proper elections, you know, your third-world and surely something dodgy should be going on…
Well. No? It does work like a normal election, although in the last one there were claims they cheated but I don’t really believe it. I see why Erdogan is favoured. He is a bully, a commoner, someone speak and feed crowds with hatred. Very popular in the world novadays.
Anyway. Long story short, when I left Turkey 7 years ago with my husband- things were DIFFERENT. At the moment my country is rolled into the deep dark and hellishly hot wings of the right-conservative wing, a party called Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its leader Erdogan winning all elections since 2001. They are a bit like Tories in here, in UK. Conservative and without solid alternative. People think: Oh hey, at least it’s stable. Let’s keep it like that. Who cares they are Islamic. Who cares they support radical Islam. Well… Technically, after all that bombs being blown here and there, my fellow citizen Turks should have cared but hey. In the end of the day I guess everyone thinks about their own wellfare. And I can’t tell you how much I hate that.
Erdogan, when he first came into power, was blessed by the media in US and Europe, he was liberal, he was mild, he was the best of both worlds. We were REALLY skeptical and we were right. Throughout his 17 year long power, he changed a lot of things in the country. Common law, processes, principles. Turkey was never a super power, or properly democratic but at least it was secular and there was some sort of Justice system. His government started jailing people. Journalists, academics, writers, artists, no one is safe anymore to voice their opposition. It is a bit like seeing something rot. Even if he is taken down in snap election which will take place on 24th June (in 3 days!!!) his inflicted damage would need a long time to heal. He polarised people against each other, introduced us with a terrorist organisation of his creation (called Feto) and hurt a LOT of people. The dollar against Turkish Lira ratios have never been this bad. Economy is crumbling as well as people’s morals.
Ince and Demirtas: Some new hope without a sight of any moustache
These 6 people are the candidates in Sunday’s election. As I am living outside the UK I have done my voting last week (when you live overseas you vote earlier)
I can confidently say, if there are any in politics, the good men in this piece of ballot paper are the ones WITHOUT MOUSTACHE.
Selahattin Demirtas is a Kurd. I have been voting for his party the last few elections. He is a great leader, young, dynamic, proper leftie, commoner, not rich. His party policies are too good to be true. They are a combination of Green and Labour parties if we’d like to compare it to something. He is in jail at the moment and thrown there by you-know-who and his party. He did his propaganda speech from the jail. I don’t believe something like a ‘good politician’ but it looks like he’s the most decent one I can see at the moment.
Muharrem Ince on the other hand is a retired Physics teacher. I always thought he was way too Turkish Nationalist for me, there were times even I had the impression he had a drop of racism in his speeches etc. But so far in this election run up he’s been a GREAT success. He is like a pop star. He convinced a lot of people to vote again (Do I have to tell you a lot of young people gave up voting after seeing Erdogan was always having 50% support?)
His mum is wearing a headscarf, which warms him to the more islamist people, and he is a true and nature speaker, oh God he is a politician. He has the charms and wit. He visited Demirtas in Jail and I believe one of the first things he’ll do when elected will be to release everyone who’s injusticely in jail now.
Mother Meral: The Dark Horse
Guys, I don’t need to tell you that Turks, love right wing. It’s a bit like anywhere in the world. Left is always a threat.
So, Meral Aksener, who recently broke up with her party (Nationalist Movement Party, the racist one in Turkish politics) started her own one: The Good Party (not joking. this is the name)
So some people think she might steal the right wing votes. Who knows. I’ll never vote for her though. You can see she’s temporarily wearing a black head scarf during her visit to god knows where. Still, she can be a surprise dark horse.
For a very long time I was never this much excited. Never had a hope. I hope this election means CHANGE in Turkish politics. Erdogan’s on his way to be a dictator, and I hope people’s vote will stop this. For the first time in 17 years, there is a alternative to him. Muharrem Ince, the retired teacher. He could be changing this game.
A little P.S. Please don’t think I have dislike people who wear the head scarf. I have dislike that head scarf is being a tool in politics and dirty games. Leave women heads alone.
Such an interesting post! I’ve been following the rise of Erdogan for a few years now and know he’s not good. I hope you get some good people elected this time xx
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Thanks Nicki. I don’t like writing on anything other than books, but this election is shattering my concentration.
Erdogan’s rise could easily be adapted into a novel! He he.. there are tons of interesting facts/things about him. But he’s built an empire of fear.
One picture and body language of presenter says it all. The presenter can’t even sit normally opposite him.
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Fingers crossed for a good result for you in the Turkish elections! I liked reading this post as I didn’t know much about what was going on before. The right-wing rise seemingly everywhere is frightening me. I don’t understand why people have to be so tribal and territorial
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hey Stephanie, thanks! I hope the power shifts. You’re right, the world is shifting to right- not sure why people vote for people full of hatred, racism 😦
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