Is this battered wife syndrome?
BELGİN AKALTAN - firstname.lastname@example.orgWhat is wrong with us? Another election has passed. And as it has always happened, whoever I was supporting has lost. There were only a few times when I experienced the sweet taste of winning, a hope for the future, the intoxicating feeling that people of your mind are in power; and many problems, if not all, will be solved with competent leaders, with a hardworking, honest political party, with a transparent administration.
Here, in Turkey, I have been ruled by people who are not like me, who do not think like me, for the past 11 years and before that for many decades - with short intervals.
This time, half of the country has voted for the incumbent administration. Who is that half and why have they voted for them, I simply cannot understand. There is no logical explanation to why this is happening. What is it that makes them love this administration and support this party?
The prime minister rules the country single handedly as if he is heading a street gang at Kasımpaşa. I don’t deserve that. Politics should not be so banal. People who see themselves as “pubic hair” have voted and the people they have voted for will rule us for another term. There is something wrong with the way I think or with the way they think.
I blame the Americans. I also blame the Russians and the Ukrainians. (just kidding)
How can people with less education, less wit, less knowledge of the world and less morals rule me? There must be something I don’t understand. Something I don’t see, that the other 45 percent of Turkey sees.
I know only a few Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporters. When I ask them why they voted for the AKP, I get no satisfactory answers. When I insist on asking why someone would vote for this and that and that, then I see a bad look from that person, the look of those who do not have the ability to express themselves, but quite capable of hating. Behind that look, I see the satisfaction of the oppressed soul which finally has the opportunity to get back at the self-created antagonist: “You, elitist snob. You can never understand me. He is from us. The party helps me in all my affairs. Why shouldn’t I vote for them? What have the others done for me? They are from us. They understand us. They are not like you.” Yeah, I understand that. But why do I need to suffer because of this immense incapability, this colossal incomprehensiveness?
This is like catching a burglar in your house and the burglar telling you we should go to the ballot box, an argument applauded by others…
In my quest to understand why the AKP has won, I look at the explanations of other people cleverer than me. Like, Bekir Coşkun wrote on April 1 at daily Sözcü telling his readers not to lose morale after seeing Bilal waving to people on the balcony: “Keep your head high. In this election, the ‘shoe box’ has won. The 45 percent. You are the 55 percent. Democracy is for electing the best. If the citizen has elected the shoe box, bribery, corruption, censure, bans, those who shoot children in the head … Then do not worry … Just keep your head high.”
HDN writer Barçın Yinanç has asked, “Why, after all these corruption charges, listening to humiliating video recordings, the crisis in Syria, have people still voted for the AKP?” According to Yinanç, basically, the AKP voters said this: “For years, we have been under represented in this country. Turkey’s former ruling elites, the republican, secularist and Kemalist elites looked down on us; they ignored us. The AKP is one of us.” Identity politics, the economic situation and the failure of opposition parties were keys in determining the election results, she wrote.
Ahmet Hakan wrote on April 3 in daily Hürriyet why the AKP was successful. In a nutshell, the reasons were the extraordinary features of the leader, the peace process, the “we are under attack” discourse, economy and the ability to simplify and explain to the people. Also what we define as “authoritarianism” seemed to the supporter that they have a powerful leader challenging the world. There is also the enchanted relationship the AKP has with its supporters. They have made the pious masses gain freedom and self-esteem. A magical relationship has stemmed from that.
Me? I explain this with battered wife syndrome. It is a sick relationship with an abusive partner. The battered side (voter) has developed some kind of desensitized, immune stance against the battering and at the same time maintains hope for the future, in which everything is going to be fine as long as the affair continues. They genuinely believe this battering will be the last one and things will get better. The battered side cannot leave the destructive relationship. It is a state of learned helplessness. The battered wife most of the time comes from a battering household anyway so does not know of any other kind of relationship.