The president’s existential war
His Majesty has said he believed early elections on Nov. 1 would “clear up the problems created by the June 7” parliamentary elections. The problems? His (and his Grand Vizier’s) problems. 60 percent of Turks (and Kurds) have no problem about the fact that the president’s popularity shrank to 40 percent on June 7. He wants to roll the dice again for he has nothing to lose. So, let him roll the dice again; this is the president’s existential war.
With the U.S. dollar trading at three Turkish Liras and the euro close to 3.5, the Sultan’s story no longer sells good enough on the marketplace he once was able to manipulate, with the Quran in one hand, with tales of brotherhood with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas. The easy way out: Ring Doha and ask for $$$$$$$$$ to stop the bleeding of the lira until Nov. 1 (if you have not already).
Remember to offer ministerial posts to politicians from rival parties and lucrative government contracts and high-level bureaucratic appointments to their friends and relatives. Do not send just aid to the poorest. Send aid and cash to the poorest. Remember the golden rule: Share part of the loot with the masses so that they will keep you afloat on a rough sea of politics. They will love you as long as you pay them.
The president’s war is not a war between power and glory vs. opposition or retirement. It is a war between absolute power and glory vs. ending up at an unpleasant place where they keep people who have done bad things.
Once again, it is time to read our crystal balls. Pollsters read theirs, and theirs do not promise glory days for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) after Nov. 1. My own does not spell disaster, nor glory days for the president, for whom no glory days, sadly, means disaster.
Fuad Kavur, a dear friend and a world-renowned Turkish-British director and producer of film and opera, read his own crystal ball:
“Cut to Nov. 2, the AKP has failed to put the clock back. Not only have they failed to garner an overall majority, but they also have done worse than in June 7. Now, where do they go?
“What is one ‘constant’ we do have? [The president] will never allow the AKP to lose their grip on power. So, with that premise, let’s put ourselves in [his] shoes. ‘We lost the election – again - but we do not want to hand over power. So, want do we do?’
“First option: We can say, ‘We are not going anywhere!’ This has a nice, Clint Eastwood, ‘Dirty Harry’ type ring to it: ‘Come on Punk, make my day.’ Still, that might not go down so well with the foreign media. Remember their venomous headlines during Gezi?
“Second option: We can close down [the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party] HDP and round up all their MPs as Kurdish terrorists, and take over their seats. However, that has a whiff of a ‘Banana Republic…’
“Third option: See what is in the Turkish constitution which would allow an election-losing party to remain in power. Civil War? Maybe, but, as Tony Blair would say, ‘Not sexy enough.’ What about a real, full blooded, old fashioned war - tanks crossing borders, soldiers with bayonets, jets dropping bombs, navy bombarding enemy vessels and shores, media subject to war time censorship, reservists conscripted, curfew at night, parliament suspended - now you are talking. What is more, that could last for years and years...
“Given, by then, Turkey will hopefully have lost enough territory - where non-AKP-voting traitors were with fresh elections, not only will the AKP return with an overall majority, but also with one large enough to change the constitution once and for all, dispensing with the parliament - except for ceremonial purposes.”
Perhaps Mr. Kavur is too pessimistic. Before - or after - any of that could happen a Turkish Tiananmen will occur; Turkey would be entirely cut off from the West, expelled or suspended from NATO and the Council of Europe. The economy and markets would collapse. In any case, that Turkey will surely not be the one the president has hoped to run and Islamize.