Is this Davutoğlu’s true style?
I am uncomfortable with Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s style. I will discuss with you whether this style is genuine or false.
I know that people’s character and style do not change. I know that they can only evolve, over many years, in a general direction. I have rarely seen the opposite, it is extremely rare for people's character to fundamentally change.
It has also been noted that politicians' private style and their public image behind the microphone or on the screen are different from each other. One wonders which style is the genuine one. Here, I am questioning the difference between the public and the non-public speeches given by Davutoğlu, especially during the period after Aug. 28.
I have met Mr. Davutoğlu two or three times. One was on a flight to Ankara about eight years ago. I did not detect a particularly challenging personality in his attitude and words. He did not exaggerate his observations; his evaluations were not extreme. My impression was that he was a modest, unassertive person without any hubris.
Then I listened to him in a closed session when he was lecturing about Turkish foreign policy. He spoke at length while seldom looking at his notes. He answered questions. His words were assertive, but his style wasn't. He had definite arguments regarding foreign policy and he did not hide this. I thought he looked like a civilized, Western politician.
From that day on, I have seen him in the media as a hardworking, assertive politician with a strong memory, who is respectful of others. He did not have any trace of the style that he has adopted since he became prime minister. I cannot say which one is genuine and which is false. Some people may even claim they are not too different from each other.
From the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) convention at which he was elected leader up until today; he only just stops short of swearing at people. What kind of a change is this?
It doesn't matter whether he is speaking at his own party group meeting, at Parliament, at party branch gatherings, at general assemblies of public institutions, or at rallies, he invariably accuses people of being deceivers, traitors, and the like. In every single sentence he attempts to prove his beliefs.
Society is already strained and polarized. What more would one want? Who is he trying to imitate so much that he is forced to change his old simple style? Who does he want to overtake? Why is he scolding people? I really cannot understand.
On Oct. 26, speaking in Kayseri, he added the metaphor “bats in pursuit of chaos” to those he has made up before. He was referring to the leader of the Republican People’s Party (CHP). He claimed that the CHP would not be pleased with the normalization of life in Turkey. Referring to the May 27 military coup, he said that “bats attack dams and roads.”
I was not able to explain May 27 to Erdoğan, so let me address Davutoğlu this time: May 27 was a sad incident against an oppressive government. This government had restricted freedom of expression and political rights; it had formed a commission at Parliament authorized with wide powers including the power to arrest, which on the very day that it was formed started arresting journalists and politicians; it was a government that had succumbed to the weaknesses of its leader.
The CHP was not behind the coup. In the 18 months after it, the party supported the Constitution, which some of today's leaders define as a “luxury.” The CHP also helped set up an electoral system based on proportional representation. To be likened to the CHP of those days would only honor the CHP of today.
I don’t know which style of Davutoğlu is the true one. I hope and wish that the one we see today is not the real one, and that he goes back soon to his truly knowledgeable self and discourse.