Futile talk in politics
The June 7 election appears to have taken place somewhere in outer space, not in Turkey. Since the June 7 polls the country first wasted precious time with the president exercising whatever power he has not to designate a prime minister and since the designation of the premier the country has been witnessing a futile and insincere effort to kill time rather than forge a new government.
Since June 7 the Justice and Development Party (AKP), though ousted from office by 60 percent of the electorate in the national vote, not only remains in office but with formulae to take the country to a new election with itself still in power. Why? While it will use whatever public funds and means available, as Finance Minister Mehmet Şahin said, the Treasury will not pay a cent in election campaign assistance to parties. Will that still be compatible with the principle of equality? Can anyone still claim that parties participated in the election on the basis of equal opportunity? Even if anyone makes such a ludicrous claim, will that mean anything to anyone?
After spending weeks with “exploratory” talks with the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and two sessions of hard talk between the premier and the CHP leader, Turkey learned the AKP did not intend to form a government anyhow. What was its intention? To establish a caretaker government that would carry the country to an early election in the spring. Why? Because the AKP did not want to be in a coalition government. The AKP believed the nation made a mistake in the June election and will make a correction if given a new opportunity and will reelect the AKP with sufficient political strength to form a government alone and perhaps change the constitution in the fashion President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has been dreaming of.
Why? The president has been hoping to “complete the system change” that he believed the nation started by electing him president through a direct vote. He said plainly last week that there was no need to read between the lines. He has been dreaming of becoming a “super president” who is in charge of the executive and legislative as well as the judiciary. He also has created his allegiant media. Thus, he will have a reign of governance with no checks and balances. Alas, no one should call him a dictator because he was tolerant to criticism and people have the right to express their negative opinions about him.
Well, a quick look at the several volumes of the Press for Freedom reports that provide monthly freedom of expression and media freedom violations details in Turkey, there has never been such a period in the history of the Turkish Republic when a president was hunting and bringing to court everyone criticizing him.
On Aug. 17 it will be the turn of Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), to spend time on futile talks with the designated prime minister. Bahçeli has already declared he will not engage in any coalition formulae with the AKP, will not directly or indirectly be an ally of the ruling party. As the experience of the country proves contrary the remarks of Bahçeli might not mean much, can he indeed agree to become a crutch of the AKP once again and help it remain in power as an election government? Knowing that besides the AKP his MHP will benefit from public funds and means in the election campaign period perhaps the idea might be appealing for the MHP boss. Yet, will not this nation penalize such opportunist calculations in the upcoming election?
I wrote so many days ago that the AKP had been flirting with the CHP but would marry the MHP. That appears to be within the cards, even if the MHP is well aware that such a move would be suicidal. Still, there is very strong opposition within the MHP to such opportunistic and probably very costly deal with the AKP.
In any case, it became all the more apparent that in this new and advanced democracy of Turkey apart from his AKP, Erdoğan will not let - forget about designate - anyone forge a government. The only luxury opposition parties might have is limited to having futile sessions of empty talk with the chief vizier of the almighty sultan.