Weeks after President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s “16 Turkish warriors”
hit international headlines, several candidates have launched Ottoman-themed campaigns to be nominated for the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) in the upcoming parliamentary elections.
For his campaign under the motto "All Together, New Turkey," Osman Yavuz, an AKP electoral candidate nominee in the Central Anatolian province of Konya, wore a börk
, a piece headgear worn by Seljuk warriors and the first Ottoman sultans in the 14th century. The börk has recently become familiar to the Turkish public again, thanks to a TV drama about the era.
After going viral on social media on Feb. 25, with some users mocking and others supporting him, Yavuz told daily Hürriyet that Konya was once the capital of the Anatolian Seljuk Empire. “I am an advertiser,” he said, vowing to “serve his city efficiently if elected.”
Other political hopefuls also managed to draw attention to their candidacy with their attire. Ersin Karababa, who nominated himself as an AKP candidate from the northern province of Tokat, appeared on posters dressed as a sultan from the 1600s or the 1700s.
The AKP’s self-nominated Ankara
candidate Cihangir Tahir, meanwhile, went even further by adding an Ottoman-style moustache to his costume.
His poster also presented him photoshopped next to a picture of President Erdoğan and his wife Emine Erdoğan, who he dubbed “my spiritual father” and “my spiritual mother.”
Nalan Aktaş, a self-nominated AKP candidate from Istanbul, is so far the only female political hopeful whose attire attracted attention on social media for its “historical” resonance.
Many social media users mocking the AKP’s latest sartorial trend responded sarcastically, with mock campaign materials for fake candidates, such as one claiming his place “in the race to win public tenders” wearing an Ottoman fez.