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AHU ÖZYURT > That stubborn 1.7 percent

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It is summer and that means endless dieting for women all over the world. In Turkey, it is even worse. All of the mainstream papers publish pages and pages of beaches of Bodrum and Çeşme. And that means you really have to lose weight.

As a Cosmogirl once said (and I have no clue which Cosmogirl that was), you can never be too thin. So you change your eating habits, you exercise, you do Pilates, you detox. But that stubborn three kilos, that final five pounds... Those are the biggest enemies. They stick to you. They are ruthless. You do everything to get rid of them, but they do not let you go. They are like that 1.7 percent of Prime Minister Erdoğan’s voters.

This was the scene of the CNN Turk newsroom on the night of the presidential elections. Frantically, we were looking at both Anatolian Agency and Cihan News Agency figures. One of them showed a 67 percent vote for Erdoğan’s victory. The other was barely around 47 percent. It was almost as if you know you have lost weight, but can’t really figure out if you can fit into a size eight bikini or a 10. And for ladies that makes a world of a difference.

As time passed, one of the agencies came back to reality from Mars. Erdoğan’s votes declined sharply as the vote counting moved into the bigger cities. Not surprisingly, his most faithful voters were in the rural hometowns, “memleket” as we say. Not that all of them were at the hazelnut or tea harvest in the Black Sea Coast. But when the schools are out, Istanbul is too expensive for kids of low income.

Families barely survive the August heat, let alone the cost of sending kids to summer schools, Quran courses or amusement parks. And so the votes went down, first to 60 percent, then to 57, 55 and 53 percent. But that 1.7 became the threshold. It held there like a rock.

On the other side, Selahattin Demirtaş’s votes were like a reversed Montignac Diet. It skyrocketed to 17 percent in the first hours when counting was complete in the southeast. Then it sharply went down. Then it stayed at around 9 percent. It showed a solid standing in the bigger cities, like İzmir and Istanbul, but it was not enough to jump the 10 percent threshold.

So now it is time for everyone to look at its weight loss objectives more carefully. Can you be a size six in three months? Maybe, but you probably cannot stay there for a long time. The opposition, to make Erdoğan’s Justice and Development Party (AK Party) shed that stubborn 1.7 percent extra, has to make some pretty dramatic moves. Expert dietitians say “Surprise your body. Eat chocolate for example. Or do an all-liquid detox for a week only. Change your habits. But do it every month. And always exercise.”

For the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), that means changing the way everyday politics is done. Both sides have learned a lot during the process of choosing a candidate and running a campaign. These two political movements can only complement each other from now on. The CHP cannot win on a “single-issue” campaign like being simply against Erdoğan.

Likewise, the HDP cannot be a nationwide political movement running on a single issue like “free-Öcalan.” This is a one-year success diet recipe for both. In the end, Turkey becomes the democratic beauty of the region and that is worth all of the suffering. No pain, no gain.

August/15/2014

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