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SERKAN DEMİRTAŞ > Turkish PM Erdoğan’s state of mind

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Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan revealed public opinion polls yesterday, suggesting that his ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is going to receive the same percentage of votes it got in the 2011 general elections at the upcoming local elections. Some senior AKP officials echo their leader and proudly say they will receive around 48 percent of the vote on March 30.

Thanks to Turkish people’s conscious and common sense, they add, an international plot in alliance with their local contractors, or the enemies of Turkey, has been realized by the whole of Turkish society. A good majority of Turkish people do not believe that the four ministers and their sons, Erdoğan and his family have been involved in corruption and graft affairs. Furthermore, the people are of the opinion that what was done Dec. 17 was the second phase of the Gezi Park protests, with its sole aim being to weaken the government and thus Turkey.

If Erdoğan and his men sincerely believe what they are saying, then what can explain their anger, anxiety and delirium to us? If they are so confident they will win elections, what are all these efforts to distort reality? If they are sure the Turkish people will not care about the corruption and graft claims, the millions of dollars and euros found in shoe boxes, or the money counters found in the bedroom of former interior minister’s son, why keep making this point? If they believe people no longer buy "media lies," why are Erdoğan and his people not refraining from intervening even in the subtitles of news stations or the headlines of newspapers? And why does Erdoğan so desperately keep harping on a proven lie about the abuse of a headscarf-wearing woman during the Gezi protests, if he is so powerful that he no longer feels the need to exploit religious symbols and the headscarf issue?  

Thanks to the prime minister’s daily public addresses – sometimes more than one or two on the same day – and thanks to the news stations that broadcast them all live and in full, we are never deprived of Erdoğan’s views on the country’s current issues. His hours-long public addresses, at least partly made up of hatred against all kinds of opponents, mention everything - even very hazy ideas on various issues - with the exception of the corruption and graft claims.

If there is nothing to worry about, why has Erdoğan declared this a “war of independence?” Why did he remove thousands of police officers and hundreds of prosecutors in a move to cover up the corruption and graft claims? Why is Erdoğan, who declared he would fight against corruption at the outset of his rule in 2003, now smoothing over the cracks? And why is his justice minister trying to block the summary of proceedings on his four ministers, if they are only the innocent victims of the international plot?

Very contrary to the picture Erdoğan is trying to depict, there is serious evidence he and some of his senior men should be worried, particularly regarding corruption issues. The amounts of money and the scope of the alleged corruption we have been discussing since Dec. 17 are fully in contrast with the natural flow of life. Erdoğan is the sole and absolute leader of his party and government, and is rightly described as the main man responsible for this very negative picture and political climate that the entire country is suffering through today. 

Unfortunately, we have arrived at such a point that clichés about Erdoğan’s state of mind, which is mostly described as “the furious style of a charismatic leader,” have led to tension in politics and polarization in the country, which cannot explain the current state of affairs in Turkey. In the end, Erdoğan, unfortunately, has turned into something that we have long observed was coming.

February/19/2014

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