Advertiser reveals identity of AKP’s secret coalition partner

Advertiser reveals identity of AKP’s secret coalition partner

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Advertiser reveals identity of AKP’s secret coalition partner

The ruling AKP can get 60 percent of the votes in the next elections if opposition parties don’t change their strategies and keep on missing the “politicless” segment, Ateş İlyas Başsoy (R) tells the Daily News. DAILY NEWS photos, Hasan ALTINIŞIK

A poll released this week has revealed that support for the government is rapidly growing while the main opposition’s popularity is plummeting. The trend speaks to the Justice and Development Party’s (AKP) continual popularity and electoral success, which may stem from its ability to target the large societal segment that is disinterested in politics, according to advertiser Ateş İlyas Başsoy.

The main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), meanwhile, has completely passed over the segment, which has now become the biggest “political force” in Turkey, as it continues to target its own core constituency, said Başsoy, who is the author of “Why the AKP wins, why the CHP loses.”

The CHP’s arrogance blinds it, Başsoy said in an interview this week with the Hürriyet Daily News.

Abdullah Gül and Erdoğan, the fabulous duo, decided not to target their core constituency, since they will vote for them anyway. They decided to target the middle – those disinterested in politics.

Why does the AKP win and the CHP lose?

The AKP wins because it makes a coalition with the party formed by all the “Selim Türkhans” (STP), [the everyman of the country]. The CHP ignores the STP. Selim Türkhan is “politicsless” [apolitical]. He is not interested in politics. Turkish and foreign analysts have trouble analyzing the AKP, which is a postmodern party and its leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, is like Micheal Jakson – very different people can like him. Half of those who voted for the AKP are interested in the achievements of the AKP, in what it did in the health sector for example. There has been no period in Turkish history when the votes of all Selim Türkhans went to just one party. There has been no period in modern Turkish history where the opposition parties have been so dumb. The one that makes the best analyses about itself and the STP is the AKP. And they do the best perception management.

What do you mean by perception management?

The best publicity can only increase your votes by 1 or 2 percent. The CHP is after publicity. [President] Abdullah Gül and Erdoğan, the fabulous duo, decided not to target their core constituency, since they will vote for them anyway. They decided to target the middle – those disinterested in politics. They kept saying, “We are here to serve.” At every step they took, there was this strategy. The CHP continued its in-fighting for three years and nine months and in the last three months, used the huge financial support given by the state [to all parties] for things that appealed only to their core electorate. You need to manage perception even three years before elections.

You use an apricot analogy to explain the AKP’s voters.

If we look at the 50 percent the AKP got [in the 2011 elections], there is first of all a 10 percent core electorate: They are radical Islamists – they are the core of the apricot. With the elections in 2002, an additional 15 percent came to surround the core; they are the conservatives escaping from other right-wing parties. So 25 percent voted for AKP for political reasons. But the 25 percent is the fruity part around the core – it can rot and get separated. That’s why the AKP focuses more on this part. The [current, non-core] 25 percent are those attracted to the smell of the apricot, the “politicsless” segment that gets carried away by the AKP’s rhetoric of stability and development.

You claim the CHP’s core is much bigger.

Those voting unconditionally for the CHP are much bigger than those doing likewise for the AKP. Twenty-five percent of the votes received by the AKP are all political votes. In this sense, the CHP is a bigger party than the AKP, since just through political rhetoric it can get more votes than the AKP. The CHP has a power that it is unaware of. If it could only develop a strategy to add to that core, it could even receive 50 percent of the votes in the next elections.

As long as there is a “politicsless” segment in Turkey, the CHP can only get that far with politics. The CHP can’t see that, so matter how much it criticizes the AKP, it cannot get one single vote from the AKP’s core constituency. The CHP picks a fight with the AKP’s political mentality and thus misses those “politicsless” masses. The CHP draws thousands and even a million to its election rallies. But they get mad when I ask where the other 14 million in Istanbul are. But the thousands the CHP sees blinds it. But the Selim Türkhans close the window when there is too much noise in the rallies, and change the channel when it sees political polemics.

Even in the book written when [Mustafa Kemal] Atatürk was alive in the 1930s about republican reforms, there is talk about new roads, new buildings. In the song composed for the 10th anniversary of the Republic, it says, “We covered the four corners of the country with iron nets [rail roads]. The CHP has not been able to capture this dynamic.

So you say that “the party of Atatürk,” was unable to analyze Atatürk.

Erdoğan was the one to see best what Atatürk did. Actually, it is easy to convince the “politicsless” electorate. But getting votes from another party’s core is as difficult as splitting the atom.

Who actually is “Selim Türkhan?”

He is a person busy with everyday life: a pragmatist, a Machiavellist. For the past 10 years, he or she has been voting for those who have brought practical solutions and made his or her everyday life easier. They are not undecided because they have been voting resolutely for the AKP. The Selim Türkhans like big buildings, big roads. They want to be treated humanely in hospitals and do not care if in 10 years’ time the health system might collapse. They look to the [present day].

Selim Türkhan does not want Turkey to upset international balances.

Turks are working in all neighboring countries. If we become more isolationist, if there are embargos imposed on Turkey, the economy might be affected and that means losses in the everyday life of Selim Türkhan. He says, “Let’s get along with the U.S., and the Arabs. It’s fine to flex our muscle against Israel from time to time.” But the Machiavellist Selim Türkhan will also say don’t go overboard too much antagonizing Israel. He would say, “Isn’t it Jewish capital that rules the world? Antagonizing Israel will also get us hurt.”

But some say Erdoğan’s popularity has increased due to his challenge to the United States and Israel.

I think Erdoğan is now at a crossroads: Should it target the political 25 percent of its core electorate or the other 25 percent? If it gets carried away by its core electorate, it will make the same mistake as the CHP. If [Erdoğan] continues to strike the balance, he will get 60 percent in the next elections.

But is this just a perception? Isn’t there a reality behind that perception?

In 2002 there was nothing, but there was no opposition. So the AKP won. But then, obviously, it [subsequently] won due to its achievements. It will be foolish to attribute, as the CHP does, the AKP’s huge success to the free coal that is distributed in shantytowns.

Why has the CHP missed the STP?

The CHP still thinks it is the owner of this country and that others are temporarily powerful. It is so arrogant that it can’t even make a simple analysis. They are all republican elitists. Most have come to those positions from above, not like the AKP cadres, who made their way up from the streets.