Come together for a ‘New Life’
This is a different kind of election. As Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan breaks down every logical and sensible argument, insults everyone that barely criticize him and looks for an easy win in the first round, Turkey will look for other options on its horizon.
This country has never been insulted so badly. Being an honest, highly educated person has never been such a handicap. Daring to speak the truth, write the truth or report the truth has never so deeply buried underground. Yes, this too shall pass. But let us see what we can do in the meantime.
The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is the biggest loser of this election. Its leader never openly challenged Erdoğan, neither did they fully support Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu. Bahçeli’s key staff members, deputy chairs and MP’s worked like crazy to organize and help İhsanoğlu on the campaign trail, yet the lower ranks, the city and village chairmen did little or nothing to rally the base. For that, I ask the party to look into the “Ülkü Ocakları” organization and question if they had received any favors from the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) or its subsidiaries lately. Employment opportunities, municipality tenders, you name it.
One good thing about this nightmare is that left and right are finally back and clearer than ever. As Mr. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had said in a private conversation, “The People’s Republican Party’s [CHP] road is eventually going to merge with the Kurds. Our roots, our political history is together.” And so shall it be. Why not have Selahattin Demirtaş become an MP for the CHP next time? Even maybe run for the chairmanship of the party that founded the Republic.
This may sound funny or impossible to many. But come to think of it, Demirtaş has won the hearts and minds of the younger CHP voters and women in the cities. He is reflecting the worries and hopes of the urban professionals and white-collar workers better than any secular politician. This means at least half of the CHP voters may actually feel comfortable with him being in the party.
Demirtaş does not shy away from fighting with Erdoğan and he has a longer past in the political struggle for freedom. One thing that struck me was about his childhood aspirations was to become a soldier one day.
“We had neighbors, their kids were my friends. Their father was a non-commissioned officer. I always envied him when I was a kid. I really wanted to be a soldier. Then when I grew up, a leftist friend in the neighborhood convinced me that it would not be the right choice.”
Demirtaş symbolizes our possibility to raise Kurdish kids from Diyarbakir to become the leading contender of a presidential race to run this country. He is really the hope of a “New Life” with all its colors, religions and languages. He has the audacity to challenge the pro-Sunni, ultraconservative establishment, as well as Kurdish nationalism.
If Demirtaş can run for the highest office in Turkey, he may actually run the CHP. And that will be the biggest legacy of the secular unified Republic.