Socializing with the opposition leader

Socializing with the opposition leader

Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım likes to surprise. He did it again on the evening of Jan. 10 when he stepped into the opposition lobby of parliament while the first article in the constitutional changes was being debated. He had a glass of tea with opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. 

I looked at the photos taken at the spot; both of them look relaxed and smiling. Their expressions were friendly, non-pretentious. All together, the impromptu visit proceeded in a pleasant atmosphere. 

As a matter of fact, at one point, Kılıçdaroğlu is reported to have told the PM: “If you withdraw this offer, how nice it would be. The entire climate would thaw.” Yıldırım did not become tense over this and answered with his usual quizzical smile, we have been told. 

Inside the assembly hall, there is a very intense, icy-cold atmosphere; however, when outside, here is heart-warming friendliness. 

I think this photograph explains a viewpoint and a stance against certain hawks. 

Several mayors from the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and other confused minds claim that those discourses such as “Turkey is secular and shall remain so” are provocative and are only good for supporting terror. 

The prime minister says they may be having a cutthroat struggle with the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) but they will also sit and drink tea with them and have a nice chat. 

He tells us that we should not bear hostility against opponents even though they have made the harshest criticisms against us like Kılıçdaroğlu. 

He wants to say that opposition is a legitimate right; even if it is done in the severest way, it is legitimate. 
He is trying to say that no matter how much you dislike the opposing political view, even if they bring the most controversial objection, even if they try to use the most provocative challenges, even if they adopt the shrewdest stance, even if they use the most hurtful language, even if they stage the most provocative reaction, do not criminalize them. 

He says, do not ostracize those who are not from us, do not exclude those who do not think like us, do not label them with treason and do not exaggerate and call then anti-national. 

He is trying to say that it is not a crime to oppose the presidential model. He says this nation is not made up of the AK Party majority alone. 

“Those who do not support us are first-class citizens just as much as we are,” he is trying to say. 

With this visit, he also said: “Do not forget that CHP is one of the heroes of the July 15 resistance. If nothing else, at least their stance against the coup attempt on that night counts.” 

Remember that he says “how President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was proud of the Yenikapı rally in which Kılıçdaroğlu participated.” 

He has conveyed the message: “This unity at Yenikapı upset Turkey’s enemies just as much as the July 15 resistance. Now, do not play into the hands of those who want to incite fights along party, political, sectarian and disposition lines among us.”

Yıldırım is referring to Erdoğan’s statement of “we do not have to be of the same opinion, but we are Turkey all together.” 

That photograph explains the virtue of being unified instead of being separatist and discriminatory and being pluralist instead of forcing monism and engaging in bullying. It was a show of yearning for democratic kindness instead of rudeness. 

Is it only me or does it appear to you also that this was a photo to curb and calm certain reactions?