When the going gets tough, white Turks chicken out
Do you know what a beach chair Atatürkist is?
Let me explain. It is a freshly created concept. It probably comes from a cartoon. The cartoon shows a guy sitting on a beach chair by the sea. He has a tattoo on his arm depicting the signature of Atatürk. A Turkish flag hangs from the back of his chair. With a glass in his hands, he tells us “Why should I go to the ballot box, all three of them are U.S. projects.”
The AKP’s opponents are spreading this cartoon saying, “let’s not be a beach chair Atatürkist.”
There is a conviction that it’s not the participation toll, but the ratio of those not going to the ballot box that will determine the outcome of the Aug. 10 presidential elections. I am not in a position to say whether this is true or not. We’ll see that Aug. 10.
What’s sure is that, there is an important number of people who are on holidays and they do not want to bother coming back to their residential cities to cast their vote. These are rather opposition Republican People’s Party or (CHP) or Nationalist Movement Party’s (MHP) constituency. The average AKP voters do not go on holidays; some probably don’t even leave their neighborhood in Istanbul, for instance, to go by the seaside.
Obviously these dates suit the AKP.
Not only do the CHP and MHP voters not want to disrupt their holidays, some are also unhappy with the joint candidate put forward by their parties.
Yet, even if we put aside the vacationers, even those who have planned their holidays according to the electoral dates, will go to the ballot box dragging their feet. There is a feeling of an accepted defeat among the AKP’s opponents. A sense of “no matter what we do, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan will win.”
This reflects a lack of persistence, dedication and commitment to a cause. This is especially true for the old elites and their support at large, who were in power for decades. They did not have to fight on the political arena, like the Kurdish political movement or the religious political movement. Indeed, they suffered from military coups. But if we were to compare? I cannot recall the number of Kurdish parties, as well as religious parties that were shut down by the Constitutional Court. A lot of Kurdish politicians died or served jail time. Erdoğan served jail time himself. And all of this has made them much more dedicated and resilient. That’s why there is a greater sense of perseverance among the AKP’s supporters, as well as the Kurdish party.
The opponents of the AKP thought things could change overnight after the Gezi Park events. They became highly disappointed when municipal elections ended with a clear AKP victory. They became quickly frustrated. Unlike the supporters of the AKP and the Kurdish parties who have faced defeat after defeat against the “mighty force” in the government, they had not experienced such setbacks after working so hard.
Well, tough life. They are going to have to learn how to win following defeat after defeat.