Lack of mutual trust is our greatest problem
We are going through tense times in Turkey. With the ongoing war in Syria, talk of a new Cold War, and talk about a snap election, we have more than enough news stories to keep us occupied.
As unfortunate as it is in many ways to be a journalist in Turkey these days, it is also abundant in other ways. Luckily, I’m not really a journalist. Although my routine includes performing in my TV sitcom “The Jet Sets” twice a week for 14 hours a day, and writing the 110 pages of the script during the rest of the week, I am grateful to be somewhat distant from the national conversation.
Today’s discussion about snap general and presidential elections comes after National Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli, in alliance with the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), suggested that Turkey hold elections on Aug. 26.
Finally, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and Bahçeli met on April 18 and announced that the elections will be held on June 24.
With this discussion our deep-rooted “great lack of mutual trust” has once again come to surface. Was this date picked so that the recently-founded İYİ (Good) Party, led by former MHP member Meral Akşener, would not be able to make it onto ballot papers?
Was it a sneaky plan to rule the İYİ Party out of the election process due to the fact that its necessary six-month due time since its first congress would not be fulfilled by the date of the election?
Thankfully, Akşener has come out and said the party’s six months will be fulfilled by June 10. Hopefully that will be where this debate ends.
Meanwhile, people who have already made plans to go on family visits to villages or other cities will also be impacted by the decision
But our great problem lies elsewhere anyway.
Our biggest problem is something else: We have lost our trust in each other. This did not happen overnight.
Those who are coming up with such questions are not forcing themselves to come up with questions that ask whether there will be corruption or whether elections will be fair and transparent. After all, there are countless cases of corruption, cheating, injustice and scandals in this country - whether the situation is about applying for a job, a legal decision, or the treatment of citizens by state officials.
How can people even begin to trust one another in such an environment?
Our greatest trouble is not the economy.
Our greatest trouble is the politicization of every subject in the country, from art to sports. It is the polarization and “camping” of groups of people with different political identities. It is the suspicious way people look at each other, wondering whether the other person is privileged in some way or not. That is how we have lost our mutual trust and respect for each other.
What can keep us on our feet, still, is maintaining our fraternity by keeping our mutual connections. Our mutual workspaces, mutual living spaces, the sports teams we support, the city we share, a common taste in music, and our relationships could help us remain a community despite political differences.