Erdoğan’s popularity rating skyrockets following his illness
Remember how Prime Minister Erdoğan used to be castigated by the opposition before he fell ill, and how all his speeches would come under fire; how everyone who had accounts to settle in the opposition camp, primarily led by hard-line secularists and neo-nationalists, would speak about the prime minister and plot scenarios for his downfall?
Then one day news came of his illness. To make matters worse, nerves were stretched even further when it turned out he had undergone a surgery. No one could understand what was going on. Moreover, the prime ministerial team, which used to be so proficient in managing public relations, committed a huge mistake this time round and divulged no information whatsoever. The curtains came down just as transparency was in dire need, leading to massive public speculation.
Rumors began to circulate the prime minister had fallen severely ill and he was no longer going to be able to work and, after a while, that he was pulling out of politics.
Everything changed after this.
The content of the whole public discourse and views of the prime minister took an entirely different turn.
You also must be aware, I am certain: an anxiety began sweeping through even the most dissident circles. People who could never get along with Erdoğan fell into ideological doubt.
So, what is it that led to such a twist? The chief reason for this is the prime minister keeps everything under his control while making all the decisions, and there is a risk the country’s economic stability could fall in jeopardy if Erdoğan were to withdraw.
Note the fact no one trusts the Justice and Development Party (AKP); it is Erdoğan they trust and vote for. The order he established has now become the norm. It is also believed general stability will start to ebb if he withdraws from his party’s helm. The worry international storms will come knocking on our door and our economy will fall into hardship has only further consolidated the public’s edginess.
The perception began to spread an AKP without Erdoğan could not survive, and internal struggles would proliferate, leading to a sense all balance would be upset. People began to fear losing their jobs, their peace of mind and going back to the old days of coalition governments and partisanship.
All these perceptions have now altered views of Erdoğan. They boosted his ratings. That he solved problems hanging in the air one after the other as soon as he was back in office further strengthened his image as the “assurance of stability.”
These observations have nothing to do either with ideology or with political preferences. Ask yourselves, you must have encountered similar examples. Given the turmoil the opposition parties are mired in, were you not also unsettled by the uncertainty which could arise from Erdoğan’s withdrawal from politics, even if you had not voted for the AKP?
The media is proud of you
Every cabinet has its own “media star.” Some are met with applause for their successes, while others make it to newspaper headlines and television screens with their gaffes.
Interior Minister İdris Şahin is slowly but surely treading the path to media stardom.
His reaction to the footages of police officers beating a woman in the western province of İzmir was his final gem: “[Do you expect us to] hang the suspects in Konak? Are there no other incidents? Why do they not write about them?”
And so, the manner in which the media pursued the matter was rude (!) according to him. Way to go! I would have expected the minister to show a different reaction, say there was no place for such persons in the police force and side with the people.
Quite a disappointment, sir. You ought to have protected the woman who received the beating, not the police officer who beat her. You chose instead to take the easy path and accuse the media.
We, too, are proud of you.