‘All of them steal. So, let them steal, too!’
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the leading figures of the ruling AKP show the “ballot box” as the location where they can be acquitted of the corruption allegations. If they can get a certain percentage of the votes, they will conclude that the voters are not convinced about the allegations, so, they’re acquitted.
I said “certain percentage,” because different figures have been given. Some say 38 percent, some others say 40. I’m carrying out my own research. Of course, it’s not a scientific study, but I’m asking my friends and my acquaintances who voted for AKP in the past: “Will you still vote for AKP in spite of these corruption allegations?”
I can’t get a definitive “Yes” answer from those who have a relatively higher educational level and income. It is clear that they’ll change their votes, but they are confused about whom they should vote for this time.
Those who have a relatively lower educational level and income, on the other hand, say that they will vote for AKP again. When I ask the reason, they all say without exception: “All of them steal!” or “The others were also stealing.”
Although they have no doubts about the accuracy of the corruption charges, their voting preferences have not changed. It wouldn’t be possible to think the other way, as the money inside shoeboxes is still there and new wiretapped phone calls keep coming.
This small-scale study reveals one fact: To a great extent, it wouldn’t mean an acquittal for the government even if the voters keep choosing AKP. The perspective of “All of them steal” doesn’t acquit the current government, but it refers to a belief that the politics in general is dirty.
The masses that were impressed by the word AK (White) during the eras of establishment and rise see that this party is also getting dirty now. The reason that their voting preference doesn’t change is because they cannot see an option among today’s political actors who can excite and give hope.
We can argue that one day they may quickly change their voting preference when they confront a new political movement that promises better education, better health, better and cleaner public administration and a better economy, while creating a belief that these promises can be realized.
Apparently, the process that started with the Dec. 17 corruption investigation has marked the beginning of an era of decline for AKP. From now on, it’s all about the time and the ability of politics to produce new options.
He committed another hate crime
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told the following words during a recent television program on his new enemy, “the parallel structure” inside the state: “They have three important characteristics. They make takıyye (deception for religious purposes), they lie and they slander. As a result, they devise sedition and plots. Even Shiites cannot compete with them.”
We’re no strangers to Prime Minister’s speeches that insult ethnic and some religious groups. We had even seen him making the crowd at his election rallies boo main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu for his sect. As such, his latest defamation on the Shia belief is not news.
The “news” is in the fact that Erdoğan could utter these words less than 10 days after “the hate speech” clauses become law inside “the democracy package” announced by the government.
I waited until today to write this article with an expectation that Erdoğan could make a clarification, perhaps admitting that he was misunderstood or his words went beyond his aim. As he didn’t release such a statement, it’s clear that he said these words intentionally.