Erdoğan threw a curveball at us all

Erdoğan threw a curveball at us all

I was about to die out of excitement yesterday! Thank god I am still alive; I survived.

I was waiting for months with curiosity to find out who would be the presidential candidate of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). When Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he might throw a curveball at us, my curiosity multiplied, because he is a person capable of doing what he says. 

And this nervous waiting for months ended yesterday morning at 11:48. In the morning, I had read in the papers that this historic moment would be covered live on television; I was prepared.

I had a pack of popcorn and to balance the damage of the popcorn’s salt and butter, a box of cranberry and black mulberry juice, a thermos full of coffee, and in order to balance the negative effects of the coffee, a bowl of home-made yogurt.

I was also supplied with a box of Kleenex because Bülent Arınç would definitely cry, and that would definitely make me cry!

In the case of a surprise AKP candidate be announced and I may not be able to stand the excitement it would create, that my blood pressure would go up and my heart would throb, I also placed a sublingual pill on the coffee table right next to me.

When such interesting events are televised, our family tradition is we all watch it together.

My brother, my sister, brother-in-law, daughter-in-law, sisters-in-law, all the children; we get together and watch the spectacle. Way, way back in time, we used to watch Mohammad Ali’s games together like this in front of the TV, but at those times, these brothers-in-law, daughters-in-law, sisters-in-law were not mine; they were my father’s.

When Mehmet Ali Şahin appeared at the live event of the television, excitement peaked.

Şahin said the AKP candidate was determined after consulting everybody, the pulse of the nation was held. At that moment, we were all so concentrated on the statement that we did not notice the son of my brother-in-law, Emre, knock down the juice box – something we noticed much later.

When Şahin, in his quivering and poignant voice, said the AKP deputies had agreed on the candidate unanimously, I should be frank with you, I had goosebumps all over my body. The goosebumps travelled all over me and ended at my eyes in two small teardrops.

Imagine, some 300 odd deputies, all of them, signed an empty paper and then “unanimously” nominated a name. But they did not know who he was until yesterday, at that hour, on which name they had unanimously agreed upon.

It was a magical moment, you know.

As minutes passed, our excitement levelled up also.

Who, we wondered, who would be the AKP’s candidate? 

It would not be Şahin, because if it were him, then he wouldn’t be the presenter. Can anyone present one’s own self?

We even started betting. There were some who gave one to four for Arınç but there were others who favored Ali Babacan. There were even some who bet on Hakan Fidan.

And surprise!

When Şahin said, “Our candidate is Recep Tayyip Erdoğan,” a deep silence fell on the room.
Bülent Arınç was crying, as always, and so was my brother-in-law who had put all of his money on Arınç!

For three to five minutes we were not able to pull ourselves together. I swallowed my sublingual pill.
The AKP had succeeded in nominating an ever unexpected candidate! How did they come up with that name, how did it come to their minds, I really don’t know.

Unifying candidate

After the names of the candidates were certain, I can say that people from my environment started focusing on Selahattin Demirtaş. I had noticed for a long time that people from many different segments were interested in Demirtaş. I should say that his performance on TV debates play a role in this interest.

I hear interesting ideas from those people who are not even aware of the Kurdish issue, to those who consider Demirtaş’s ideas “separatist.”

No doubt, this situation may not be adequate for Demirtaş to win the elections, but I have noticed Erdoğan’s nomination has oriented many people into a search for a person “against him.” During this search, Demirtaş gets people’s attention.

I am thinking, in this case, that maybe we can call Erdoğan a “unifying candidate.” Even for those who do not have the slightest bit of interest in Kurdish demands, Erdoğan has made them consider Demirtaş as an alternative.