Far from democratic politics

Far from democratic politics

In Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s “vision statement” for the upcoming presidential elections, he writes: “We should adopt democracy, not as a political model, but as a culture dominating every field of our lives.”

In the same statement, there is also the target of “setting an example of a state model to the world.”

Indeed, the first indicator of democracy is free elections; in other words, individuals or parties should be able to participate in the elections, they should be able to express themselves freely and have easy access to communication channels.

However, the presidential election process does not at all fit into this picture.

At least, in contrast with Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu’s elaborate language, Erdoğan, from day one, has been disrespectful in the language he has used towards his two opponents. 

He goes from one town meeting to another town square using names and adjectives to describe and discredit his opponents, calling them: “sold, beginner, racist, thankless, liar, newly marketed presidential candidates, pot, vase, imported and mon cher.”

Knowing the adjectives he used for the two party leaders, you could say this is “just ordinary,” but one should not think like that; this is a presidential election, after all.

Erdoğan, since the beginning, gave an image where he could not stomach the fact that he had opponents and that this was a necessity of democratic politics.

The image he has created is just the opposite of what he said in Diyarbakır the other day: “We are building a Turkey where politics and ideas speak, not arms.”

In every country where “democratic politics” exists, candidates have public debates defending their ideas; however, Erdoğan is totally closed to that option while he is very happy to appear on screens with journalists who make life easy for him.

This is in addition to all of the television channels broadcasting all of his speeches…

Look, both İhsanoğlu and Selahattin Demirtaş have continuously said that they were open to the pro-government media; somehow, none of them have knocked at their door up until now.

Let alone knocking at their door, just as Erdoğan is doing at town rallies, they are also putting words into İhsanoğlu’s and Demirtaş’s mouths.

Frankly, it would be naive to expect anything different from a “journalism” perspective that does not consider the collapse of the ski ramps at Erzurum and did not ever mention it. Actually, journalism is easy over there; they do not have financial issues. They would phone the general manager of a public bank and as if it were their father’s case, say, “Süleyman, send me 2 million from there,” that’s all there is to it.

Well, is this suitable for “democratic politics” from the point of “financing”?

While Erdoğan has limitless public means, while an army of transportation and communication is at his service, his opponents are in blood, sweat and tears. This stems from the non-impartial stance of the public agencies and mostly from the “fear” that has dominated the business world rather than the incapacity of the opponents.

Also, it should be known that all kinds of promotional activities of both opposing candidates meet a police obstruction one way or the other.

Briefly, if this is “democratic politics,” the world would not buy it.