What do the opposition parties say in their election manifestos?
One distinctive feature of the 2018 election is that the old ideological rigidities have been widely overcome. All parties are embracing economic populism, but thank God, they are not picking a fight over the headscarf or concepts such as Islamic reactionism (irtica) and secularism.
CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu played an important role in overcoming all those old debates.
Kılıçdaroğlu not only formed an alliance with the İYİ (Good) Party and Felicity Party (SP) but also helped them overcome the hurdles before them. Thus, he built up confidence.
SP leader Temel Karamollaoğlu, who is politically on the totally opposite side of Kılıçdaroğlu, said in an interview that “Kılıçdaroğlu has an honest and reasonable approach. He is probably the most exceptional CHP leader I have ever seen.”
The CHP’s presidential candidate, Muharrem İnce, delivers inclusive, not exclusive, speeches at his rallies.
The law factor
By joining the Nation Alliance and not the People’s Alliance, Karamollaoğlu prevented this election from turning into a stage for a sharp ideological polarization.
İYİ Party chair Meral Akşener is leading a newly formed political grouping. She manages to attract large crowds to her rallies. She is a resolute and combative woman leader.
I underline her gender because I find the role women have played in fusing the ideas of nationalism, modernism and democracy very important.
The fact that the aforementioned three leaders entered a comprehensive alliance that is not based on interest may lead to important developments in the field of law.
Their common denominator is law.
A new constitution
In its 2018 election declaration the CHP says “we will lead efforts to write a new constitution that is based on the principles of the separation of powers, social state and equal citizenship; a constitution that upholds universal human rights.”
In its election declaration, İYİ Party says “We will prepare a GOOD [İYİ] constitution that is principled and that is based on social consensus. We will return to the parliamentary democracy and we will establish a system that could be held accountable and that is based on a balanced separation of powers. We will rebuild the checks and balances system through an independent and impartial judicial system.”
For the SP, returning to the parliamentary system is not essential but it too wants a constitution that is based on the principle of the separation of powers.
İnce on June 20 said “our urgent mission is to build the rule of law,” and I want to underline his statement, because my readers know how important the concept of law is for me.
Writing a new constitution may not be possible but important steps may be taken towards the rule of law by amending the existing laws.
Where is the “Central Turkey?”
I would like to note my criticism. In the CHP’s 2015 manifesto there was a development model which the party described as the “Central Turkey” and was promoted by Kılıçdaroğlu as the “project of the century.” Back then, I welcomed the project and commented that “this is about creating a couple of Hong Kongs and Singapores out of Anatolia, a project that will help Turkey develop through creating value added,” (May 22, 2015).
Have you recently heard about this “Central Turkey?”
An updated version of this concept is in the CHP’s 2018 election and it is called the “Anatolian Development Belts and Central Turkey Program.” But party officials do not talk about it.
Why do they not raise the issue at least on TVs?
Is it because a couple of economists wrote this program but the party did not digest it?
The election seems to be a close call but surely the parliament that will emerge after the poll will be a more effective parliament.