Door to door politics
The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) received instruction from its big boss, the de facto absolute ruler Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: Go city by city, village by village, neighborhood by neighborhood and leave no door un-knocked to explain the virtues and benefits of the presidential system as well as the “Peace and Brotherhood Project.”
The orders came from the big boss and what can AKP members do other than to heed the call? Just until last weekend it was taboo for AKP deputies and executives to talk on the Kurdish opening or the talks between life imprisoned, separatist chieftain Abdullah Öcalan and the Turkish government on a compromise to silence the guns, disperse the gang and in the meantime solve some woes of the ethnic Kurdish people of the country. “You should not talk,” the big boss was ordering everyone with fire coming out of his ever angry eyes.
Now things have changed. As it did in the first two attempted Kurdish openings of the government the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) gang attempted to torpedo the process by leaking contents of the discussions between the chieftain and a group of Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), political extension of the gang. The minutes of the government-arranged meeting, presumed to be kept secret, were leaked to the media, triggering the latest offensive of the otherwise anyhow angry premier against the Turkish media. He needed to teach these independence and press freedom minded Turkish journalists. After 10 years of domestication some of them unfortunately still thinking that they could write something considered taboo by the big boss.
The Turkish public needed to be cultivated anyhow to buy a deal made with the separatist chieftain and his gang, but the leakage of the minutes provided uncontrolled information and thus, the Turkish public was prematurely informed of one key element of the prospective deal: Including the chieftain all terrorists will be as free as birds once the deal is made.
The Turkish public would not buy a deal if they are told without being sufficiently sold on what the package would indeed include. However, a deal or the process as if a deal would be made with the Kurds was of existential importance for the ultimate aim of the big boss: To become the first-ever publicly elected president of a Turkey ruled by presidential system of governance. That is, in the absence of the nationalist and secularist support in Parliament, the de facto ultimate ruler needed the backing of the political extension of the gang so that it could muster a 3/5 majority or 330 or over vote strength required in the 550-member legislature to legislate a constitutional amendment through referendum. AKP has only 325 vote strength, and even that is not for sure as in a secret vote some deputies might vote against presidential governance. Thus, until this weekend all preparations will be completed and within a program starting from Sunday with its deputies, provincial executives and paid pollsters AKP will be knocking doors throughout the country to explain the existential importance of both the Kurdish opening and the presidential governance.
Going and demanding support of people is perhaps the most problematic aspect of democratic governance. Even to become officially the absolute ruler of the country, there is need to deceive, pardon, to go door to door and explain the issue to the people.
The AKP is so lucky to have an opposition that cannot distinguish between the Scottish bagpipe and the bagpipe of Black Sea… Turkey’s problem remains to be absence of credible opposition.