The appalling CHP
Turkey is a country of freedoms and restrictions of freedoms. It all depends on the subject of the sentence. Praising the government is free. Praising the opposition might be problematic. Criticizing the government or daring to say a word against the president cannot be a reasonable act. However, attacking opposition parties, ridiculing the opposition leader or questioning the leadership quality of any opposition party chairperson is of course a bona fide act.
For example, instead of writing my article with the headline “The appalling CHP,” can I comfortably use “the appalling AKP” in a sentence? It requires more than courage to do so under the current political reality of Turkey.
In any case, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) has become an appalling political party. It has a chairperson who has been unable to become a leader after many years and many electoral defeats. It has elected bodies, who are so effective that it took the party more than two months since the June 24 parliamentary elections to finally decide to meet and review why the party bitterly lost in both the parliamentary and presidential elections. Worse, if the CHP’s administrative and political bodies were to meet to review the election results, was it not a tragicomedy that the CHP chair did not invite the presidential candidate, a former parliamentarian, and ask him to present a brief of why he failed?
The failed candidate, on the other hand, who believes he deserves to become the party leader because he scored far better in the presidential vote than the CHP’s parliamentary election vote share, has been in efforts to convene a party convention. Well, it is nothing but normal in politics to have a claim for important positions, be it party leadership or executive political posts.
Yet, if a candidate has not only lost a presidential election but has repeatedly lost electoral battles within the party before that, he should come up with a satisfactory explanation of why he had believed he could be a better leader. The failed presidential candidate, however, preferred to play it shy. Rather than announcing his candidacy for leadership, he preferred to hide behind delegates and say if he was asked to assume a duty, he would not stay away from the responsibility. Funny and indeed appalling.
The ruling party, however, had already convened at various levels as well as at its convention, discussed election results and made plans on how to participate in the upcoming March local polls. The junior coalition partner, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), had also made up its plans and had already started its campaign, appealing to the nation that all major cities of the country should go to the ruling coalition in order to maintain coherence in central and local governance.
Currently, the CHP has the İzmir municipality, which very much like Ankara’s Çankaya municipality, has become one of the last strongholds of the social democrats. Winning Ankara, Istanbul and some of the other top municipalities may trigger a political landslide at a time when the Turkish Lira has lost 68 percent against the dollar or the euro, particularly over the last two months since the beginning of this year.
However, rather than “will the CHP manage to win Ankara and Istanbul?” people are asking whether the social democratic party will manage to preserve Çankaya and İzmir in the upcoming polls. Let the CHP play the “game of the thrones” with inner party mavericks throwing dirt at each other, while despite all hardships, ordinary Turks are going mad and the economy is running wild and the show goes on at the palace.