The success bar of the Ak Party

The success bar of the Ak Party

In all of our current debates – let me name them: bribery-corruption, parallel state, lack of rule of law, intervention of the executive in the judiciary – we have started talking about the form instead of the content. Eventually, the “form” is reduced to “What percentage of the votes will the Justice and Development party (Ak Party) gain in the elections?”

Well then, let’s talk about this: What percentage of the votes should Ak Party get at the March 30 local elections so that it can be considered “successful”?

Ak Party had two local elections before. The first of them was exactly 10 years ago in 2004 and this party took 41.67 percent of the votes in provincial councils. The second local elections of the Ak Party were in 2009. It lost votes this time and took 38.39 percent of the votes for provincial councils.

As you can see, local elections are different from general elections. The voter votes for the mayor with a high level of awareness but casts the vote differently for provincial councils.

Let us remember the question above: At what percentage of the votes for provincial assemblies will Ak Party be considered successful?

Is it the vote percentage of 10 years ago that will make this party “successful,” or the percentage of five years ago? Or even higher, for example, over 42 percent?

Of course, it is also possible to come up with a figure based on general elections: There will definitely be some who would consider anything below 49 percent unsuccessful.

The recent events which have turned into a debate on the format with an empty content (but which has created an opinion in each voter) will definitely affect the votes of the ruling party. More precisely, the management style of this process will produce this effect.

And, this process management will become more important after March 30 because the topic of vote loss and vote gain will influence the presidential elections, the first round of which will be held June 30, and most importantly the decision of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to run for office or not.

Apparently, the prime minister thinks a vote percentage of over 40 percent in the local elections will facilitate his election in the first round. We can say this is an undeclared “bar of success.”

Can the 38.4 percent of votes in the middle of a major economic stagnation after the 2008 global economic crisis be compared with the 40 percent sought in the middle of today’s serious management crisis?

We will see…

In a country where people cannot count

When examples started piling up one after the other, it became inevitable to write about them.
- One person said a participation bank which knew that the foreign exchange rate would go up (and which has its contribution to the rise) has won 2 billion dollars. Look, how much money is needed to earn that amount of money because of the difference in foreign exchange rates? Even if leverage procedures were done, who would risk that much money? Let alone the bank’s equity capital, even the money of its clients will not be adequate for this, will it?

- Another one said this was a question of 100 billion dollars’ worth of corruption and bribery. Well, how many dollars is Turkey’s total national income? Can such a rate be corruption?

- Yet another one said they have money laundered 78 billion euros. Why doesn’t anybody say that the mentioned amount is equivalent to a source that would finance Turkey’s current account deficit maybe for 15 months and moreover an amount that comes from one source; and that this cannot be correct?
- It is being said that Turkey has lost 120 billion dollars with the Dec. 17 operation. In other words, we have lost one eighth of our national income in the past 20 days. Nobody has told them to stop being ridiculous.

İsmet Berkan is a columnist for daily Hürriyet in which this piece was published Jan 3. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.