Ali Duran Topuz
Alexander, the Shah, the Sultan, and an Erdogan to boot.
The lock and key alliance of the election, the Labor and Freedom Alliance, formed by parties that have met around the axis of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) have said hello to the public square.
However, the main stage of the election on the horizon has thus far been meeting tables rather than public squares. There is, of course, the Table of Six, but besides that are the three tables set up by the current administration: the police table, the military table, the judiciary table. I said three, but there are actually four. The table of lies, including the troll table at which systematic, professional lies are produced, should not be discounted. There’s a fifth table also: the economy table, but that table has no visible owner. It is responsible for the management of the expansion and deepening of poverty.
THE TROIKA OLIGARCHY
Suleyman Soylu (and Devlet Bahceli) manage the police table. Hulusi Akar (and Devlet Bahceli) manage the military table. Suleyman Soylu (and Devlet Bahceli) manage the judiciary table. Erdogan manages nothing, he is simply trying to ensure that the troika remains in power for another period out of respect for everything he has done from 2002 to 2015; it will thus be possible to visit the museum established in his name for another five years. The troika is formed by Bahceli, Soylu, and Akar. The likes of Bozdag and Nebati have no position other than supplying the need for extras in the scripts written by the troika. They do not even have a shot at a museum.
The police, military, and judiciary tables are busy with one thing only: how can we ensure that the alliance formed by the HDP and its companions is incapacitated in this election? What should we do and how should we do it to ensure that the playing field is left to us? How can we expand poverty to enrich ourselves? They care for nothing else.
HDP’S ELECTORATE, HDP’S OWNER
The jailing and arrests targeting the HDP since 2016 aim to do two things: First of all, to render the experienced personnel of the party incapacitated, and secondly, to reduce the efficiency of the party and the results it brings (or, at least to push them under the election threshold) by preventing new generations from benefiting from the experienced cadres. The police table, the military table, and the judiciary table struggled in vain for this, but the only result was that the decision-making partner of their operations, the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), fell below the threshold.
What they neglected to account for is clear: the HDP electorate. Put simply, the HDP is not a party separate from its electorate. The electorate does not just vote for the HDP, they also see themselves as the founder and protector of the party. This was the case when they received no treasury aid, as well as when they did receive aid, and is the case now when their treasury aid has been stolen (pardon me, I meant “blocked”). About them, is the poem:
Drained I have been for thousands of years,
My delicate, daybreak sleep
Crushed by their terrifying cavalcade,
Sovereigns, assailants, bandits,
Set upon me to extort me.
I cared not for Alexanders,
Nor for the Shah or the Sultan
All have faded out, without a shadow!
I sent a greeting to my friend
And have withstood
Do you see?*
That mass presented itself to the public. Its experienced, impactful cadres imprisoned, its party’s treasury aid blocked, having little left with which to hold onto hope, they should not have been in the public square. Despite the odds, they were. Criticisms of the party from the electorate, which had made the current administration happy, were nothing more than constructive criticism to push themselves to do better.
The Labor and Freedom Alliance led by the HDP displayed this loud and clear in the campaign rally held in Kartal, Istanbul. Yesterday, the electorate exclaimed, “we are both the lock and the key.” The HDP's announcement in the past few weeks that it would nominate a presidential candidate had drawn the ire of those who wished for the victory of the Table of Six: “Is this to be done? Why would anyone nominate a candidate and play into Erdogan's hands?” The Kartal rally, however, did not display the slightest sign of playing into Erdogan's hands. In fact, this phobia, the fear that the "Kurds" are acting to get Erdogan re-elected, is nothing more than a rotten piece of gum that had already been chewed before the June 7, 2015 elections.
ONE BABACAN DOES NOT MAKE A SUMMER!
We can turn now to the Table of Six. They want to defeat Erdogan and come to power, and they are seeking the votes of the Kurds and their companions in this endeavor. This is not a goal that can be hidden anyway, but there is a peculiarity in this: the Table wants to garner these votes without meeting with the HDP, and in fact, without making a single mention of HDP’s name. We saw this scene the moment the court case began: the Table qualified the case as “political,” but took care not to engage in any joint political discourse or action with the HDP opposing the case. The Table exhibited the same attitude at the blocking of the treasury aid as well. They continued to lie prone even after the HDP declared that it would nominate a candidate.
Evidently, before declaring who their own candidate will be, the Table of Six has no intention of making comments regarding how the police, military, and judicial tables have seen fit to deal with the HDP and its companions. Except for Ali Babacan's Democracy and Progress (DEVA) Party, that is. What about after the nomination is announced? Can one Babacan make a summer — sorry, an electoral victory? Here, the Kartal rally revealed that such a summer will not come.
The Table of Six will be faced with a critical decision once they decide on their candidate: they will either make a clear statement on what their proposed administration will do after the election regarding the Kurdish issue, or it will acquiesce to the politics of the troika oligarchy.
As such, the Kartal rally was a meeting that led not to questions around what the HDP and its companions will or will not do, but what the Table of Six will or will not do: They will either accept another defeat by admitting that Erdogan and his troika are hiding under or over the Table, or they will be able to gather the Kurdish votes they need to win the election by turning to a difficult politics of “equal citizenship.” That is, they will get to decide who “fades out, without a shadow.” The possibility remains that we say, “what a table it was.” Or else, everything will be as it has been thus far until the next election.
* This is an excerpt from the acclaimed Kurdish poet Ahmed Arif’s poem “Anatolia.”