Are we heading towards a bloody election again?
“It’s me, Kemal. I’m coming. So take your ISIS and be off with you!”
That line actually belongs to Natuk Baytan’s 1976 movie “Grudge.”
Police Officer Kemal, portrayed by Cuneyt Arkin, calls his adversaries one by one and delivers that chilling message over the phone:
“It’s me, Kemal. I’m coming.”
At yesterday’s party group meeting, Republican People’s Party (CHP) Chair Kemal Kilicdaroglu was virtually posturing as Officer Kemal:
“Our treatment of the shameless and the thief is clear; we’ll do what must be done and take back [what is rightfully] the government’s property.
The day after the election, their phones will ring and ring terribly, and when they pick up, they will hear a voice on the other end:
It’s me, Kemal, I’m coming.”
Let’s face it, Kilicdaroglu’s words yesterday drew the attention of the political magazines and put a smile on people’s faces.
But there is a political truth implicit in this statement. “It’s me, Kemal. I’m coming” also means “Tayyip is going.”
Now, it’s crucial to focus on this point.
Because after the June 7, 2015 elections when the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) passed the electoral threshold for the first time, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) lost its opportunity for single-party rule, and it seemed as if Erdogan would have to go.
And right at that point, ISIS made its appearance on the stage. The bloodiest massacres in the history of the republic took place on July 20 at Suruc and October 10 in Ankara.
In the end, the AKP emerged victorious in the early election of November 1, 2015, which was held in a climate of fear manufactured from a period characterized by bloodbaths, and once more took power in a single-party rule.
When Erdogan lost, ISIS had appeared on the stage and had procured Erdogan’s victory once more with the bloody and dark atmosphere it created.
In terms of their possible consequences, the time leading up to the 2023 elections are being likened to the days between the June 7 and November 1 elections, when violence reigned supreme and when people were anxious that the country would be drowned in another bloodbath.
Under the shadow of a political suicide, the elections that were slated to take place on June 18 were pulled forward by a month to be held on May 14 instead with the decision of governing allies Erdogan and Bahceli.
Yet, to date, there has been no clear understanding of why the elections are to occur a month earlier. The explanations offered by government spokespeople are also far from being convincing.
There is a reality that we see clear as day during this time; all objective data show that Erdogan is losing the presidential election to a degree that cannot simply be brushed off.
One does not need to pore over detailed polls to see this truth. Even a simple comparison is enough to show why Erdogan has already lost.
Erdogan had won the first presidential term of the Presidential Government System with 52.5 percent of the votes. That is, Erdogan surpassed the 50+1 threshold with, all in all, 2.5 percent.
In June 2018 when he was elected, inflation was under 20 percent whereas the dollar and euro were at the rate of four or five liras.
In the less than five years since, with the base effect, and even with the data from the Turkish Statistical Institute, inflation rates have reached 70 percent.
The dollar and euro, which were at four to five liras, are now at 20 lira, and even surpassing that.
There is no need to list the rest; this data, which evidences a significant economic collapse, will have lost Erdogan much more than a 2.5 percent share of the votes.
Research results are already confirming this finding. No research company, whether it be pro or anti-government, shows Erdogan polling above 50+1 percent.
It is impossible to find any reputable election poll with all election factors considered show an Erdogan or People’s Alliance victory taking more than 50 percent of the votes.
From this point of view, and according to all objective indicators that are available to us today, it is certain that Erdogan and the People’s Alliance have lost this election.
Yet no one should allow this assessment to mislead them. Yes, Erdogan may have lost the election, but that does not mean the opposition has won it.
Erdogan supporters are still waiting with bated breath for the “boss to pull a rabbit out of the hat.”
But lest we forget, neither hat nor rabbit remain today.
As in the 2015 elections, the possibility of creating a bloody process or of holding the election in a bloodbath by starting a war that ignites nationalist sentiments is gradually weaking. However, that possibility still stands as Erdogan’s exit strategy.
If there is one thing on which everyone agrees, it is that Erdogan will do everything in order to not lose the election and fall from power.
But it is also indisputable that the peoples of Turkey have no intention of falling for the same tricks once more.
However, the developments taking place these days are inevitably making people ask the question, “Are we heading towards a bloody election again?”
For days, the embassies of many countries, from the Unites States to the UK, from Germany to France, have been warning their citizens to be cautious, and even boarding up the doors to their Istanbul consulates.
Especially after the racist politician Rasmus Paludan burned the Quran in Sweden and Denmark, a potential attack by jihadist terrorists in Turkey looking for revenge is cited as justification for these warnings. The embassies are even giving addresses:
“… warn citizens of possible retaliatory attacks by terrorists against churches, synagogues, and diplomatic missions in Istanbul or other places frequented by Westerners, particularly the Beyoglu, Galata, Taksim, and Istiklal areas.”
These warnings cause great tension, not only among the Westerners in the country, but naturally among the citizens of the Republic of Turkey.
Foreign missions are warning their own citizens, but the AKP government does not warn, or even bother to inform, the citizens of this country.
This ambiguous and unknown situation created by the rulers of the country is causing millions of people to worry that "something is going to happen, but we are not aware of it.”
Perhaps the piece by Seyhan Avsar, which was published on the website halktv.com.tr yesterday, may help elucidate this dynamism and uneasiness.
Armenian Foundations Union (ERVAP) and Surp Pirgic Armenian Hospital Foundation President Bedros Sirinoglu stated that three ISIS members entered Turkey; and that an attack against spiritual and civilian leaders would be undertaken. Sirinoglu, whose number of bodyguards appointed by the police was increased the previous day, warned Armenian community leaders and asked them to suspend all their activities for two or three months.
According to Seyhan Avsar’s news, Sirinoglu sent a message to a social media group including the heads of the Armenian community, informing them about the danger:
“I don't want to upset you, but I have to convey the things I have heard to you. Three DAESH militants with military training entered the country. Their aim is an assassination attempt on spiritual and civilian leaders that will cause a lot of attention. For this reason, we need to pay attention to collective cultural demonstrations and schools. Let's take as much precaution as possible. It would be beneficial for us to take a break from activities that concern the congregations for up to two or three months. I am canceling our meeting on February 6th for this reason. During this time, I recommend that you do not carry out any foundation activities until the relevant people are caught.”
This is the situation we have come to, 15 Sundays before the 14 May 2023 elections. It seems that a very long 100 days are ahead of us.
As the election approaches, the dark clouds hovering over the country increase. Because the Palace and its supporters have no tolerance for losing the election.
This is why it is not enough to simply say "I'm coming" to this government, it is also necessary to hand them a list of all those who need to go:
“It’s me, Kemal. I'm coming. So take your gangs, your thieves, your bribers, your people with tenders, and your ISIS, and be off with you.”
*Celal Baslangic: He was born in 1956 in Istanbul. He began a career in journalism at Ekspres in 1975. He graduated from Ege University, School of Journalism and Public Relations in 1978. He worked as a reporter, intelligence chief, regional representative, policy service chief, and editor-in-chief at the newspapers Demokrat İzmir and Politics and Cumhuriyet. In 1995, he was appointed as the Founding Editor-in-Chief of Evrensel Newspaper. He conducted the "Time, Space and Human" interviews at Radikal for more than 10 years. He became the Founding Editor-in-Chief of Beyoglu Newspaper in 2002. In 2011, he was a Member of the Founding Broadcasting Board of IMC TV. He worked as a columnist for T24, Haberdar, and Gazete Duvar news sites. In 2017, he was the Founding Editor-in-Chief of Ariı TV and Arti Gercek.