Celal Baslangic

Celal Baslangic

The people of Turkey will have their say on May 14

The government has shown the public that their claims of being a “strong state” are not more than empty words. The citizens bitterly disappointed by their state following the earthquake will cause Erdogan to lose the May 14 election.

For the first time since the February 6 earthquakes, Erdogan emphatically announced that the elections would be held on May 14.

One must accept that the answer to the question, “Will the Justice and Development Party (AKP) postpone the elections by at least a year?” is, for now, a definitive “no.”

Prior to the earthquake, Erdogan had announced that the June 18 elections would be brought forward by approximately a month and held on May 14.

Erdogan had even declared AKP’s motto for the May 14 elections to be the slogan, “Enough! Let the people have a say!” which had brought the Democrat Party (DP) to power 73 years ago.

Ironically, this slogan had been created for the 1950 election by the Democrat Party against the one-party rule of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) which had been in power for 23 years.

The AKP, which has chosen this slogan for itself in the 2023 elections, has continuously held power for 21 years, with the last five of those years having passed under the one-man regime known as the “Presidential Government System” – whatever that means.

This slogan of the 1950’s Democrat Party undoubtedly sounded better coming from the Nation Alliance which promised an end to the one-man regime by shifting to a “strengthened parliamentary system.” Today’s Democrat Party, which declares itself to be a continuation of the DP of the 1950s, was also a member party of the Nation Alliance.

For these reasons, when it was realized that the “Enough! Let the people have a say” slogan used by the DP in the May 14, 1950 elections that ended the single-party era was being closely linked to the Nation Alliance, Erdogan quickly protested, saying, “They are stealing the slogan of Menderes whom they executed!”

In other words, for those who understood the situation, it was entirely a matter of “land owner, property owner, but where is the original owner?”


The February 6 earthquake happened 97 days before May 14, decided by the AKP itself as the date of the election.

The AKP regime of 21 years has failed, in every sense of the word, in protecting and saving the lives of its citizens and ensuring their longevity.

We have clearly seen that institutions that should be saving lives after natural disasters such as earthquakes have been entirely weakened or turned into holdings.

When one considers that there are still citizens without tents in the over 20 days since the February 6 earthquake, the true nature of “a world leader’s strong state” is laid bare for the whole to see as nothing but empty words.

The municipalities, civil society organizations, and even individual citizens that the AKP government considered enemies or dissidents reached the earthquake region and the people under the rubble much earlier than the government.

The Red Crescent which should immediately have distributed tents and established sheltering conditions for people left homeless has apparently begun selling tents. It has been giving its stock of canned goods to companies and organizations which it can bill instead of handing them out to people waiting for food.

The people who belittled the AKP regime for being a “tent state” have seen that there was no “tent state,” because there were no tents to speak of.*

Even the people mocking the AKP regime, which shut down actual civil society organizations and presented religious foundations or affiliate structures as “civil society,” by calling it a “banana republic” have seen that they were mistaken.

It is not even a “banana republic” akin to Latin America, for what is left of this regime is nothing more than a Middle Eastern “date republic.”

Having turned into a massive empire in its own right with the funds allocated to it by the state, the Religious Affairs Ministry was unable to find even a single shroud to cover the dead in most of the residential areas in the disaster area despite the size of its budget.

People buried their dead in blankets — if they could find one. If not, they buried them in the bags used to store dry food for their pets.

The people left under the rubble, the people waiting for their loved ones to be saved, the people unable to find a plate of food, a bite of bread, a tent to seek refuge in, or a heater to ward off the biting cold rightfully asked, “where is this state?”

At first, everyone assumed that “there is no state” in the earthquake area. Yet there was a state, with all its accompanying tyranny; there was the AKP state, incapable of rescuing its own citizens from the wreckage, incapable of extending a helping hand to the people left hungry and in the open, using all its might to prevent people who wanted to provide a bowl of soup and a tent to the hungry and homeless or who wanted to pull people out of the rubble.

Of course, one of the biggest criticisms was that soldiers were dispatched to assist in search and recovery efforts days after the quake. The first 48 hours of this process which was of vital importance for those under the rubble turned into “a time to die.”

Perhaps even more bitter is former Chief of Staff and current Defense Minister Hulusi Akar’s answer to the question, “Why was the military late?”:

“It’s not enough to preach from where you sit. Who will protect the border? Who will remain in Syria? Should we have withdrawn from Syria, or should we have withdrawn from Iraq?”

“Who will protect the border” asks Akar as he talks of a border that is essentially a highway for jihadists and through which millions of refugees pass without any record whatsoever.

And then there is the question of “Who will remain in Syria?” which makes one’s blood run cold.

Why are you in Syria?

To fight the Kurds, to prevent them from gaining status, to support jihadist gangs…

“Should we have emptied Iraq?” asks Akar.

What business do you have in Iraq?

The answer to this question too is “fighting the Kurds.”

This is the pitiful state of affairs to which we have come due to the Kurd-phobia and the Kurd-fighting lust of a structure that is incapable of even being a “tent state” and which has turned into a “date republic.”


All objective data before the earthquake pointed to Erdogan losing the election this year.

The February 6 earthquake truly caught Erdogan at an inopportune moment politically. Now, he is confronted by a situation which he cannot easily turn into a “blessing from God” and which is working to his disadvantage each passing day.

On the one hand, the threats and wagging fingers Devlet Bahceli, Erdogan’s Palace guard, directs at the people most hard hit by the earthquake are caused by the nervous breakdown that comes from the knowledge that the elections they were to lose due to the economic crisis are to be lost because they abandoned the public to its fate in the earthquake.

The post-earthquake polls have slowly begun to release their findings.

The People’s Alliance, with its AKP and its MHP, have lost a significant number of votes.

Erdogan will make a last-ditch attempt to trick the electorate to continue his regime and to regain the public’s goodwill through the buildings for which he has already laid foundations, but this is a futile effort.

Objective data shows that the People’s Alliance of the AKP and MHP will lose in a landslide in a fair election.

As of today, there are less than 75 days until the May 14 elections.

In a few days when the Nation Alliance announces its candidate, it will be possible to make clearer predictions regarding the election.

However, recognizing that Erdogan has already lost even before knowing who the opposition candidate will be is noteworthy in terms of making sense of the extent of the anxiety experienced in the Palace.

Evidently, the 75 days leading up to the election passing by without any major obstacles for the opposition will be sufficient for a legitimate transfer of power.

But this is intrinsically connected to the ability of the deeply wounded regime to stomach the oncoming change.

Else, Turkey might lose all hope for its immediate future in a bloody and dark tunnel.

Regardless, let us assume that a legitimate election will be held on May 14 and do all that we can to ensure that the ruling government does not trample on our laws and employ unlawful means.

In yesterday’s meeting, Erdogan said, “This nation will do what is necessary on May 14.”

Yes, they will, because 75 days later…

“ENOUGH! The people whose dead were buried without shrouds and whose survivors have no tents WILL HAVE A SAY!”

* In reference to Erdogan’s statements in 2017 that Turkey is “not a tent state,” or a state that is weak or underdeveloped.

*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 Arti TV and Arti Gercek.

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