EKREM DUMANLI

Is it ill-advised to wait until very late in the evening before penning an article? No. Getting more or less final results is of course a big advantage for columnists to make more learned estimates about government alternatives. Unfortunately, if we make predictions about the country's political future solely based on election results in Turkey, we may fail to notice social formations and developments. This is because, in this case, we fail to see the bigger picture. If the election is reduced to a form of settling accounts which should normally be done within the course of history, we may fail to see social developments.

To make a proper assessment of the pre- and post-election developments, we need to take into consideration the political fluctuations of the last 13 years and verify if the election results overlap with the realities in the country. Furthermore, a sound analysis will also entail the evaluation of the effects of global developments on domestic politics as well...

The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) formed a government first in 2002, and it has been going through great changes and shifts in this original political stance particularly since the referendum held in 2010. When it was first established, the AK Party was a dynamic political formation that championed democratic reforms for promoting the country's European Union bid and sought to uphold fundamental rights and freedoms without discriminating among social groups. Since the referendum in question, it has made a U-turn. It has started to place greater emphasis on the state vis-a-vis individuals, consecrating the state; it has become a Leviathan that crushes people. The struggle against the military tutelage was terminated as the AK Party started to collaborate with the “deep structure” which was responsible for numerous unsolved murders in the recent past. There is no need to cite examples. The AK Party of 2002 went away, and the AKP that sought to use the AK Party's heritage as a front emerged. This is the situation...

The whole of society is uneasy. Rightists, leftists, Alevis, Sunnis, Kurds, Turks, businessmen, etc., everyone is concerned about the arrogant, power-intoxicated state. “Reasonable suspicion” knocks on everyone's doors and everyone is vulnerable to threats to the right of property with unlawful practices such as “confiscation.” A brief look at the number of recent cases of murders where assailants cannot be identified is enough to show us the state of personal safety in the country.

People have tried to bear with the arrogant pro-state mentality, but it does not work. All people have been profiled, denigrated and offended. Lies, slanders, aspersion, defamation and rebukes are everywhere...In addition to the arrogance with which they denigrate citizens, public officials have been found to indulge in luxuries and displays of wealth. Although it initially promised to sell luxury cars used by public officials, the AK Party ended up buying new luxury cars and trying to dismiss them as "peanuts." The pomp in the presidential palace triggered a wave of wastefulness which dominates the entire state apparatus. Spokespeople from the ruling party tried to persuade us that we should not ask for a rise in the minimum wage and at the same time, argued that that private planes should be allocated to ministers.

The AK Party was a political organization established by the afflicted people of shanty towns. They were from the people. Now, the AKP is characterized by palaces, yachts, private planes, fleets, etc.

In today's Turkey, where change and transformation are sharp and accompanied by unlawfulness and unfairness, we must acknowledge the following sociological fact: This country cannot be governed in this manner. Policies built upon injustice, discrimination and polarization are on the brink of total collapse. The Constitution has been sidelined; laws have been violated; people have been victimized; their hearts have been broken; society has been divided into camps. And all these gruesome practices have been undertaken with arrogant and ruthless attitudes. Unfortunately, the presidential office has lost its prestige as it has become the center of political polemics. Inter-party courtesy has been undermined. Tolerance among social groups has been destroyed...

Regardless of the election results, we must face the following fact: Turkey cannot be governed with tense, discriminatory, otherizing policies. Those who believe that their election victory justifies crushing innocent people and undermining their personal safety and confiscating their property will be doing harm not only to themselves, but also to the country. The only way out is to build a country with mutual respect and equality before laws and the Constitution. Those who seek to rule this country at will, according to the interests of their family or party will undermine social peace. It is both horrifying and scandalous to sever the country's ties with the democratic world and introduce a third-world Baathist regime to it. Whatever the results, there will be no turning back from democracy, human rights and the rule of law. Those who turn their backs on these values will be remembered as changeable as a weathercock.

The danger for Erdogan

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan started his political career in the party's local organizations and has assumed various positions such as in the municipality and prime ministry. Eventually, he became the president and his dream was fulfilled. There is no higher authority.

However, he wasn't content with the role set forth in the Constitution and decided to create a de facto situation. Currently, he is president, but acts like the prime minister and the chairman of the AK Party. Although he doesn't have any authority, he has cowed all powers into submission to him. Some people may accept this situation, but the Constitution and laws don't endow Erdogan with these powers and authorities. For this reason, all opposition parties resent this reckless attitude. They are certainly right. It is known that there are even AK Party members who raise objections to this situation. Never mind...

During the campaigning period, Erdogan held election rallies several times a day and made public appearances on TV. In this way, he crushed Ahmet Davuto?lu as prime minister and the head of the party. At the same time, he risked his position as well. He politicized the presidential office, which was supposed to be impartial. He ended up being at odds with all political party leaders and grassroots movements.

So, what will happen next?

Even if the AK Party is victorious at the polls, there is a huge mass of people who no longer feel obliged to remain courteous towards the president. Erdogan now sits at the epicenter of all the rage and hatred that has accumulated within many social groups. Therefore, his legitimacy is becoming increasingly controversial. His excessive meddling in the legislative, executive and judiciary and the media cannot be justified. If the AK Party's electoral support falls below 52 percent, people will start to question legitimacy of Erdogan. "You got 52 percent in the presidential election, but you opted to support the AK Party's election campaign and in the end, secured a lower vote, and therefore, you are now deprived of legitimacy," people will say. The opposition leaders already gave similar messages in their election rallies...

As a matter of fact, everyone should do his job and those who succumbed to power intoxication should refrain from wreaking havoc in the country. If the principle of separation of power is arbitrarily undermined and the media is silenced, those who do this will lose legitimacy.

For the country's normalization, everyone should return to his own business and abandon despotism. Otherwise, the country's peace will be disrupted and those who are responsible for it will suffer from it at the highest level. This is what has always happened in the past.–Today’s Zaman