Turkey’s election frenzy

There are less than two weeks left until Turkeyand’s June 7 parliamentary election.
There is little doubt that this election campaign will go down in Turkish republican history as one of the most unfair and polarized campaigns. Although unconstitutional, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is campaigning on a daily basis with ever more intensity and polarizing language. His unconstitutional campaign is beyond all sorts of established norms we have been accustomed to. He has no qualms about waving the Quran at rallies that are dubbed and”opening ceremonies.and” He is openly engaged in the most blatant discrimination, repeating to the electorate that Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP)hairman Kemal Kiliandcdaroilu is an Alevi. He brands Peoplesand’ Democratic Party (HDP) supporters as Zoroastrians and makes sure that Turkeyand’s Sunni Muslims are reminded that he himself is a Sunni Muslim. I cannot think of a more offensive and unethical way of breaching our established norms of leaving religion out of politics. This was after all a secular republic. Quite apart from the norms of a secular order, this is outright discrimination and simply unacceptable. It is divisive and insidious.
As more and more public opinion polls indicate that the HDP could pass the 10 percent threshold, Erdoganand’s pernicious language is raised yet another decibel. The country is in a full frenzy, with such denigration damaging social peace more and more in our society. The whole campaign has turned into an unseen and unheard of theatrical performance exploiting ordinary citizensand’ most primordial characteristics, such as religion and ethnicity. The conscious erosion of our norms, tradition and overall understanding as to what is acceptable in an election campaign has been devastating.
Of course, the greatest irony is that Turkeyand’s conservatives, who had been complaining for decades that they were looked down upon by the and”Old Turkey,and” are now exercising the same methods of defamation of which they were complaining. More than half of our society is now on the receiving end of this defamation. What is the difference between the old and new Turkey? The difference is merely the identity of who is defamed, who is denigrated and who is maltreated. But all of the wrongdoing still continues, with the victims and perpetrators having changed roles.
Those who think that Turkeyand’s troubles will be resolved on June 7 are mistaken. Turkeyand’s troubles are likely to continue. We either will be able to win some time to correct an anomaly that has taken Turkey hostage or we will enter a period of even more intense confrontation. Nevertheless, the difference between these two scenarios is very considerable. Hence, the electorateand’s wisdom is necessary for Turkey to make an appropriate correction through democratic means. This is a key opportunity. Until 2019, there are no more elections and the election campaign has shown what might be in store for the country if Erdogan gets his way.
Let us hope that the election will be clean and that the will of the Turkish people will be reflected in the outcome. Let us hope that the electorateand’s wisdom will prevail in allowing Turkey to correct the excesses of recent years through the ballot box. Let us hope that the June 7 election will provide the country with an exit strategy out of the commotion and unrest it has found itself in since 2013.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman