What Turkish society needs most of all today is to be able to look to the future with hope and confidence: the conditions of our country in the past ten years have produced more despair than anything else.
Nevertheless, there is still a chance to be optimistic about the future to some extent. What I have in mind when I say this is the possible “auspicious” results of the double elections three weeks from now.
If the opposition alliance known as the “Table of Six” wins both the presidential and parliamentary elections, even if we cannot be guaranteed a bright future, we may still have a chance to get out of the “state of collapse” we currently find ourselves in.
But we should not overestimate this chance. Because when I say “chance,” I am referring to a “negative success” rather than a positive one. In other words, it is not necessary for a possible “Table of Six” government to do a lot in a positive sense, as long as we are able to defeat the current evil.
Although pre-AKP Turkey did not have a brilliant record of freedom, rule of law, or democracy, it did have a well-established modern state mechanism: a functioning bureaucracy and legal system, despite their flaws.
Therefore, if the “old order” can be restored with some improvements, even this would be a significant gain compared to the current situation.
The reason why I have kept my expectations modest in this regard is, of course, not that I do not want Turkey’s socio-political system to undergo a radical change for the better, but that I am aware of the fact that we do not currently have a political team in our country with the will and competence to aspire to such an ambitious task.
Therefore it is unrealistic to expect that—even if it gains control of both the executive and the legislature—the opposition alliance will bring about radical changes within the “Turkish order”.
Because if we ignore for a moment that the ideology behind this order is “sacred”, the Six Party Table has not promised a transformative program.
It is worth emphasizing once more: the ideological identities of the CHP and the Iyi Parti, which are the driving forces of this alliance, categorically exclude the possibility of a fundamental transformation of Turkey’s established order.
However much Kılıçdaroğlu (the leader of the CHP and the presidential candidate of the opposition alliance) is conducting a sincere campaign, there are limits to what he can do. Even if he may want to, Mr Kılıçdaroğlu cannot be expected to risk going completely against the political tradition he represents, especially in a situation where his senior partner (IYIP) is trying to steal the role of “Atatürkism” from him. In short, we should not expect too much from a possible “Table of Six” government. We may be disappointed.
What is on the horizon for Turkey on the threshold of general elections is, I repeat, only a “chance”—one which may or may not materialize.
If it does not materialize, our work as a society will be much more difficult. Pessimism will become more widespread, and it will gradually turn into a nightmare. Of course this is not desirable, so those who are waiting for this chance to materialize should take the elections very seriously.
This election is a fateful choice not only for Tayyip Erdoğan and his team, but also for the masses who have pinned their hopes on the possibility of a “bright” Turkey: that is, a free, democratic, just, and prosperous country.
Yes, perhaps more than ever, Turkey needs hope today.
This article was originally published in Turkish by Diyalog and translated by the Free Turkish Press.
The views and opinions expressed above are the author’s and do not represent those of the Free Turkish Press.