Selahattin Demirtaş, former HDP (Peoples’ Democratic Party) co-chair who has been imprisoned since November 2016, says in his recent article on T24 that the Justice and Development Party (AKP) administration wants to blur the political atmosphere, and that certain circles in the opposition are also contributing to this policy.
As Damat Berat Pasha [damat = bridegroom, here referring to Berat Albayrak, former Minister for Finance and the Treasury and President Erdoğan’s son-in-law] said when he was leaving office, ‘the horse tracks have been confused with the dog tracks – or rather that is how they want it to appear. Who are ‘they’? The AKP-MHP [Justice and Development Party / Nationalist Movement Party] government, naturally. Certain ostensibly opposition circles are also making contributions, albeit small ones, to the blurring of the atmosphere. They want to create a murky atmosphere, as if Erdoğan and the government play no role at all in anything happening, in all these crises going on. For this reason it is helpful to emphasise certain individual points in order not to forget them.
One of the most critical factors that led to escalation of the civil war in Syria was the policies of the AKP government. Their main goal was to prevent the Kurds from gaining rights in Syria. For this, they trained and armed radical groups and attacked Syria. The civil war escalated, and it blew up in their face. Five million Syrians took refuge in Turkey. It was not the Syrians who are responsible for this, but Erdoğan and the AKP, so xenophobia and anti-refugee behaviour are meaningless. If you change the government, the refugee crisis will be resolved in the most humane manner possible. Instead of attacking and targeting refugees, prepare for the elections and change the government. There is no other way.
The main cause of poverty, unemployment, misery, and economic crisis is not the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war. The main cause is the one-man rule and Erdoğan. Turkey is not a poor country. The economy will recover in a short time, never fear. Prepare for the election, go out into the streets now, and change the government. There is no other way.
It is possible and easy to solve the Kurdish problem in peace by strengthening unity and solidarity. It is much easier than assumed to take the steps that will finally end the guns and violence and ensure peace. If a solution and peace have not yet been achieved, it is Erdoğan and the AKP/MHP coalition who are responsible for this. Cry out your demands for peace fearlessly everywhere. Do not remain silent, do not get carried along in the slipstream of the politics of war. Prepare for the election, and change the government. There is no other way.
The HDP may be closed down, thousands may be banned from politics, and thousands may be arrested. After the Gezi trial verdict* , more comprehensive Gezi investigations may be carried out, and new court cases may be initiated. Further restrictions may be imposed on the press and social media. You may encounter all kinds of pressure and fear-spreading tactics that you would never think of. Erdoğan and the AKP/MHP coalition are solely responsible for all of it. Never be afraid, do not take a step back, resist wholeheartedly, prepare for the election, and change the government. There is no other way.
The manipulation of economic indicators may be increased in line with inflation. In the run-up to the elections, money may be borrowed, gathered from all directions, and released into the market, creating a temporary atmosphere of springtime. The wages of employees, civil servants, pensions, and the minimum wage may be increased by more than 50 percent. If Erdoğan wins the election, he will claw all those wage-rises back in three months, through price rises and taxes, just as it is today. They have told great lies to you, and they will tell even greater lies. All of them are for the sake of the election; the only people responsible are Erdoğan and the AKP-MHP coalition. Never be fooled by the lies. Prepare for the election day and night. Trust yourselves, change the government. There is no other way.
Get ready for the big change. Do not exclude anyone. Strive for everyone to stand hand in hand, side by side. Our common denominator is the democratic republic; our common home is Turkey; our common state is the Republic of Turkey. It is Erdoğan and the AKP-MHP government who have damaged this the most, who have decimated and polarised society the most. Their only concern is a seat, an office, a position and an ostentatious life of luxury. Be united, meet around the principles of democracy. Leave aside the debate about who will be the candidate. Build up the giant team and the powerful programme that will bring the country to an even keel. And from now on, be millions of voices, be one heart, shout out in every street and every square, “Election now! Election right now!” Prepare for the elections with enthusiasm, high morale, and courage; change the government.
The atmosphere is blurred, but don’t let your thoughts be blurred. There is no other way.
* The Gezi trial verdict refers to extended prison sentences doled out in relation to nationwide civil unrest in 2013, which started as a small environmental protest against an urban development plan for Gezi Park in Istanbul.