Selahattin Demirtaş, jailed former co-chair of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), has written an article criticising the opposition over its inability to respond effectively to the sentiments and expectations of desperate voters in Turkey.
I have been watching opposition leaders very carefully. I am trying to analyse their remarks, their moves, their silence, everything including their body language and gestures. After all, I am a politician, and although I am held in jail as a hostage, I still feel responsible for the people and I still monitor all developments closely.
I have been watching the ruling parties as well, but they are not the subject of this article. Actually it has been a long time since I stopped making ‘profound’ analyses on AKP-MHP [the ruling Justice and Development Party and Nationalist Movement Party coalition], because there is no further need to expose or tell millions of victims of the misdeeds of a tyrannical administration that is thoroughly corrupt, rotten to the core, and wallowing in crimes and sin. Everyone is familiar with this already. Some are fed up with this oppression, looking for way out, while some do not mind serving as accomplices in the crimes because they are still feeding on scraps from the [Presidential] Palace. The truth, however, is that 70 percent of the people are now seeking change and they are expecting the opposition to deliver a solution.
What does the opposition say to this 70 percent? Here lies the question. They have still not been able to create ‘Voltron’ by standing together and coming up with a joint declaration under a single rallying cry. They say so many, and such unnecessary things, in such a cacophony, that in the end it amounts to practically nothing.
I sometimes try to identify myself with an undecided voter and watch party leaders through the eyes of that voter. I try to think in an objective manner to understand which one of them might convince me. Let’s assume that my income is roughly equivalent to the average salary of a public servant. I’m paying rent. My credit card debt has piled up. I’m trying to survive by constantly cutting down on food and clothing. I have children. I have to think of their future. So I’m watching political parties now in this very real situation and in this desperate state of mind to try and understand which one of them will help me out. I will be voting for one of them to save the people and the country. So that I can build a future for my children in peace and security.
I am a desperate and pessimistic voter, but I’m looking for a solution. Who should I vote for? (Don’t worry, I won’t be making propaganda for the HDP, please keep reading…) Take note, I’m not a voter with great expectations, but I am faced with a vital problem because I have a family that is fighting for survival. I can’t even think about tomorrow, I have no strength left. In this miserable state, I’m listening to the opposition. Do you know what they’re saying? But of course you do. Let me note it here anyway. You can guess who is saying what. I don’t mean to criticise specific people, I’m trying to criticise a certain attitude.
Now, let the undecided voter listen to the opposition:
“We’ll come out of these elections as the first party, and I’ll be prime minister.”
What do you mean? You mean that in the elections you will crush the other leaders you’ve been sitting round a table with, gain 360 seats in the parliament, amend the Constitution, and then become prime minister? Are you sitting around the same table as representatives of five other parties so that you can defeat the other five? Interesting.
“We’ll enter the elections by ourselves, under our own logo.”
So, you too will gain 360 seats, amend the Constitution, and save us. Very well. You’ll have to defeat the other five leaders, but I don’t think this will be a problem. The only thing is, that woman leader will become the prime minister as well. Her party will gain 360 seats, yours will also gain 360 seats, so you two will be able to gain a total of 720 MPs. Its exciting just thinking about it.
“An alliance within the alliance is possible.”
Well, great. The main opposition will enter the elections by itself, the other two will also enter seperately, so your three parties will be left. If you form a sub-alliance and manage to get into parliament, you will likely gain at least 50 seats. So the total is now 770. It’s wonderful even considering it.
“I’d be honoured if I was to be the [presidential] candidate of six parties.”
I think it would be really fine, truly. Let’s say you received 51 percent in the presidential vote and your party gained 230 seats with 28 percent in parliamentary elections. So it makes a thousand MPs now. Thinking about it makes my hair stand on end. So you’ll be able to amend not just one, but two Constitutions now.
“Under the Democracy Alliance, we’ll form the people’s government in these elections.”
So you’ll win the presidency with over 50 percent of the vote, gain at leat 301 seats, and come to power. I’m actually a bit afraid now to sum it all up, but I guess it makes 1,301 MPs. I’ll try not to faint.
Now let’s have a look at the ruling bloc.
“Under the People’s Alliance, we’ll get at least 75 percent of the vote in the coming elections.”
Now I’m feeling better. You will secure a president yourself now, and you’ll gain at least 500 seats. It makes 1,801 MPs. God preserve my braincells!
Let’s summarise. The opposition will secure two presidents, one prime minister and 1,301 MPs in the coming elections. The ruling bloc will secure one president and 500 MPs. What a pleasant scene for our democracy! And it will bring the one man rule to an end, because three presidents will rule the country now with a prime minister and 1,801 MPs.
I wonder why I’m still not feeling comfortable and why I’m still undecided? I’m still worrying for my children and I’m not sure what I’m supposed to do. As an average voter, I start supporting the CHP [the main opposition Republican People’s Party] in the morning, begin to support the [opposition] Iyi Party by noon, move towards the [opposition] DEVA party in the afternoon, decide to vote for the [opposition] HDP a bit later, I feel attracted to the [opposition] Future Party in the evening, become inclined towards the [opposition] Felicity Party during the night, and find myself once again undecided before I go to sleep. The next morning I think the Labour Party of Turkey [TİP] looks fine, but get distracted first by the appeal of the Labour Party [EMEP], then by the Left Party around noon. I begin to think that the Greens and Left might be better. This is all because I woke up on the left side of the bed in the morning. I go to sleep at night, undecided. Let’s see what will happen tomorrow.
Let me finish with a question. Don’t you feel ashamed when you look at these suffering millions? As a politician, I am very much ashamed, even though I’m in jail.
I see now that you are even more undecided than the undecided voter. Please pull yourseves together. Get the country out of disaster by taking a stance befitting the gravity of the situation, and by making a solid joint declaration. The responsibility and the consequences lie upon all of you.
I know, you can do it.