The Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) alliance has applied a polarising policy in Turkey. While targeting the pro-democracy Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), the government has also increasingly targeted the Republican People’s Party (CHP) chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu.
According to journalist Kemal Can, who was interviewed on YenidenTV by Ayşegül Doğan, the 2018 elections showed that the government’s polarising policies contained some difficulties. Can stated that targeting the opposition as a mono-block and referring to all of them as “others” worked in favour of the ruling parties for a while. However, its effect has gradually weakened.
For that reason, said Can, the ruling alliance needed to strengthen its attacks on the opposition. Can said, “To strengthen the effect, the government has begun to differentiate its polarising discourse for each element of the opposition. Of course, the HDP was the first to be targeted, among others”.
According to Can, the ruling parties used a strategy of deepening the distinctions among the opposition. However, Can said the lifespan of these strategies would be short. Can also said that he had pointed out in a piece he wrote previously that CHP chair Kılıçdaroğlu would be targeted as a requirement of that strategy. According to Can’s point of view, the government aimed to divide the opposition. This means the government has aimed to interfere with each part of the opposition in strategically different ways. In this context, Can also stated that Kılıçdaroğlu was chosen specifically, and added that MHP chair Devlet Bahçeli was behind the strategy.
Regarding ideas about how Bahçeli took control of the AKP chair and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Can stated that the alliance was that way from the beginning, and said Erdoğan took part in the alliance with good reason. Can also pointed out that the discourse of the MHP began to attract AKP supporters, and drew attention to the fact that as a result of the polarising policy, AKP voters’ tendencies became similar to supporters of the MHP.
The full tv programme can be accessed from here.