A warning to those opposing a new political party in Turkey

On one hand I closely follow the process leading to re-run of the mayoral election in Istanbul, on the other hand, I keep an eye on political developments in the United States, our faraway neighbour, which will eventually have an impact on our country.

U.S. President Donald Trump is going to complete his third year in presidency soon. He and his political rivals who have designs on the White House already rolled up their sleeves for the election to be held in November 2020.

The number of individuals who have announced their candidacy for the presidential election in 2020 is 22 so far.

Some of these candidates are well-known while others are not. Until Hillary Clinton’s candidacy in the last election, women were somewhat reluctant to come to the fore; this time, however, there are many women among the candidates…

Democracy is a competitive system

Please don’t worry, my article today is not on the United States and the presidential election there.

My intention in mentioning the U.S. election is only to provide you a quick and fresh glimpse of the United States, referred by some people as a ‘successful example’ for the ‘presidential system of government’ that we adopted two years ago through a referendum.

What I aim to point out by this quick glimpse is that competition in politics is not undesirable, but something which deserves to be encouraged…

Usefulness of ‘democracy’ is indisputable in our country, too. Almost every single politician assures us that he or she is in a democratic struggle. But, when it comes to the issue of ‘competition among rivals’, the founding principle of democracy, we see that this democratic principle is met with a frown, and not even a modest political quest is tolerated.

Herd psychology rules the political domain, and hardly anyone is unhappy about this.

The presidential system in the United States is a two-party system, and, as we see, many with self-confidence from the both sides announce their candidacy long before the election date. The number of candidates will gradually lessen, and eventually be reduced to a few, because holding a campaign is an expensive adventure, and finding funds for supporting the campaign is strictly regulated by the system.

Nevertheless, emergence of many candidates in initial stages provides society with the possibility of discussions on diverse topics.

There are some candidates campaigning around ‘social justice’ as their underlying theme in the country considered as the centre of capitalism. Bernie Sanders, expected to become one of the most successful among such candidates, leads his campaign with a clear flavour of ‘socialism’.

This allows American people to have an idea about shortcomings and flaws of the existing political system…

The Good Party in Turkey is a good example

As a matter of fact, there is also a fresh example of this in our country, proving that such initiatives strengthen the political ground and not undermine it.

This fresh example is İyi Parti (the Good Party, a nationalist, liberal-conservative party founded almost two years ago -TN)…

İyi Parti was founded by a group of politicians who previously tried their hand in politics in MHP (the Nationalist Movement Party, a right-wing party), but eventually clashed with the dominant group in the party. Some of these people couldn’t survive in the party any longer, some got expelled.

And they formed the İyi Party.

The new party managed to get into the parliament in the first election it participated in with a considerable number of MPs, thanks to the alliance it formed with CHP (the Republican People’s Party, a left-leaning, main opposition party).

Has existence of this new party harmed MHP?

Do you think it has?

Now, we have two parties in the parliament doing politics on the same ground. One of them (MHP) is in an alliance with the ruling party, Justice and Development Party (AKP), while the other (İyi Party) has formed an alliance with CHP, and both of them are strengthening their positions.

The two parties coming from the same political ground (MHP and İyi Party) are considerably transforming their alliance partners (AKP and CHP). . .

CHP’s candidate for the metropolitan municipality in the capital Ankara who won the election, Mansur Yavaş, comes from the same nationalist political tradition. Not surprisingly, those figures whom Mansur Yavaş has been picking up to form his administrative team are from the MHP-İyi Party tradition.

What ensues from this picture?

Let me write what conclusion I draw from this picture: If the founding figures of the new nationalist party had continued their political activities within MHP, this party would have remained as a party which traditionally wins around 10 percent in elections. By means of their emergence as a second party, however, they have led MHP to strengthening its base.

MHP hasn’t fallen into a disadvantageous position in terms of its political line and strength in the parliament because of the foundation of the new party; on the contrary, it has benefited from this new picture.

We all know which political party has been negatively affected by MHP’s political line that has become stronger.

Devlet Bahçeli, the leader of MHP, has claimed that his party reached 18,81 percent in the last election that his party participated in by forming an alliance with AKP. The remaining of their total vote as the alliance is the lowest percentage of votes for AKP since its first participation in elections in 2002.

Whenever quest of some political figures known by their strong ties with AKP for a new party -possibly even two- becomes a current issue, we immediately hear opposing voices from ranks of the ruling party. Some circles around the party, more royalist than the king, instantly launch wild attacks against those who are said to be in such a quest.

The truth is evident, however: The expression of political differences through separate political entities does not necessarily mean that this is always something bad.

Those who oppose such quests possibly don’t follow the political processes in our faraway neighbour as closely as I do; but, it is to their own benefit if they realise at least what ‘success’ the MHP-İyi Parti division has led to.


(*) This opinion piece was originally published by Fehmi Koru on his website www.fehmikoru.com (translation by Bernar Kutluğ).

(**) The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Ahval.

The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Ahval.