Erdoğan, AKP and their victory in the Turkish Municipal Elections


https://www.flickr.com/photos/rossburton/2658811913/After the mainstream media reported for the past year how the Turkish people were supposedly all but openly revolting against current Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, it’s hilarious how they aren’t even reporting that his Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP), “Justice and Development Party” won the recent municipal elections in Turkey. I have a few thoughts about this.

A country’s capital rarely represents it.

Google a map of Turkey and while you’re at it, Google a map of the regions of Turkey that voted AKP. Here’s a little help:

http://www.iha.com.tr/iste-2014-yerel-secim-sonuclari-gundem-344902

Results are early but Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi (CHP), the Kemalist “Republican People’s Party”, won only 13 out of 81 provinces. AKP won a whopping 49 of 81 provinces between the 5 major parties running, AKP, CHP, BTP, MHP and BDP.

Istanbul, a Western tourist hub and Turkey’s unofficial de facto capital (Ankara is the official capital), may be what the Kemalists would like you to think represents the whole of Turkey, but the rest of the country is far more conservative and, in many cases, rural. Likewise, there’s more to Egypt than Cairo. The rest of Egypt is much more conservative than Cairo and their political stances are a lot less black and white than the news outlets may find sensational enough to report on. There’s more to Afghanistan than Kabul. The rest of Afghanistan is fiercely conservative and, regardless of what we think of the Taliban, they preferred them over any other alternative. They didn’t like them (nor do I), but they weren’t kidnapping their women and children like the warlords we’ve been supporting have done over the past 30 years. These are just two examples of how our media misguides us by presenting a small, often affluent, sliver of society in another country to spuriously represent the whole.

Nonetheless, the Kemalists’ CHP lost Istanbul to Erdoğan‘s AKP. Ouch.

“It doesn’t matter that our leaders are corrupt. YOURS better not be!”

This is patently absurd and ridiculous. We have presidents guilty of, and getting away with, impeachable offenses. We have a president who has presided over the NSA hijacking your smartphone camera and watching you take a shower as it rests on the counter. Yet, Erdoğan blocks YouTube and Twitter and we act like he committed genocide against peace loving Ewoks. Yes, blocking Twitter and YouTube was utterly stupid and a travesty for any free democratic society, but let’s look at our own government and put things into perspective. We Americans have perfected double standards and hypocrisy into an Olympic sport.

Democracy is when a society elects their leaders. It is not when a society elects leaders that America approves of.

Recent reports (concurring with reports trickling out since July of last year) indicate that we were the ones who funded the Tamarod protests in Egypt last year in the first place. Someone find that “Shut up your mouse, Obama” woman and let her know that Obama’s mouse is actually her friend.

So you can imagine what other “revolutions” we have orchestrated. As if the laundry list of democratically elected governments we overthrew covertly isn’t bad enough as it is. These recent reports support my personal theory, which I held from the beginning, that this farcical so-called “Arab Spring” is totally a concoction of our own intelligence agencies. The Arabs are simply incapable of pulling off something like that on their own. Hopefully, one day they will be without foreign manipulation but they definitely aren’t capable of it in their current socio-political condition.

What this all points to is that America needs to focus a whole lot more on interests within her own borders which have been morosely neglected. Our economy, employment, healthcare, crime, vice, social services, civil and constitutional rights are not in any state that we should even be involved in the affairs of any other nation that doesn’t directly impact us. We just don’t have the bandwidth for board games of global domination.

This is somewhat related to a serious issue that impacts the entire region. From the bungled and baseless war in Iraq to our covert ops orchestrating government overthrows in Egypt (successful) and Turkey (failure) we need to look at whom Erdoğan has been speaking out against and who has been behind each and every one of these overseas operations that are in no interest of the American people. Israel. Recipient of THREE FREAKING BILLION DOLLARS A YEAR of our American tax dollars. If they are “God’s chosen people” —who happen to have an undisclosed and unofficial nuclear arsenal that at up to 400 warheads would make them the third largest nuclear power in the world after the USA and Russia— they’ll do just fine without us. If they’re in danger after we cut the umbilical cord then maybe they’re not “God’s chosen people”. Maybe they’re just like the rest of us. And maybe, like the rest of us, they need to take care of themselves now and the entire planet shouldn’t be subject to their interests. Maybe the future of Turkey, and the rest of the world, shouldn’t need to conform to what makes Israel comfortable. Think about it and don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t change it.

A call to balance. Let’s see things in color.

What the Sisi-Morsi debacle in Egypt and the controversies surrounding Erdoğan’s strong-man politics have shown us is that practicing Muslims don’t always support Islamist parties and Secular-leaning parties often have practicing Muslims amongst their supporters. Yet again, we see that the motivations and proclivities of the masses are never as black and white as we are led to believe by an increasingly sensationalist media. Everyone loves The Godfather and Scarface, and loves to see that “tough guy” image in our leaders. But, hello?! Do you remember the end of Scarface? Tony Montana didn’t exactly sail off into the sunset with his little friend. Such attitudes rarely bode any better for politicians. We can’t protest Sisi massacring his people while remaining silent on Erdoğan refusing to address evidences of corruption and doing outlandishly bad things like banning YouTube, Twitter and Facebook to follow. Sure, Erdoğan stopping the Turks from Tweeting pictures of totally awesome Baklava isn’t as bad as Sisi handing out the largest mass death sentence in the history of every civilization of the galaxy, but injustice even on the smallest scale requires outrage from us regardless of how small and regardless of how wronged we, or those we sympathize with, have been. Heed this divine reminder:

“O People of Faith! Be those who stand up for justice, witnessing for God, even if it be against your own selves, your parents or your near and dear. Whether they be rich or poor, God is best a protector over both of them the same. So do not follow your own desires when meting out justice. For if you swerve or falter in that, know that God is most acquainted with what you do.” [The Qur'an 4:135]

Ibn Jarīr al-Tabariī relates in his exegesis of the Qur’an that Ibn `Abbās explained this verse thus:

“God commanded that they speak the truth even if it be against themselves, their fathers, or their sons. The rich are not to be preferred for their wealth, nor are the poor to be excused for their poverty.”

Note in particular “The rich are not to be preferred for their wealth, nor are the poor to be excused for their poverty”. From that, a breakdown can be deduced: Those with the advantage are not to be esteemed for their advantage and those without advantage are not to be excused for their disadvantage. Those in power shouldn’t be blindly respected and adored simply for virtue of being in power and the underdog should never be excused when he overcomes his oppressor, gets in power and then starts to betray justice or, worse, starts taking revenge.

Erdoğan, the world is watching you; but that pales to the fact that, above all, the Lord of the Worlds is watching you even closer. You can be the greatest leader the Muslim world has seen since the Ottomans whom you repeatedly invoke, or you can fall just like them when they lost their way. Which end of their history you resemble is up to you.

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11 Comments

  1. Faez Ur-Rehman Khan says:

    Great read

  2. Matt Aikins says:

    I’m not quite sure what you mean in your opening paragraph. A quick glance through well-known outlets give you the following results:

    http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26807067

    http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/da760d76-b806-11e3-af5e-00144feabdc0.html#axzz2xgkSRYVd

    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/30/turkey-elections-erdogan-truth

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/30/us-turkey-election-idUSBREA2R12X20140330

    The losses suffered from the opposition say more about the quality of the opposition parties than Erdogan. This analysis sums up the situation very well:

    http://www.the-american-interest.com/articles/2014/04/01/erdogan-jumps-out-of-the-frying-pan-into-the-fire/

    • Shibli Zaman says:

      Matt, news gradually trickled since this article was written but initially the news outlets were completely mute on it. However, as you have correctly noted the big news outlets did eventually report it. I don’t see that they would have any other choice.

      You said, “The losses suffered from the opposition say more about the quality of the opposition parties than Erdogan. This analysis sums up the situation very well.”

      I agree 100% and I think Erdoğan has been banking on that far too long, along with his initial economic successes (which are now waning), and it will cost him dearly in the long run. Unless, of course, he changes his attitude and approach.

  3. AbdulLateeph says:

    Nice article! Is the reason I’m of the opinion people need to determine to nurture the politics of true democracy and be ready to show maturity. Instead of accepting mobocracy now being employed and sanctioned by the same advocates of democracy as a method to forcefully change leaders, democratically elected by at least the majority . The thing about democracy is sometimes majority “may have voted wrong”, the supposed right minority must then learn to wait to change or turn the table by using the ballots at the next elections. The opposition must learn to organize and mobilize towards winning elections and not use mob or not so popular but popular protests to grab power.
    As for Erdogan his popularity as well as that of the AKP may not have declined to the extent we are made to believe in the mainstream press. What is clear however is that he needs to thread with caution and the AKP needs to put it’s house in order in order to properly and adequately management decent /the opposition. Failure to do so as u rightly stated in ur article may be self destructive. Sometimes powers enjoy their popularity or majority powers too much that they self destruct.

  4. Zak says:

    That was refreshing… Glad SuheibWebb.com approved this post!

  5. Shahid says:

    The way america is able to influence our decisions and our governments shows us that as a society we are a failure. And we are so weak that anyone could easily manipulate us to do things against our own intrests. What we lack is not a political uprising but moral and social. We have to either HI Jack thier technological superiority or construct an entirely new one. Only a pro literian and socially aware Ummah can make the difference

    Let us pray for it

  6. MI-R15 says:

    great political read.
    The political reality in Turkey and around the muslim World deserve an objective and logical reasoning. As far as we muslims are concerned, Erdorghan political aspiration, policies and concerned for the Ummah is the best we can get from any leader with the ummah at heart.
    As human we all have short comming so also Erghoghan and his AKP. Therefore advicebly as the political strugling is becomming hotter in Turkey, he is suppose to be nurturing a replacement aside not necessary his child.
    May Allah grant the World thousands of Erghogan we see today.

  7. Sasha Ajaz says:

    Just wanted to clarify, but you refer to Istanbul as Turkey’s capital in your “A country’s capital rarely represents it” point? Ankara is the capital.

    Nitpickiness aside, there are some nice, enlightening comparisons to Turkish politics made it in this article such as the Taliban being preferred over the alternative in Afghanistan. Spot on with the comments on Israel.

    • Shibli Zaman says:

      Thank you, Sasha. That’s not nitpicking at all. We’ve made edits to make things more clear. Istanbul was the capital until 1922 and in spite of Ankara being the “de jure” capital since that time, Istanbul retained its position of prominence as a “de facto” capital of the country.

  8. O H says:

    Good to see this article being approved on here. Sadly many of the things you have mentioned is considered taboo to discuss and is unknown to the gullible masses whose source of ‘facts’ is Fox news, CNN etc. Common sense is not so common nowadays so its refreshing to know these things

  9. Sal says:

    Erdogan is a great leader, until he turned against Israel which made turkey economy on decline, Erdogan should better its relation with Israel again cuz if not then Israel is gonna become a pain in the path for turkey’s economic development.

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