Great news from Turkey!

Sarkawt Shamsulddin

By Sarkawt Shams:

The decisive victory of Erdogan’s AKP, Justice and Development Party, in the municipality election, is an indication of AKP’s successful strategies for the peace process and its economic progress. Both cases are related; the peace and stability at its border and the involvement of imprisoned leader of the PKK, Abdullah Ocalan, in the peace process gave Turkey a golden chance to boost its economy, decrease military’s expenditures, and a safer environment for investment in Turkey’s Kurdish-dominant areas. Apparently, the AKP is still the only political party which can win the votes of liberals, nationalists, pro-Islamists, and the Kurds. However, BDP’s slight increase of its popularity shows the growth of Kurdish nationalism, but it also tells the PKK and Ocalan to review their strategies toward Kurdish populations and better understand the demographical differences of their society. Despite the hopes, there are doubts and fear about Erdogan’s imperial ambitions in the region, and whether he will continue in the ‘Marathon’ or change direction.

“Tomorrow there may be those who have to run away. However, we will go into their caves. They will pay the price.” said Erdogan for his rivals right after the announcement of election results. That is not a good beginning for Turkey, as the voters are expecting Mr. Erdogan to fulfill his campaign promises; better economy, creating more jobs, and stability at the borders, not chasing the rivals! On the other hand, his followers are about to glorify him, and see him as a “spiritual father” as one of his supporters said. What Turkey needs is a good and responsible politician, not a spiritual leader. It is the problem of most of the pro-Islamic voters that they cast their votes based on their religious preference rather than good policies. Mr. Erdogan is a charismatic leader, but he must use his magnetic role to build organizations to sustain the growth and adopt his reforms. A good leader is one who builds his institutions and hand it over to the next generation. What concerns analysts is not AKP’s popularity, but Erdogan’s. The AKP party may stay in power for decades, but Mr. Erdogan should not. It is for the best of Turkey’s democracy, and AKP’s renewal to have another AKP leader to run the country, and it has such leaders. The reason I say this is because Turkey’s democracy is not on track yet.

There are two examples that the AKP may look at, Brazil and Russia. In Brazil, Lula Da Silva had 80% popularity, and he still had it when he left power. Lula could have asked for a constitutional amendment and extended his reign for another term, but he did not do that. He respected the constitution and another person from his party, the Workers Party replaced him. However in Russia, Mr. Putin ran the country for two terms, then he amended the constitution and ran for another term, after a short break. The Russian example is of a retreat from democracy, and moving toward authoritarian regime. Which direction Turkey is going now? Well amending the constitution, shutting down social media channels, and attacking the independent media are what Mr. Erdogan has done so far, the same strategy as Mr. Putin.

The result of the election was also considered as good news for the BDP, the major Kurdish party in Turkey. However, the BDP could not win all of the Kurdish cities in South East of Turkey. The BDP has received only 6.30 percent of the overall votes while it claims to have 15 to 20 percent support in the country. However, the BDP’s popularity has increased compared to the previous elections, but more work needs to be done by BDP and PKK. The BDP leadership need to review its strategies and have a more comprehensive policy toward the society. Mr. Ocalan’s messages seem to be effective in some areas, but still a majority of Kurdish people in Turkey are under the influence of religion, especially Said Nursi’s theories. There are two historical figures, two rivals, who still have a great impact on Turkey’s political scene: one is Mustafa Kamal Ataturk, the other is Said Nursi*. The second one is more powerful nowadays while the first one is declining. It is true that Nursi was ethnically Kurdish, but he was accepted as Turkey’s Islamic spiritual leader among Muslim Turks too.

The AKP has got the message; the AKP’s leadership has referred to Nursi as their role model on different occasions. Neither the BDP nor the PKK has ever mentioned Nursi or showed respect to him. There are millions of Muslim Kurds, and a majority of them are Nursi’s followers in Turkey who cast their votes as a religious deed rather than a civil right. The BDP is considered as left-wing and pro-secular movement. It is important for the BDP and PKK to reconsider the diversity of their society.

*Said Nursî, known as Bediuzzaman, was a Kurdish Sunni Muslim theologian. He wrote the Risale-i Nur Collection, a body of Qur’anic commentary.  He has a great influence over Turkish society and AKP leaders including premier Erdogan.

6 Responses to Great news from Turkey!
  1. Kawa
    April 1, 2014 | 22:24

    Very nice analysis; KCK/ PKK should change their strategy and priority. Rather than insisting on Ocalan ideology, that based on Alawites and leftist ideology, should be more focused on majority of Kurdish population religion and culture.

  2. Aram
    April 2, 2014 | 03:46

    Good point. The Nursi legacy is an important wealth for Kurds to invest in it and gain more recognition among Nursi’s non-Kurdish followers. Plus, PKK revision and adopt a broader policy rather than pro left ideology is a must, otherwise it will lose more than half of its voters.

  3. Bahman
    April 2, 2014 | 03:52

    Well observation, I have a doubt that Turkey is going toward Russia model. Erdoğan and Davut Oglu indirectly mentioned Turkey’s imperial dreams. Turkey is truly planning to invade Kurdish riogn Area of Syria, the justification is “protecting” its border.

  4. raperina ekrat
    April 2, 2014 | 11:44

    you are wrong abouth Said Nursi’s political influence. he is spritiual figur but not efective in politic.Nursi’s political influence is very limited in turkey and Kurdistan.

  5. Rasan
    April 2, 2014 | 18:02

    Nursi was not a politician, but it is true he has influence over the society in general. The politicians, esp AKPs, try to benefit from his legacy and tell his followers that they inherent his legacy such as honesty, good deeds, and integrity. Nursi was a rival to Ataturk because Ataturk thought him as an obstacle to control the society.

  6. Burke
    April 2, 2014 | 19:03

    This is false claim to say that peace process caused the economic boost. Economic has nothing to dod with peace process.

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