June 23 Istanbul elections became a milestone for a brand new period in Turkey. From now onwards, to understand what is likely to happen, one should look at winners such as İmamoğlu, CHP, Good Party, HDP and Demirtaş instead of losers such as Erdoğan and Bahçeli.
Translation: Melissa Clissold
Subtitles: Egemen Gök
Hello, good day and have a nice week. A “Brand New Turkey” phase has begun. Even though I say that this phase has started today, it actually began in the late hours of last night. At 19:15, the numbers began to be counted and the election-ban ended. At 19:20 Binali Yıldırım accepted defeat at the AKP Istanbul City Headquarters. A clear and explicit defeat was experienced. We are talking about a difference of 800,000. The Supreme Election Council (YSK) talks about a difference of 800,000. There is a 10% difference between the results. This is a clear triumph and victory for İmamoğlu; for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) however, especially for President Erdoğan, this is a clear loss. In fact, it is a complete defeat.
The greatest loser of this election is of course Erdoğan, subsequently Bahçeli and almost anyone else who supported them in various ways; and of course Binali Yıldırım. Binali Yıldırım reached the highest possible positions within politics and left his position as Speaker of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey (TBMM) and wanted to become the Mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality (IBB) and yet has experienced a tragic ending. Perhaps if he had accepted defeat on March 31, it wouldn’t be this bad and he would have lost with less of a gap; but he now has lost with a clear difference in numbers. As a politician who was not able to convince anyone with his words “They stole our votes”, I don’t think he’ll be that effective and/or influential anymore.
“It’s the first day of a Brand-New Turkey”, we need to look forward. We will of course still evaluate the past and interpret it; but we need to look at what will become of us from here on out. On one side of the picture there are those that have lost, and on the other, there are those that have won. We need to ask ourselves, “What will the losers do? What can they do? What will the winners do? What can they do? But there is certainly one thing that is clear now; the question “What will Erdoğan do?” is not as important as it was before. The question “Let’s just wait and see, what will Erdoğan say?” is not determinant anymore. Because I think that Erdoğan, for a while now, has started to drift apart from being a determinative political actor. The more he centralises power, the more he weakens. And I think we all saw how genuine his weakness has become last night. He has played all his cards; yet he has made new mistakes whilst trying to fix certain situations. He is one of the most experienced politicians in Turkey, maybe the most experienced; and the most popular name until recently, he was known as the person who had the most support from the public and was loved by many. However, his failure was put on record last night. I honestly don’t think Erdoğan will be able to clean up this mess, in fact I think it’ll get worst for him, disintegration will speed up.
The work that Ali Babacan and Ahmet Davutoğlu are carrying out regarding the formation of a new party will speed up and interest will wane towards them – in order to understand all of this, in order to foresee this, one does not need to be an oracle. On top of this, he has no staff, no guns, no cards left to answer to this situation. He only has the ‘authority’ card. Erdoğan has been using this card for a long time now; he is interfering in people’s rights and freedoms, he is trying to trap politics into a narrow area through jurisdiction. But the June 23 elections have shown us that Turkey cannot stand this narrow space anymore. It has shown us that Erdoğan’s authority is not infinite and no matter how authoritative he is, his authority has weakened immensely. When we look within the context of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), as one of the greatest losers of this election, we can see that hard days await the MHP in the upcoming period. If we consider the fact that, even if it was very risky, the Good Party (İyi Parti) worked for Ekrem İmamoğlu until the final moments of this election – Meral Akşener carried out activities in Istanbul till the final moments, carried out a campaign and became amongst the winners because of this. She will probably reap the fruits of her efforts in the near future in a very serious manner.
It looks like the İyi Parti will continue to weaken the MHP in the days ahead. Yet, if it determines itself solely as the opponent of the MHP, it will make a huge mistake because we have seen in the latest elections that this alliance that they have formed with the CHP, which has also in some ways been supported by the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), which has also to a certain extent been held on the periphery of the Felicity Party (SP), has been good for the İyi Parti. Therefore, it’ll be a huge mistake if it limits itself within the sphere of the MHP. There may be further expansions in the upcoming periods from the İyi Parti. In fact, in the upcoming period we may see similar or parallel work to İyi Parti being carried out from those breaking off from the AKP. In this respect, the upcoming days may be filled with some serious surprises. The HDP is one of the greatest winners of this election – and Kurds of course, not just the HDP. HDP aside, Kurds need to be mentioned with this. And of course, Selahattin Demirtaş.
These three factors that are connected to one another have shown that, in Turkey, struggling together and working together creates results. Despite the Öcalan incident, despite the government in power trying to bring Öcalan into the picture, the HDP management, the HDP organisation and HDP voters acted in a sagacious manner and as a result of this, they will receive their own share of this victory. In the case that the HDP continues this strategy in upcoming periods, we can see that the HDP may become a party that will continue to influence and resound even more. Particularly if Selahattin Demirtaş regains his freedom, they will become a serious actor. Henceforth, we see that all parties, especially the CHP, will have to surrender their attitudes of ‘not wanting to be seen beside the HDP in anyway.’
And the CHP: When we look at the CHP, the CHP has truly gained a huge success – finally. Here we must give credit to Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. Of course, this election is the success of Ekrem İmamoğlu, but certain political choices of Kılıçdaroğlu, certain choices regarding individuals were prominent – and one of these is Ekrem İmamoğlu and the other of course is Canan Kaftancıoğlu. Canan Kaftancıoğlu could have been removed from duty after the amateur mistake she made when the candidates were first explained, but Kılıçdaroğlu kept her on as provincial head. And she truly put on a successful performance as İstanbul Provincial Directorate. It is a surprising performance for the CHP.
In the upcoming period, mayors, especially mayors of our big cities such as Ekrem İmamoğlu, Mansur Yavaş and Tunç Soyer will be the carriers of the CHP. If coordination is achieved between the Headquarters and the mayors, the CHP can truly become a party that creates its mark. I am saying that this may happen, not that it will. Because the CHP has plenty of habits, approaches and mistakes that come from its past which Kılıçdaroğlu recognised and accepted himself on our broadcast last Friday when he appeared as our guest. This Istanbul election shows that these mistakes, strategic mistakes, factionalism etc. have started to, on a large scale, be left behind. Will this continue in this manner?
The signs point towards this direction. We see that the CHP has seized a chance to not be limited to 33%, 35%, and sometimes even 25%. With the dynamism that the CHP has gotten a hold of, it will be, it can be, a much stronger centre party if it develops new policies in certain regions such as Central Anatolia, East Anatolia and the Black Sea region, if it defeats its unfortunate fate in these areas – and right now there is a very favourable environment for this. It has caught this chance, but in these types of victories, one question in particular is very important: to continue on with this attitude, to maintain this dynamism is very important. That potential exists at the moment. The CHP has captured a very important position with Ekrem İmamoğlu, – of course – Kılıçdaroğlu, Canan Kaftancıoğlu and other mayors.
Let me also shortly talk about the SP. SP’s votes have decreased, but I don’t think they are very sad about this, because I am guessing that a large proportion of SP’s management, and in fact a large proportion of the candidates have their heart set on Ekrem İmamoğlu. My observations regarding this topic are such. Therefore, I don’t think they are very uncomfortable with this situation and in fact the SP is a party that may benefit from the inevitable disintegration of the AKP. Or it has the potential to work together with the new parties that are to be formed. If we remember in particular the work they carried out regarding Abdullah Gül’s candidateship for Presidency, a certain closeness may form between the SP and the party that Ali Babacan is planning to establish. There’s a lot to say, I don’t want to prolong this discussion, we can talk about these gradually, we are always here.But whilst I come to my final words, I would like to especially thank my friends at Medyascope. Whether it was during the elections that took place on the 31st of March or the 23rd, our friends, our young friends here did a very good job. Furthermore, I would like to thank everyone that has helped us throughout this election process with their analyses and their comments. This election on the 23rd – it was also like this on the 31st but even more so on the 23rd – has shown us one more time that mainstream media is disappearing and that we are now the mainstream; we are carrying out the function of the mainstream. I’d like to make a final remark: on the night of the election, our friends applied for accreditation at the AKP Istanbul Headquarters. Our accreditation was refused, our application denied. It was said that the decision was made by Beştepe. But what happened? Even if we they had been accredited, they would have probably have had to have left after 15-20 minutes. Because the AKP Istanbul Headquarters locked the doors a short time after the ballot boxes were opened. Hence, conceit and arrogance don’t work in these situations, hard work does. Let’s end this broadcast here. That’s all I have to say, have a good day.