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HomeHeadlinePower and Peril: Erdoğan's Bold Gambit for Continuity Amidst Crisis

Power and Peril: Erdoğan’s Bold Gambit for Continuity Amidst Crisis

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s statement over the weekend in Hatay, “If the central government and local administrations do not join hands and stand in solidarity, nothing comes to that city. Did anything come to Hatay? Look, Hatay is left in a strange situation now,” is neither a confession nor an observation; it’s the 2024 model AKP campaign slogan. This has always been the case. I don’t regard it as important; it’s merely making known the known… In essence, he has recorded a known treatment with words, saying bluntly, “If you don’t elect my candidate, you get no bread.”

I reckon there hasn’t been another leader in the history of the republic who has said this so openly, but the majority did what Erdoğan did, that’s another matter. Moreover, Erdoğan is not foolish! He calculates that these words will lead to winning, not losing, and the applause he receives confirms this.

The regime has become institutionally permanent, or is a quarter away from it. This is what’s terrifying. Otherwise, circulating this video as if Erdoğan made a ‘gaffe’ will not relieve the built-up pressure inside.


The overlooked lines in the Hatay speech actually begin with, “This disaster teaches us many lessons besides…” This implies being caught unprepared and a panic of “let’s not be buried at the ballot box because of this” three months before the election.

The cutting off of mobile phone and internet communications, the disruption of aid coordination, the undermining of insufficient search and rescue activities, and the literal blackout applied to the earthquake zone are reflections of this fear.

He who molds every development for the continuation of his power, and thinks of nothing else anyway: demolishes, kills, leaves the injured under the rubble, buries people with construction machinery, fails to properly identify bodies, and covers the entire crime scene with a thick blanket.

If he could, he would set it on fire, but luckily, he doesn’t have enough fuel for that.


Despite being one of the top three economic crises in the world, Erdoğan, who remains standing and emerges from the ballot box again, has unfortunately gained immunity against natural disasters. The biggest lesson the government learned from the earthquake is that no matter the size of such a disaster, it will not be overwhelmed by it. To the point that in Hatay, there’s a need for 250,000 homes, and the ease of closing the case while only delivering 7,200 homes at the end of the first year.


Everyone focused on the “130,000 lives lost!” part, but the truly significant remarks made by Murat Kurum were along these lines: “If something happens to Istanbul, the country is gone, the flag is gone, the state remains no more. That’s why we say it’s as important as fighting terrorism.”

The thought process is this: “Thankfully, we overcame the regional earthquake in Hatay-Maraş-Adıyaman. But Istanbul is not like that. 40% of the economy is here. We must apply full-court press here, just like we did in Hatay, and have our B-C-D plans ready. We must emerge from this with our heads held high and our votes increased. Otherwise, we’ll be buried under Istanbul.”

Kurum’s reference to “fighting terrorism” exposes the government’s playbook. Filling every opposing force into the terrorism sack has worked for them for years, and it works. An Istanbul earthquake deserves a similar operation, a very big risk. Otherwise, they can’t survive.


With less than two months left, there’s no point in caring about the local elections and the outcomes that will come from them. The old excitement is gone. The current opposition has seen that they can’t change the situation while Erdoğan is alive, so they’re playing for time.

Everyone else besides Ekrem İmamoğlu and Selahattin Demirtaş will be purged one way or another. Naturally, it’s futile to talk about impossible tasks and names that have already flushed their chances down the toilet.


We’ve seen that an empty pot doesn’t overturn the government. They emerged “strengthened” from the earthquake that screamed and lost tens of thousands under the rubble.

These are significant setbacks for the opposition forces… The change of the Central Bank governor after 8 months or whether Fatih Erbakan will run a candidate in Istanbul is more crucial. Anyone sensible can see that the issue has moved beyond elections/ballots.

The phrase “Give us 400 deputies and let this issue be resolved peacefully!” was spoken on March 7, 2015, in Gaziantep and is still not properly understood.

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