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The End of the Road: Why Erdogan and His Allies Can’t Win Another Election?

On the day Galatasaray won the Süper Lig, Presidential Chief Advisor Mehmet Uçum blasted the Fenerbahçe management and Chairman Ali Koç, saying, “Shame on this management, you have gone down in history as a black mark, the rise will start from the next general assembly,” and sent a greeting to Aziz Yıldırım. While everyone was happy that Hatayspor, the team of the city demolished by the earthquake, stayed in the Süper Lig by defeating Çaykur Rizespor 2-0, the team of President Faruk Koca, who went down to the field and punched a referee, Ankaragücü, lost to Trabzonspor 4-2 and was relegated.

Devlet Bahçeli, a fan of Karagümrük, suggested that teams should not be relegated this year to prevent Turkish football from entering stress, even though his team won its last match but still couldn’t avoid relegation, referencing the February 6 earthquake.

This is essentially the summary of the season where football in Turkey resembles everything but football: While a palace advisor decides who will be the president of Fenerbahçe, the leader of the ruling partner party sees no problem in suggesting changing the rules on the last day of the season.

They determine everything themselves, and when things don’t go their way, they disregard the rulebook, laws, and the constitution.

On the same day (May 26), Turkish Airlines flew the national women’s volleyball team, which it sponsors, to the USA for the Nations League in economy class on a scheduled flight. The tall players embarked on a 13-hour journey in cramped seats two days later (May 29). When reactions rose, you look at the THY’s statement, it’s like “They should be grateful we flew them!” They’ve shifted the responsibility to the federation.

Last March, team captain Eda Erdem, whose statue was unveiled at the Fenerbahçe Sports Complex, tagged THY in a photo shared from the plane and posted, “Let the 13-hour USA flight begin. Find our teammates in the photo.” They were not even seated together.

(By the way, the chairmanship fee of Fahrettin Altun’s wife at THY has been increased four times in two years to 102,000 TL.)

Luckily, the national volleyball players had visas and could fly. Last December, the Bursa Uludağ Women’s Basketball Team could only send 5 athletes with dual passports to London because their late application for UK visas didn’t process in time; one played injured, and the team was eliminated from the FIBA EuroCup.

Connected to the flight, let’s not skip: in a country where nearly two-thirds of the total 15.3 million retirees receive a pension below the minimum wage, lawyers were granted the right to a “green passport,” followed by financial advisors also making a similar request. Journalists and pharmacists are still waiting for their requests.

In a climate where Turkish citizens’ visa applications are rejected by Western states, it’s natural for every professional group to seek “privileges.” Everyone knows but doesn’t say it out loud. Behind the visa humiliation, there is the reality of the country’s borders turning into a sieve.

On May 3, Minister of National Defense Yaşar Güler said on CNN Türk: “I’m saying this clearly and openly, it is not possible to enter our borders; 9-10 countries are discussing with us to implement our border security system exactly in their own country.”

The same ministry, 20 days later, confirmed that a brigade commander stationed in Syria was smuggling people with his official vehicle. His bodyguard and command sergeant were arrested, and the brigadier general was sent to retirement, that was the action taken against him.

The only good news of the week was that Galatasaray Square was opened to the Saturday Mothers. Mothers whose children were lost in custody have been seeking justice since May 27, 1995, in front of Galatasaray High School, surpassing 1000 weeks. Let’s see how long “normalization” will last because the atmosphere is not very promising.

AKP is rapidly melting away. According to Metropoll Research’s May report, its vote is below 20%. MHP leader, who did not campaign for local elections, was not this visible before March 31. He keeps gathering his party members, occasionally jokes with journalists, takes a stand for the notorious dogs while lecturing about street dogs, clinging to power more than ever.

He is not an ally to be easily dismissed, and Erdoğan thinks so too. I don’t know the chances of AKP and MHP entering another election together, but the People’s Alliance has no chance of winning another election. They will do everything they can to prolong this period and their last days.

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