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Unraveling the Paradox: Meral Akşener’s Controversial Moves and Their Impact on Turkish Politics

Is Meral Akşener, the leader of the İYİ (Good) Party, inexperienced and incompetent? If you assume that she could not manage the crisis in her party, which began to disintegrate after the election defeat, then the answer to this question would be ‘yes’. However, when you rewind the film back to the meeting she stormed out of on March 3, a picture emerges that cannot simply be dismissed as incompetence. The fact that she acted as if she was hearing the name of the then CHP Leader Kılıçdaroğlu, who had been saying ‘I am the candidate’ for months, for the first time that day, and did not take preventive measures regarding an issue that would provoke such a strong reaction, raises questions. But what she did, or rather her attitude on the eve of the local elections, after the defeat, is confusing.

The İYİ Party was the key to all formulas that could defeat the Cumhur Alliance and end Erdoğan’s administration. It was almost the only alternative that could attract votes from both AKP and MHP, and appeal to undecided voters in the center-right. Ali Babacan was a good second man, and Ahmet Davutoğlu a bad first; their parties had the potential to only break off small pieces from AKP. Of course, those small pieces were important, but conditional on the significant breakaways that the İYİ Party could provide. Here, Akşener is pulling out the keystone, causing the collapse of the opposition block.

Writing the best scenario to give President Erdoğan and his one-man dictatorship a ‘kiss of life’ would be to list what Akşener has done. Like a suicide bomber, she detonated the bomb wrapped around her in the center of the opposition. She is taking steps to serve the municipalities held by the opposition to Erdoğan on a golden platter at the cost of destroying herself and her party in the local elections. She displays an attitude that does not even want to see Ekrem İmamoğlu and Mansur Yavaş, whom she finds worthy of being president, as mayors. Her insistence on entering the elections without an alliance is underscored by the phrase, “We don’t have to make someone win or lose.”

We all know that she does not have the vote percentage to win elections in Istanbul and Ankara. It is predicted that the votes she will draw from the opposition will be limited and the base will support the block against Erdoğan, rather than acting on command. However, the destructive criticisms she will maintain on the way to the ballot box will affect the voting motivation of the hesitant/undecided voters.

Leadership emerges in times of crisis, and doing the right thing is hard, but doing all the wrong things in order is even harder. The elders used to say, “Such ignorance is achieved through education.” Seeing Akşener’s actions, I can’t help but say, “Such mistakes can only be deliberate!” She is so blinded in her mission to dismantle the alliance that she does not hesitate to expel those who say otherwise from the party. Thus, she seems to be trying to finish off her party as well.

Do you remember her speech that started with, “I am a student of Teoman Koman,” in the early days of the crisis? The most important sentences that day were these: “There is another issue; as a former Minister of the Interior, I am particularly following this. There are police chiefs who own hotels. In those hotels, beyond prostitution, orphaned girls are being employed. We are applying psychological warfare to the İYİ Party because we do not turn a blind eye to these.”

She was clearly accusing the internal opposition of being puppets of prostitution rings. She should have substantiated this relationship and filed a complaint, but she did not. More importantly, she did not name or file a complaint against the police chiefs who were pushing girls from the dormitory into prostitution.

Akşener is successfully implementing a project to dismantle herself, her party, and the alliance. She has exhausted the credit she accumulated with her firm stance during February 28. She destroyed the sympathy she created by showing for the first time that the opposition could be together with Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. She is nailing the coffin in such a way that no one will dare to collaborate again.

I am struggling to understand how she was convinced to become a suicide bomber.

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