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Unveiling the Cracks: A Deep Dive into the AKP’s Decline and Political Dissonance

NECIP F. BAHADIR

Has politics received an ‘Eid’ blessing? Have grudges and grievances been resolved, and the ice melted? When it comes to speeches, do politicians who never miss an opportunity to emphasize the meaning and importance of Eid, from religion to Turkish culture, actually behave in accordance with this spirit?

There are missing photos from the now classic ‘inter-party Eid greeting’ program. From this point of view, it can very well be concluded that Eid did not visit the neighborhood of politics. But I will go from another place and example; from the President’s Eid greetings…

Who did Erdoğan call, and who did he not? It’s not really a surprise. Nevertheless, to make a note in history, I will comment on the news coming from official sources. As per protocol, to exchange Eid greetings ‘the President is called.’ Before Eid, CHP Leader Özgür Özel had announced he would call ‘Erdoğan,’ and this had positively affected the political atmosphere stifled by polarizing politics.

Erdoğan acted earlier. He was the one who called. The state news agency announced in the news to the public the names of the political leaders with whom Erdoğan exchanged Eid greetings. The criterion is not the size of the party. It could be something like ‘parties with groups in the Parliament.’ Or components of the People’s Alliance might also be a reason for preference.

No, Erdoğan sat by the phone making an ’emotional and arbitrary’ ‘selection’ among leaders. One name he called and one he did not caught my attention.

This tableau proves how the AKP is crumbling, how far Erdoğan has strayed from the Eid traditions of religion and Anatolian culture… Among the leaders he called to congratulate for Eid, the most notable was Doğu Perinçek from the Homeland Party. Why Perinçek? Is it because he is part of the People’s bloc? Or is there a political closeness? Because he deserved to celebrate ‘Eid’ after the 30-day Ramadan?

What needs to happen for you to wake up from a deep sleep? The ‘political brotherhood’ that goes as far as brotherhood between Erdoğan and Perinçek is not new. That’s why I wasn’t surprised, but a photo that doesn’t attract attention when things are going well becomes a headache when the wind starts blowing in the opposite direction. The ‘brotherhood’ denied to Ali Babacan, Temel Karamollaoğlu, and Ahmet Davutoğlu is wide open when it comes to Perinçek.

Hey AKP base! ‘Is this not a goal either?’. What kind of shock is needed to wake up from a long and deep sleep?

The most important un-called name?

Fatih Erbakan, leader of the Yeniden Refah Party. The surprise party of the March 31 elections. Erbakan was with Erdoğan in the presidential elections ten months ago. Could Erdoğan’s victory in the election deny the contribution and role of Son Erbakan? Even then, it was observed that the party had a base. If Erbakan had said ‘no’ to Erdoğan, or at least stayed neutral, the outcome of the election would have been different.

Why did Erdoğan, who called Doğu Perinçek for Eid greetings, not call Fatih Erbakan? Because of the anger of March 31?

Was Erbakan obliged to support the AKP? Can’t he enter the elections as a separate party? The BBP also fielded a candidate in Sivas and won the mayoralty. Isn’t there anger towards Destici? He saw no harm in calling him. Politics should not harbor grudges; Eid is the day when resentments and grudges end. Verses and hadiths say so, tradition and customs command it. The Eid handshake extended to Perinçek but withheld from Erbakan…

It tells so much, to those who have reason and conscience. Here is the reality of Erdoğan.

Doesn’t this image say something to the conservative base? Which voter supporting the AKP would find this situation natural? I don’t think there are those within the AKP who think Erdoğan did the right thing. They may not react or object, but it wounds their souls, breaks their hearts. Those who are looking for an answer to why the AKP lost on March 31 should start by looking at the ‘Eid greeting list.’

Lobster feast on a yacht, vacation in the Maldives! I started with three examples when saying ‘Erdoğan and the AKP are crumbling’… All three took place in front of society’s eyes. Everyone saw, everyone heard. The most striking was the lobster feast of AKP Izmir Deputy Şebnem Bursalı at a yacht club in Monaco… It became the number one agenda on social media. Not a paparazzi news. The lobster photo was shared by herself.

‘An AKP deputy, Monaco, and a plate of lobsters’ – these words together make big news. I couldn’t understand Bursalı’s astonishment at the reactions; did she expect society to say ‘bon appétit’? It’s not about the price of the lobster plate. The issue is different… Every extraordinary action of a politician stings society. From the salary they receive, the food they eat, to the car they drive. Politicians working in this land should know this reality, they should stay away from ‘dragon fruit and lobsters.’

The reaction that whipped up against Bursalı was not from AKP opponents but from her own friends… Before CHP or other parties woke up, AKP names had stirred up a storm. While the deep and heavy pain of March 31 was being experienced… While the culprits of the defeat within the party were being sought… While the AKP’s future dreams and visions turned into nightmares… How could the photo of ‘Monaco and a plate of lobsters’ not cause an uproar?

The scandal’s protagonist, the deputy, made an ‘apology emphasizing Erdoğan’ but after ‘Basra was ruined,’ those words meant nothing as other misdeeds were uncovered beneath the photo. That’s ‘private life,’ outside our topic. Bursalı, a politician with a journalist background… Her lifestyle does not match the classic AKP line; she’s a convert… Once reporting news, then becoming the subject and object of news. Providing the material herself is nothing but a loss of discretion. It must be a slap of fate for the AKP.

Why is the AKP management silent? If the saying attributed to Jesus, ‘Let he who is without sin cast the first stone,’ were adapted for today, there shouldn’t even be one person within the AKP to react to Bursalı. Perhaps a few exceptions like Bülent Arınç can be counted. The words of Mücahit Birinci, one of the faces of the AKP, were very harsh: ‘Do you think this is your father’s farm! Get out of our party, brother!’

Is this the attitude of the party management? Or is it an individual reaction? ‘Get out of our party!’ is not something to be said on personal initiative.

Birinci’s outburst played a big role in the escalation of the scandal. How innocent is Birinci? Louis Vuitton scarves, luxury cars…

Or another AKP member. Journalist-origin Şamil Tayyar, while reacting to Bursalı, said, ‘Society forced to consume food served like hospital and prison menus.’ Luxury remains next to the poor’s table compared to ‘prison menus.’ The varieties on hospital trays are not on the poor’s plate. Tayyar is also unaware of this harsh reality.

Over time, everything may be forgotten, but the ‘plate of lobster’ will never be forgotten. It’s etched into the memory of history. A plate that would be overlooked in normal times exploded in people’s faces. Because the conditions are not ordinary. The ‘plate of lobsters at the yacht club in Monaco’ was placed next to the ‘ending photo of the AKP.’ This scandal doesn’t end here. I’m curious what the silent AKP management will answer…

Anger against the AKP is growing The other photo is from the Maldives… Hüseyin Filiz, the AKP’s candidate for Çankırı, after suffering a major defeat in the March 31 elections, took off to the Maldives, which is as far away as the backside of Mount Qaf for the Turkish community. He provided the material himself. Something happened to AKP members after March 31. The message he shared with photos: ‘The Maldives is beautiful but even more beautiful with grandchildren.’ Filiz also served as an AKP deputy. Formerly, AKP members who lost elections would go on Umrah. Now, Umrah has been replaced by the Maldives, Monaco.

It’s not right to generalize, of course. There are symbol photos that narrate and summarize an era. This is one of them. It’s not hard to guess how this image resonates among community segments that are the potential base of the AKP, struggling with the scorching cost of living and livelihood concerns. Aren’t you aware; anger against the AKP is growing…

The AKP was founded as the party of the destitute and the poor. Today it has turned into palaces with a thousand fifty rooms, luxury vehicles, endless convoys, vacations in the Maldives or Monaco. Those who swung spoons at the poor’s floor table have left, replaced by those eating lobsters in yacht clubs, vacationing in the Maldives with grandchildren.

The question ‘Isn’t this a goal?’ is now meaningless… It’s clearly a goal. Even the referee confirmed it. Look at the results of March 31… Once unraveling starts somewhere, it’s hard to stop it, even if you build dams, it’s unstoppable, it washes away everything like a flood. The unravelings and breaks in big parties like the AKP are noisy. The sounds you hear as ‘Lobster plate, Eid greeting list, vacation in the Maldives’ are the creaks coming from the AKP building…”

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