bizi bizden daha iyi anlatan yorumu altında barındıran makalenin ismi. noktasına virgülüne kadar katılıyorum.
a lot of people don't understand why people keep voting for erdogan, even in the west of turkey. the educated elites, the “white turks” wring their hands and despair at how election after election gets won by a man who shares none of their values.
the truth is, most of turkey consists of very conservative, pious, hardworking people who see the world in very different ways than the western liberal elite. ıt would be more accurate to compare most turks to the chinese or central asians than to germans or canadians.
the educated “white turks” are not very different in mentality from most europeans and, if you spend too much time around such people, you may get the false impression that atatürk's vision succeeded and that turkey is a modern, democratic country, at least in aspiration, with its face turned towards the west. however, you do not need to go far out of your way to encounter the “other turkey”, a much more traditional place.
i am not going to pour crap on the people of central anatolia, put them down as “ignorant” or narrow-minded the way many white turks do, but these are the people europe recoils from. these are the “too poor, too conservative, too ıslamic” majority. and they are the majority when it comes down to it. most of them are good people. they are kind, hospitable, friendly people, they are not monsters or fanatical totalitarians.
but the culture is authoritarian, collectivist and hierarchical. there are strict gender roles and deviance is not tolerated. ıt is not a society that seeks democracy or human rights beyond prosperity, these are just words. history has taught these people to obey those more powerful than them, to follow leaders and be grateful for whatever they get.
the akp reflected their values. it speaks their language. akp politicians don't just turn up at election time asking for their votes, they are an ever-present big brother that the people can always turn to. the party is active all year round in their neighbourhoods and communities, it is always ready to listen to their needs. people see how the akp has given them opportunities, nurtured them, not criticized them for their “backwardness” or demanded they change their culture. ıt has not insisted that they look down on their religion or change their style of dress.
sadly, years of secularist, elitist arrogance has created a reaction and this is what we see in erdogan. erdogan is a master politician, he knows his people and he addresses their concerns exclusively in the same way the chp used to serve only the interests of the “white turk” elites. he has a story that is immensely compelling and, in turkic terms, makes his life a “destan” (epic poem). he has become a legend in his own lifetime to a,huge part of the populace.
now, erdogan represents his own people, the message to the rest is “love it or leave it”, he doesn't mess about. he has a vision for the country and you can be on board or overboard, he is not interested in debate. he is a strong leader for a community raised from birth to admire strong leaders. those who love him, love him with an almost fanatical devotion. for them, he is the man who took a people with nothing and gave them something. after years of being put down, he made them feel valued.
i watched several of erdogan's campaign speeches this time around and it is impossible to deny the power of his bond with his people. what he says and how he says it disgusts the liberal elite but they are not his audience, he does not care about them. with his people, he is like a beloved uncle. his style of address is conversational, relaxed, affectionate. honestly, it is not hard to see why people love him. ı would, personally, like turkey to become a modern, progressive social democracy in the way that atatürk envisaged. ı feel strongly that a culture based on solidarity among strong individuals in an egalitarian, open democracy is the best environment for human beings to realize their fullest potential. but, you cannot force people to go where they do not want to go. that is the hardest and bitterest pill for the kemalists to swallow.
erdogan keeps winning because he, more than any other politician, knows how to speak to the majority. he is one of them, he is not faking anything or condescending to anyone. he reflects who they are right back to them. ıt might seem that ı admire the president, but, in fact ı do not. ı do, however respect him. his critics take him much too lightly, he is a master politician and an excellent communicator for a specific part of the population.
personally, ı stand with atatürk and his aspirations for turkey, but there can never again be a path forward that puts down part of the population. enough trying to force people into moulds they do not want to be cast into. people will change in their own time if they change at all. for now, we need to.learn from the example set by 16 years of consistent akp victory and realize that kemalism has made this rod for its own back. erdogan has proven the cleverer, more accomplished politician. he understands not all the people, but his people, and he knows how to divide and neutralize the rest. ı don't judge anyone for voting for erdogan, from their perspective it makes total sense to do so.