The countdown for the local elections continues. There were two important meetings yesterday in Antalya and Istanbul.
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) members were in Antalya for a local election campaign led by party Chairman Devlet Bahçeli. And in Istanbul, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced his 40 mayoral candidates.
I watched Bahçeli, who spoke at the MHP meeting in Antalya, live on television, while I listened to the meeting held at Haliç Congress Center on location.
Mr. Bahçeli made clear statements with respect to the will to continue the “People’s Alliance” in the local elections as well. At times, he raised his voice and slammed the “Nation’s Alliance” that is at the establishment stage once more, against the People’s Alliance, calling it the “derogation alliance.” “We are doing our part regarding Turkey’s perpetuity problem,” he said. While criticizing the counter-alliance, he spoke about “unconditional support” regarding the continuity of the People’s Alliance. At the end of his speech, he made a gesture to the AK Party by saying that the MHP will have no candidates run in Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir.
It was not long before a response to this came from the Haliç Congress Center.
President Erdoğan said, “I thank MHP Chairman Devlet Bahçeli once again for declaring his loyalty to the People’s Alliance once more today,” and added, “We reiterate our loyalty to the ‘Peoples Alliance,’ which we, as the AK Party, see as one of the most important bases of our country and nation’s fight for perpetuity. I would also like to separately thank Mr. Bahçeli for not putting forth any candidates in Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir in support of the AK Party.”
AK Party Vice Chairman Hamza Dağ stated, “We could also make sacrifices in certain provinces.”
The People’s Alliance has handicaps in the local elections. Despite this, two gestures were made by two different parties yesterday. We can see more like these on Monday and Tuesday.
We hope an alliance can be built in the local elections too — at least in certain provinces and districts.
Let us continue.
Why weren’t candidates for the three metropolitan cities announced?
I overheard the lobbyists, analysts and candidates for nomination at Haliç Congress Center prior to the candidate introduction meeting in Istanbul.
I tried to breathe in the atmosphere. I tried to understand what was going on.
Information was given one day before that the Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir mayoral candidates would be announced in this meeting.
However, whatever happened after the meetings in the evening, the announcement of the candidates for the three metropolitan cities was postponed to Tuesday, or after the Argentina visit.
Once the information on this new situation reached the Haliç Congress Center, the excitement faded a little.
When we sought the answer to "Why aren't the candidates for the three metropolitan cities being announced?", a few facts spread from ear to ear.
Of course, President Erdoğan and those who spoke with him the previous night know the truth best, but I heard an AK Party deputy say, "This is the first time such ambiguity is in question."
Those who know me know, I never made any minister, deputy or mayor guesses in this column. I will not be making such a guess or speculations over names.
AK party members' test with internal rivalry
As far as I heard, learned, sensed and observed, I would like to summarize what happened through the atmosphere that reflected on the first candidate introduction meeting under a few headings:
There is a group among the AK Party that is still not happy about the People's Alliance.
Certain candidates' persistent attitude with respect to their "candidacy" has reached a disturbing level.
It is surprising that some candidates have expectations other than "mayorship."
The attitude of candidates for nomination, who forgot or are neglecting the principle, "I exist if my party exists," is being questioned.
Certain groups among the AK Party hitting below the belt in their rivalry is considered odd, but no solution can be found.
Those who have been turning a deaf ear to President Erdoğan's criticisms regarding "arrogance and pride," which he repeated dozens of times since the May 2017 AK Party Congress, continue to insist on such behavior.
Candidates for nomination forgetting gentlemanlike behavior in their competition is escalating tensions "among the parties."
Rivalry in local elections should be about the ability to respond to local demands, shouldn't it?
We all know that the People's Alliance to be established in local elections by the AK Party and MHP is critical, especially for Istanbul and Ankara.
Hence, when explaining the point reached in the discussions between the AK Party and the MHP, I mentioned "evolving from the ideal to rationality" in my previous article.
We are seeing two leaders "do what is necessary" in the face of reality again.
In response to this approach by the MHP, which will not put up candidates for Istanbul and Ankara, there is now an AK Party that will focus on a candidate that can get votes from the MHP voters as well.
Istanbul, Ankara and İzmir's AK Party candidates are known, but these were not announced yesterday.
After a little patience, we are going to see not only the AK Party's but also the other parties' or the counter-alliance's candidates in the next few days.
The subject of rivalry in the local elections should be: who is going to make our city more beautiful, improve it, deal with problems such as traffic, transport, parking, the environment, and who is going to be able to meet the essentials of a livable city, right?
What could be the response to main opposition Republican People's Party's (CHP) Tuncay Özkan's stereotypical discourse, in efforts to respond to the "İzmir is the neighborhood's most beautiful girl" statement by the AK Party member whose name has been mentioned as candidate for İzmir, in the local elections?
What is that?
But İzmir locals, are you still going to give credence to such discourses?