There is a strategy team in the kitchen of the Justice and Development (AK) Party who watches the election campaign, weighs the pros and cons of political parties, evaluates their discourse and promises and monitors how these are received by the public.
It is a team who holds discussions, determines strategies and sometimes daily tactics by evaluating what their party and their rivals have to offer.
President Erdoğan attends some of their closed-door meetings and all subjects are discussed.
For example, the election manifesto declared by Erdoğan on Sunday took its final form after passing through this team.
Yesterday, I called a member of this strategy team and had a talk with him.
I asked what they were doing, and how they were preparing for the elections.
My friend described the nature of the team first:
“We are working as a confident team who is sure of what they are doing and knows very well the theory and practice of the strategies of political communication and marketing,” he said.
So what will be the main theme, or the motto, of this election?
2011 discourse in campaign
From what I see, the “We are Turkey altogether” theme which made a mark in the 2011 election campaign will constitute the main dynamic of the path leading to the 24 June.
There were traces of this theme in the manifesto.
The AK party member I spoke to reiterated this expression used by Erdoğan in his speech on Sunday:
“If one of us is not free, none of us can be. If one of us doesn’t see a safe future, none of us can.”
The emphasis on freedom, democracy, reforms and justice the AK Party refers to shows that it will greet voters “with a positive discourse” throughout the campaign.
So, what about the opposition?
In the AK Party group meeting held yesterday, President Erdoğan criticized the discourses of his rivals by saying “What kind of dwarf policy is this?” and added:
"When one looks at the opposition, it can be seen that one of them has an eye on the house of the nation, one of them has an eye on the aircrafts of the state, and one of them has an eye on the administration system.
One of them says he will stay in Çankaya, one says he will give the Presidential Palace Complex to the youth.
What kind of dwarf policy is this?
The nation is waiting to hear what you will construct, not what you will destruct.”
Erdoğan’s call to the opposition to declare what they build, not what they will destroy, is important.
I watched Muharrem İnce during his visit to the Confederation of Turkish Trade Unions.
While saying “Tayyip Erdoğan is not my concern,” he only spoke about the Presidential Palace Complex and the guards.
Meral Akşener, who is the presidential candidate of the İYİ (Good) Party and has failed to pay back her consumer loan or credit card debt is talking about undertaking the debt of 4.5 million people.
If there certain criteria are determined, this may be a good promise.
However, for such a door to be opened as Akşener promises would carry the matter to the peak of populism.
Just think about the exploiters who withdraw money from banks haphazardly, spend this money ambivalently and think that regardless of their actions, one day an election will come and the state will undertake those debts.
On the other hand, would it not be unjust for those who work tirelessly to close their debts?
Dual rivalry for 30-35 percent
The common target of İnce and Akşener who will run against Erdoğan in the presidential election on June 24 is the president himself.
No target can be more natural than this within the scope of democratic rivalry.
However, it can be observed that these two figures share similar features when their discourse is analyzed.
An opinion researcher whose statement and surveys I trust said both of these figures are addressing the same pool in terms of vote capacity.
A pool of 30/35 percent.
We can predict that the votes in this pool will be shared by İnce and Akşener.
Both of them are struggling to gain votes from the remaining pool of 65-70 percent, yet their performances up to now and their profiles are not found charming by anyone other than the secular nationalist grassroots of the Republican People's Party (CHP) and Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).
The numbers of those who say they will not vote for Tayyip and the AK Party and will either İnce or Akşener is not enough to impact the result of the election.
We will continue to follow the process taking research into account.