Last week, Turkey officially embraced General Elections season geared towards June 12. Mainstream parties came up with their candidates for each city and projects for their next term in the parliament. Promises range from increased unemployment payments to families to new cities to be built. In a country where basic human rights, both politically and economically still lack, pre-election promises left and right display a state of communal frenzy, so does talk show arguments by the candidates of governing AKP as well as main opposition CHP.
If you move just a little away from the mainstream, you observe a systematic crackdown of the opposition by the state. Most Kurdish NGO representatives are already in jail, not convicted but under arrest for months, and pressures on the media makes it almost impossible for non-mainstream politicians to voice their thoughts often. Yesterday, police even crackdown a wedding in SouthEast Turkey and hit the scull of a 20 months old baby with a gas grenade. (He is now in critical condition.) This is the extend of oppression directed towards the minorities and “people of the lesser fate” in Turkey.
In an era when every dissenting thought is considered a terrorist crime and prosecuted accordingly, in a country where the government officials see bombs and books both as threats to social integrity, election propaganda is reduced to century old clichés. Voice of conscience disappear among the hurdle of greedy nepotism.
One might say that’s the same chorus preaching the same lines in every election in Turkey. But what about the flock? The flock is getting weirder and weirder by the year.
A (although not-so-recent) survey by Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS) show that even though they cannot pay their debt, and 55% are living under the poverty line, 87,6% of Turkish people say they are happy. Increasing unemployment rate, significant inflation in food and gas prices are not affecting their happiness seemingly since the happy rate in 2005 survey rose from 72,8% to 87,6% in 2010. They seem like lost in a spending frenzy albeit they only have credit cards to spend with. (Another survey last year showed credit card usage in grocery items doubled recently.)
Depth in perception increasingly lost in public opinion in Turkey. Discrimination and survival of the fittest is abound in every aspect of life. Unbelievable increase in current account deficit and alike decrease in production promises a darker future for the people. The author hopes the balloon bursts for Turkish people pretty soon, otherwise they are bound for a social nightmare in the near future.
Hence we brace for a hectic election process once again. It is disheartening though, knowing the winners and losers from the start. Free will and democracy will lose on June 12th, go figure the oxymoron.