The Supreme Electoral Council(YSK) keeps postponing release of its reasoned decision on the re-run of the Istanbul mayoral election. The reasoned decision had been expected to be announced last Monday; now, with the arrival of each new day, we mutter “Perhaps today” to ourselves. . .
A close friend of mine says: “They wouldn’t announce the reasoned decision until June 23.” I personally guess the announcement would come earlier than that; but I interpret my friend’s anticipation as an implicit view of her, like: “It would be better for them if they didn’t make the official announcement before the election day.”
According to what we hear, their ‘reason’ for the re-run of the election, announced on the day they took the decision, must have been found not good enough that the members of the Council voted in favor of the re-run have renewed their reasons. It is said that they would include those new reasons in their reasoned decision… So, according to what we hear again, the official announcement is delayed because the dissenting members wish to expand their minute of dissent by including those new reasons.
The people to write the reasoned decision down are facing a very difficult job.
Difficult, because, while they are working hard to find new reasons for the re-run, some pro-government commentators appear before their readers with pieces that would invalidate the new, later-found reasons. Due to such pieces in newspapers, the new reasons would inevitably be discredited.
AK Party renews its election campaign -but why?
I have two examples for such pieces from pro-government commentators to make my point above understood better. [I have plenty of examples, but I am content only with these two.]
My first example is from a columnist with reliable news sources within the AK Party.
In his piece yesterday, our columnist reveals particulars of AK Party’s election campaign to be conducted during the coming month, basing his piece on information he gathered from within the party.
He informs us that AK Party will radically change its election campaign. He says: “AK Party’s election campaign is almost just the opposite of the one that run during the March 31 election. What were done then will not be done, and what were not be done then will be done this time.” According to him, national security based so-called ‘matter of survival’ will be excluded from the rhetoric this time, and a peculiar strategy targeting Kurds and residents of Istanbul with Black Sea origin will be pursued.
But did the Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) take its decision for the re-run because AK Partyconducted a wrong campaign, and therefore failed to make its candidate elected?
“We won, but our victory was taken away.” This has been AK Party’s claim so far, no? Didn’t the AK Party’s mayoral candidate say, “Because they stole votes” as his explanation for the re-run?
What happened that a radically new strategy towards Kurds and citizens with Black Sea origin is now projected in order to increase number of votes from these section of the city people?
Did AK Party lose the election in reality, but instead of accepting this fact is it trying to blame the CHP for stealing votes?
What can the members of the Council in favor of the re-run do in such a case?
Some take it upon themselves to lay the groundwork
The second example belongs to a ‘more insider’ columnist. This commentator, a former MP from AK Party, appears to have taken it upon himself to fulfill the task of laying the groundwork for the new campaign assumed to bring the expected success.
There is a phrase which reads “to take it upon oneself to do something”, and this columnist do exactly that in his piece yesterday.
He seems to be asking himself the question of “From which section of the Istanbul population may AK Party collect new votes in order to deal with the vote gap in the March 31 election?” and answering it as “From supporters of another party closest to AK Party.” Which party is it, you would guess? Yes, you are right. It is Saadet Party (Felicity Party, the party that AK Party originated from -TN).
Saadet Party’s candidate in the Istanbul metropolitan municipality election had obtained 103.300 votes. It is almost obvious who would win the election in the re-run if these voters switch sides and vote for AK Party this time. Some small parties which came out of the March 31 election with low vote rate withdrew their candidates, but Saadet Party did not do that. What is to be done is to target supporters of this party and to urge them to vote for AK Party with a convenient rhetoric…
The columnist is asking:
“How could you explain your grassroot the rationale behind letting your candidate to run again in the re-run despite the fact that he could collect only 103.000 votes out of 10 million? Won’t all the effort and money be wasted for nothing? Will you do this in order to let the candidate, supported by FETÖ and PKK, win the election against your brother? Is this Milli Görüş? Is this being against prodigality? Is this brotherhood? Engaging in ethical politics? Wisdom?”
(FETÖ is the derogatory reference to the outlawed Gülen’s Movement, and PKK is the abbreviation of the armed Kurdish organization, committing terrorist acts. Milli Görüş (National View) refers to the religion-inspired vision and political tradition of Saadet Party-TN)
When I read these lines, I couldn’t help but smile thinking the impossible task of the Electoral Council members who are about to announce their reasons for the re-run of the election.
Because, such writings make their challenging task even more challenging.
Saying, “Our votes were stolen; deceits were committed; irregularities in the formation of the balloting committees were detected, and faulty entries into electoral records took place” and basing the demand for re-run on such claims is something, and, saying “A wrong election campaign was pursued; we couldn’t express ourselves well to the Kurds and people with Black Sea origin, and if Saadet Party had not participated in the election with its own candidate, we would have won the election” is something completely different.
In these circumstances where such views are expressed in pro-AK Party papers, what one may expect from the Council regarding its excuses for its decision for re-run?
The longer it takes for the Council to announce its reasoned decision, the more untenable the likely reasons expected to be incorporated into the detailed decision become, particularly because of the pieces and commentaries in favor of the re-run appearing in the media.
In any case, I am eagerly looking forward to the announcement of the reasoned decision.
[Translated by Bernar Kutluğ from the the article appeared in this site’s Turkish section on May 22, 2019]