Rising above politics: A party or a leader’s game?

%23 percent of those who voted for the governing party and %29 of those who voted for the opposition both want a new political party. There really is a part of society that is unhappy with the state of law, democracy, and the economy, who have no more faith in politics, and who were disappointed by the lack of change wrought by the election; they are searching for a leader as they begin to coalesce.

Our country continues with speed to trend towards our corrupt, autocratic neighbours in the Middle East. The aforementioned people have moved to action out of their concern at this. It is needless to say that far from entering its second century as a middle democracy, our Republic has regressed to the level of an elective autocracy, and our GDP per capita has dropped from $15,000 to nearly half that level at $8,000.

These concerned and motivated groups want to institute the below structural reforms and turn Turkey into a prosperous, advanced democracy where the rule of law can flourish:

  • Make the judiciary completely independent from the executive and legislative branch; capable of providing high quality judicial services; bring into total compliance with the rule of law; and to protect fundamental rights and freedoms; especially protecting and strengthening the freedom of expression,
  • To effectively restrain and hold the executive to account via the judiciary and legislature; to increase the Grand National Assembly’s (TBMM) capacity to hold the executive to account and thus bring their relationship back into balance,
  • To establish autonomous institutions that formulate basic policy in areas such as education, the economy, national security, and foreign relations, and to enable a high degree of participation in their decision-making processes.

A visionary leader that can embody these ideals could win a resounding victory in the 2028 elections! But the leader who pledges to do so must be the same leader that puts an end to oligarchic politics, reforms politicians by putting them in their place, and ensures above all that everyone is answerable in full to the law. They must make an honest commitment to these points, and develop a sound strategy and roadmap for the goals listed here:

  • Creation of a code of political ethics and behavioural rules for public officials;
  • Creation of a special court of justice for the purpose of investigating and prosecuting crimes committed by high level public officials such as MPs, ministers, the president etc.
  • Curtailment of the central government’s competencies; removal of the delegacy system; banning block voting; tying party politician’s career progression to merit to democratise and inject dynamism into oligarchic political parties,
  • Separation of electoral districts from central administrative bodies; homogenisation of electoral districts such as to reduce as much as possible the number of leftover votes along the lines of the extant economic development zones; soundly reflecting the nation’s will in its government.

Seeing as the AK Party isn’t going to relinquish it’s incumbency or presidential powers, and hasn’t been able to identify a successor, it is pointless to expect Erdogan to bring about the change so desperately desired. The IYI Party is also unlikely to be the font of such change considering how unlikely their attraction of AKP voters and the consolidation of the nationalist bloc is.

So the only remaining hope is that the Republican People’s Party (CHP) can reform itself into the new party sought by those above. The political career of their strongest candidate, Ekrem Imamoglu, who in this contention stands against the party leader Kemal Kilicdaroglu, is in Erdogan’s hands, who will no doubt stand for election in 2028.

For the ideals mentioned, it is not enough that Imamoglu best Kilicdaroglu. Imamoglu, and others if there are any, must persuade those seeking a new affiliation and the wider public by rising above politics on the back of a new vision promising the transformation of the CHP and Turkey itself.

Otherwise, Turkey will no doubt continue to fruitlessly churn away in its long-familiar morass of problems.

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