I am trying to put myself in Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's place, imagining what he must be feeling right now. For days it was being written that "the presidential election process was directed very badly." In fact, some of those same writings indicated that the political price would be very high for the bad direction of the elections. Former president Suleyman Demirel used to say this: "Nothing can hold the place of a victory." When we look at the election results, we see a very real and clear "political victory" in the open. And where there is victory, it means there were successful roads leading towards that victory. This is no doubt what Erdogan was thinking yesterday evening.
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Some of us were pleased by the April 27 military "e-communique." There were those who openly supported it. The period that followed this internet "memo" by the military was directed very calmly and steadily by Erdogan. Still, many continued to insist: Citizens don't like an administration in conflict with the military. But this is also true: Citizens don't like military interventions. Erdogan emerged successfully from this period.
For months now, assertions that Turkey's economy is not going well, or that "money is not entering the pockets of normal citizens" have been being printed. Erdogan said this during his campaigning:
"Those who are worse off than they were 5 years ago should not vote for me." And, proffering up such an enormous challenge, his party still emerged with 10 points more of the general vote than it did in the last elections.
Erdogan did something very important over the course of the past 5 years: He did not extend respect and esteem to populist economy.
What this really means is this: The populist economics of the 1970s and the 1990s, which ruled Turkey during those decades, are finally over. Erdogan has proven this. In any case, he has emerged with a giant victory at the ballot boxes, and yesterday evening, I couldn't help but wonder to myself what his thoughts were at this moment.
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For example, I wonder if he was thinking about this answer to this question at all:
How much is this victory related to my policies from the past, or to the recent signals I have made about change, or to the new cadres I have formed?
Of course, there is no way I can know what he is thinking. But as a citizen of Turkey, I can express the following wish:
I hope that this victory leads towards a balanced new central politics. I know that as the leader of the winning politica parties, on day after this victory, there is no way Erdogan will express this.
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Before these elections, Erdogan promised to be a prime minister for all of Turkey. I think that the general vote he received needs to be accepted by everyone as a reflection that the people of Turkey have embraced this promise. And everyone now needs to accept that perceiving the vote for the AKP as a "religious vote" is anathema to both logic and sociology.
Erdogan now sits firmly in the central right tradition of the Menderes-Demirel-Ozal troika.
And I do not believe he will act in opposition to the general profile of this tradition. Which is why the Hurriyet headlines yesterday morning were "We are a family of 70 million." Yesterday morning we were a family of 70 million. This morning it is the same thing. No one needs to worry.