President Tayyip Erdoğan’s speech at the Ankara Chamber of Commerce’s conference hall on July 6 as the leader of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) revealed his greatest concern. It is the fear that he might lose the election has gotten Erdoğan and he correctly identified the reason for this fear: the 2023 election to be an election of anger and resentment.
That’s why he said, “This election is not an election where we can act on anger, resentment, and greed.”
To whom did he address? It was the “Former Mayors” of the AKP, whom he invited to Ankara for a supposed “consultation and evaluation” meeting. The meaning of consultation and evaluation is usually to give a speech to them.
Even holding such a meeting shows that Erdogan is now aware of the blood loss in his own party and is trying to stop it.
This twenty-year rule has seen many coming and going. It is not possible to please everyone. But the fear of losing the election has gotten the AKP leader. He clings to the promise of “we will make up for the losses”.
“We were defeated because they are united against us”
The President’s speech yesterday made the headlines with his words “We will bring inflation under control in February-March”. Very natural. Because he himself knows that the most important reason for the “anger” felt against the AKP government, which is supported by MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli, is the cost of living, financial difficulties, inflation and unemployment. So it’s not just that ex-mayors feeling neglected is a problem. It’s the ‘resentment’. Not every former mayor can be appointed as a deputy minister, or board member in a benefice.
The fact that the AKP lost especially the Istanbul and Ankara mayors to the CHP is Erdogan’s “great sadness” and that he is still emphasizing this after three years, shows how deep the wound is. These two sentences includes another confession and a promise:
“It is a fact that the elections in these cities were lost not because our vote declined, but because all of our competitors were united against us. We are determined to make up for our losses as soon as possible.”
The confession is that it was the Nation Alliance that CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu established with İYİ Party leader Meral Akşener that defeated the AKP and MHP’s People’s Alliance in 2019.
Erdogan’s promise to “make up”
The phrase “because they are united against us” also expresses his concern of the “Table of Six” for this election; this is an “external fear”; namely, a fear that is outside of his party. On the other hand, he tries to eliminate the fear within the party by saying “we are determined to make up for our faults at the first opportunity”.
That is to say, “I know that you may be angry and upset with me, but if you still will not leave my side, I will make up for your losses,” the AKP leader says.
He points to the AKP’s election victory in the Dodurga town of Çankırı, where the opposition did not even nominate a candidate, as a sign that the AKP will return to good times once it wins the election.
I understand from these words that Erdogan aims to stop the internal bleeding by making promises to the “resented” in the 2023 elections.
I think the July 6 speech should be considered as an expression of Erdogan’s recognition of “internal bleeding” and his trying to prevent it with new moves by taking into account the possibility of losing the election.
The 2023 election has really started to be an election of anger for those who are against the AKP government, as well as for the victims of the economic crisis on the side of the People’s Alliance, and for those who cannot find what they are looking for within the AKP.