Please take a good look at the photo above very closely. This photo is just one of the signs that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is pushing the boundaries of political opportunism and double standards as the elections approach.
Think of it this way: how would the AKP, its partner Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), or pro-government media react if the CHP or its opposition partner IYI Party’s Parliamentary Group Chairs visited the Kurdish-issue focused People’s Democracy Party’s (HDP) parliamentary group for a legislative move or constitutional change?
Even you can imagine the headlines and photo captions. To give you a hint, you can start with “the alliance of evil.”
Call them terrorists and ask for a vote after
However, the photo was taken with the AKP government’s Minister of Justice, Bekir Bozdağ, together with Mustafa Elitaş, Deputy Chairman of the AKP Parliamentary Group, and Ali İhsan Yavuz, Deputy Chair of the AKP in charge of electoral affairs, during their visit to the HDP Group in the Parliament on November 2. The AKP delegation was welcomed by HDP Parliamentary Group Deputy Chair Meral Danış Beştaş, Saruhan Oluç and HDP’s spokesperson Ebru Günay.
There are currently several indictments awaiting resolution in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey for the dismissal of the three members of the HDP lawmakers from their parliamentary positions. It is the Ministry of Justice that submitted those indictments to the Speaker’s Office to strip them of their parliamentary duties.
Elitaş will be among those who made speeches in the General Assembly when those indictments will be discussed, he will accuse HDP members of being outlawed PKK members and demand that people’s votes that bring them to the parliament be invalidated and they should be removed from the parliament.
But now, they need their votes, and that’s why they go to visit them with forced and fake smiles on their faces, shake their hands, and ask for their votes.
So what do they want their votes for? It is for a constitutional amendment. On the one hand, let’s remember that the HDP closure case, which was initiated by the AKP’s People’s Alliance partner MHP, is still ongoing in the Constitutional Court.
I think AKP members are mastering “opportunism and double standards” with this move.
Double standards and constitutional fuss
Let’s not miss the important detail. President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, with his last three moves, has changed the composition of the Constitutional Court significantly and made the Court more open to the influence of political power.
Under these circumstances, why does the AKP visit the HDP and ask for their votes?
Because President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan responded to CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s controversial “headscarf law” with a proposal to amend the Constitution. However, there are about 7 to 8 months left before the election. A constitutional rush has begun in the AKP.
There are two ways to amend the constitution. A minimum of 400 votes is required to make the amendment approved by the parliamentary vote alone, and at least 360 votes to submit it to a public vote and a referendum. Even though some claim that Erdogan would want to combine the election with the referendum in this case, this option would make things even more difficult for the AKP. Of course, all depends on what MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli asks for because he has a say over AKP.
Thin vote calculations and negotiations
That’s why the AKP wants to find the support of 400 deputies and get it done. But the support of MHP and BBP is not enough. Because the CHP has dismissed any “multi-item constitutional amendment” before the election, as CHP leader Kılıçdaroğlu said, “If you insist on the headscarf issue, we have submitted a draft bill; let’s vote that in the parliament.”
In this case, the only thing the AKP could do was knock on the door of the IYI Party and HDP – at the expense of angering Bahçeli. They appeared with forced smiles in front of the party and its executives, whom they wanted to throw out and aspire for their votes.
The IYI Party and HDP seem to enjoy this as well. Both said that they would discuss and make a decision at the party boards. So “negotiations” started.
What is abnormal here is not that the AKP visits the HDP and asks for votes. What is abnormal is that the AKP wants to expel the HDP and its executives from the Parliament, and that such contacts with the AKP are portrayed as “legitimate,” but are considered “illegal” or “criminal” to the CHP or other parties.
LGBT double standard
By the way, there is an important detail.
President and AKP leader Erdoğan pointed out that steps against LGBTI activities, including same-sex marriages, will be added under the name of “protecting and strengthening the family” into this constitutional amendment. However, the conservative part of the AKP is opposed to the inclusion of LGBTI practices in this package, which was brought with the justification of constitutionally guaranteeing the use of the headscarf, on the grounds that the two should not be mentioned together.
Therefore, if the AKP convinces the IYI Party and HDP, and the MHP accepts this, it intends to find the number 400 only for headscarves and sweep the rest under the carpet. In other words, all that anti-LGBT discourse may appear as an example of political opportunism and double standards in the coming days.
Also the fight against corruption
In the AKP’s “Century of Turkey” speech on October 28, Erdoğan stated that Turkey has taken very important steps in the fight against corruption during its 20-year rule and that more important steps will be taken if he is re-elected.
On October 25, a proposal submitted by the IYI Party to the Parliament to investigate corruption allegations had been voted on; it was rejected by AK Party and MHP votes.
On November 2, when the AKP delegation led by the Minister of Justice went to seek votes from the CHP and IYI Party, as well as the HDP, the proposal of the CHP’s to determine the methods of combating bribery and corruption, especially in public tenders, was rejected. Again with AK Party and MHP votes…
If these definitions are not enough to demonstrate the double standard, we can also look at the immediate broadcast ban on the news revealed by Halk TV about the allegation of bribery against the former TCDD General Manager, AKP member Süleyman Karaman.
In the 2021 edition of the world report published by Transparency International, Turkey was ranked 96th among 180 countries in the fight against corruption.
And the fight against drugs
Or the double standards in the fight against drugs…
In the video that CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu shared with Hacer Fogo, the head of the Deep Poverty Network, the link between poverty and the spread of cheap synthetic drugs such as methamphetamine caused the reaction of Interior Minister Süleyman Soylu and then President Erdoğan. Police and Gendarmerie filed criminal complaints against the CHP leader.
However, the information Kılıçdaroğlu gave was already taken from the Police’s Drug Report (which journalist Tolga Şardan wrote in Oxygen).
Immediately afterwards, candid photos of Gendarmerie General Commander General Arif Çetin with Galip Öztürk, who was on trial for drug smuggling and murder, went viral on social media.
Soylu launched the “Swamp Operation” on June 30, calling it “the biggest drug operation in the history of the Republic.” As of September 8, there were no detained defendants in this case.
You can say that it is not a double standard, people should not be imprisoned unless proven guilty. Then you may need to look at the exemplary status of the imprisoned defendants in the Gezi Case, whose cases have not yet been finalised in the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court.
It’s a double standard from head to toe.