By Mumtazer Turkone
April 04, 2015
It is only natural to see all the political parties wanting to calculate the impact of the terrorist attack in Çağlayan on the election results in Turkey two months later.
There are also some rational reasons for this. Above all, similar planned incidents take place to affect political choices before every election. This time, it is a little different. The experience is not limited to elections alone. The causality between the power struggle within the state and political murders is taken as a fact. The relationship between the coup in 1980 and the bloody terrorist attacks in the 1970s is one of the reasons for this belief. The coup makers provoked violence and terrorist attacks in order to lay the grounds for a coup; even state officials themselves committed some of the bloodiest terrorist attacks in this process.
In a courthouse in Çağlayan, a prosecutor was taken hostage and was then murdered. This is a pretty grave terrorist incident that incited widespread anger. The question people have raised in response to this attack that took place two months before an election is on the causality I cited above. Who benefits from violence? How will a terrorist attack like the one in Çağlayan affect the elections?
Pro-government media outlets argue that the attack was against the government. Government figures including Recep Tayyip Erdoğan act as though the slain prosecutor was their party member and blame the leaders of other parties. But there is some weakness in these allegations. Only the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) can benefit from a terrorist environment before the elections. There is no single rational reason to believe otherwise.
In the elections, the AK Party relies on the fact that it is in power. The government which presented the Gezi protests as violent protests argued that it was a coup against the political administration. The propaganda machine focused on this goal and fabricated conspiracies like the Kabataş lie to prove this coup argument. This polarized society and Erdoğan consolidated support for him against the alienated others.
Similar propaganda arguments are being used for the bloody attack in Çağlayan as well. It is being argued that this attack was held to weaken the government and to ensure that it loses support in the election. But this time, it is hard to convince the masses because attacks by marginal groups like the one in Çağlayan raise people's concerns of chaos and lead to uniting against the government.
The only political party among the four major ones in the election that will increase its votes because of the terrorist attack based on this rational causality is the AK Party. The Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) is making efforts to ensure that terrorist attacks are forgotten because of its past. Kurdistan Communities Union (KCK) President Cemil Bayık is speaking like a peace dove. There is no single violent attack in places where the PKK holds control. The police even rely on excessive force to deal with the peaceful protesters in Şırnak who took to the streets against the power outages. The people already know that the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is strongly against violence. Such a factor has never played a role in the Republican People's Party's (CHP) political style so far.
Obviously, there is an election calculation with reference to terrorism. And it is the political government that is able to make and implement this calculation. The fake documents made up in government circles and published by pro-government media including those on the alleged assassination plan against Sümeyye Erdoğan prove that there is something illegal going on. Could cooperation with terrorist organizations become another option among these illegal things?
This question stays on people's minds as terror's election calculation.