Election victory of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: The success of ideology

Why did Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also win these elections? Why does he get a lot of votes in Germany? Because he gives his constituents the feeling of being powerful.

Election victory of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan: The success of ideology

Hacı-Halil Usclucan leads center for Türkeistudien and Integration research at University of Duisburg-Essen. The migration scientist combines psychological and sociological topics in his research.

The re-election victory of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey leaves a question, from German point of view, above all: how, in face of corruption, diffraction of law, arbitrary arrests and massive restriction of freedom of press and opinion, can same Party, same politician got so much inflow?

Even if re have been irregularities in election and unfair reporting in advance, it is not enough to explain overwhelming advantage of Erdoğan's. Why are our intuitions often distorted when we assess political developments in Turkey?

With regard to Turkey, we will again witness that assumptions of classical modernization ory do not apply here. According to this ory, economic developments would also have to entail political liberalisation and extension of individual opportunities for action. But despite considerable technological and economic progress, Turkey has made enormous strides in rule of law, which cannot be explained solely in response to July 2016 coup attempt. The ACP government has once again become manifest, which has been latently pervading Turkish history since Ottoman Empire: an exaggeration of state which leads to a deafness of citizen. Not state is re for citizen, but citizen for state.

Hacı-Halil Uslucan

Is professor of modern Türkeistudien and scientific director of Centre for Türkeistudien and Integration research at University of Duisburg Essen.

How can a party, a president with so much corruption and nepotism recover, we rightly ask ourselves from German perspective. Now, corruption is a constant companion of younger Turkish politics. Even former political parties and politicians were corrupt, but brought less prosperity to general population. "We have built roads, bridges, mosques and hospitals": This "at Hizmet" (service) rhetoric is central component of ACP election campaign. It does not leave a moment to demonstrate what service, what services it makes as a government benefit to citizen. Water pipes and electricity in villages, roads, bridges, health insurance: All of this may be a matter of course in modern western societies, but AKP sells it as a sign of its special, Islamic-based care.

The second pillar of at Hizmet rhetoric is historical comparison: "Look how good it has been for country for 15 years." That is true – and this is an enormous effect for ACP clientele. However, over past 15 to 20 years, extraordinary technical and infrastructural improvements have taken place around world. This self-centeredness of Turkey not only impresses its gaze, it is even partly exaggerated in absurd when ACP speakers claim that West is now envious of Turkey.

The AKP once started as a party that took Islamic ethics seriously, and that frustrated electorate of secular politics gave guarantee of a transcendental anchor: God Himself was moral guardian at which y pretended to orient ir policies. Today, on or hand, rulers stand up with ir Machiavelli and go to sleep with him.

Reizfigur Erdoğan

In Europe, we have an adjusted view of Erdoğan, as was once again apparent in case of Özil and Gündogan. Erdogan is a Reizfigur in Europe because, ideally, we are oriented towards a factual policy, behind which individual politicians ' personal vanities and size fantasies have to resign. In Turkey, he is especially loved by his followers because he shows power and presence and always gives his followers self-efficacy: You can be proud of yourselves, you can do more than you trust many. Self-efficacy is based on subjective conviction and not always on objective.

In Germany, in this election, among electing Turks, Erdoğan support is significantly higher than in Turkey itself. If constitutional referendum 2017 still had a vote of 63%, Erdoğan preference now stands at 64%. The approval of "Cumhur Ittifakı", Alliance of ACP and MHP, is 61%, i.e. more than 10 percentage points higher than in Turkey. A massive anti-Erdoğan stance in German public has hardly changed anything about this – it could have driven election result even higher on contrary. However, turnout in Germany was only 50 percent.

Unraveling Everyday life

But where does agreement come from? Transnational networks, familiale and friendship relations between Turkey and young people ethnic-cultural reflexion effects often lead to a stronger ideologization of life in (supposed) diaspora. The spatial distance and lack of probation pressure of ideology in everyday life nourish identification potential and stylization of native size and power – especially if appropriate identification offers are lacking in this country.

Rar than systematically isolate or demonize this group, future goal must be to involve m more in local political processes. Especially impetus from Germany can be important in order to keep alternatives to status quo alive when dealing with state with its citizens and its minorities.

Date Of Update: 26 June 2018, 12:02

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