Although Turkey is going to an election, it seems like the political players are not in the field. There has never been an election environment with the level of excitement and expectation so low. Rather than wondering what the political players may have to say, their programs and promises, people are anxious about the possibility that the election results may be determined by external players.
The politics and the change in the language used by candidates hasn't really appealed to the people, most probably due to the tension in the air.
Whatever the outcome, the most important results of this period before the election is the political parties going into a conservatism competition. The conservative rhetoric adopted by leftist parties during the June 7 elections has further deepened. After governed by conservative-democrats for 13 years, two leftist parties have been changing their colors only to leave permanent affects as conservative candidates.
The secular Republican People's Party (CHP), the fortress of the status quo, and the Kurdish nationalist Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) feeding on the Stalinist tradition, competing against the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in conservatism is a social and political matter of transformation that needs to be thought over.
The CHP hasn't abandoned its basic Kemalist dogmas. However, it seems that they have abandoned their old style when looked at the symbolic names it is showcasing, while also abandoning the language it previously used toward other parties in terms of secularism. Well at least the language it is currently using during its current election rallies is far from its previous style. Instead of its secularism centered commanding tone, it is now using symbols and discourse that may at times seem pleasant to the conservative base. Previously, the CHP would generally resort to warning those it believed to exploit religion for politics.
After its stark ideological past, adding conservatism to its sudden liberal-leftist image isn't surprising.
Bringing a leftist-liberal image out of the Stalinist, nationalist ideology for the PKK, can be regarded as the media's success.
However, these parties haven't even managed to make the declaration the AK Party made, using a shirt metaphor, during its transformation into a conservative-democrat nature. A conservative image is achieved merely through the political pragmatism of discovering a sociological reality.
The HDP's ability (or unscrupulous attitude) to develop a discourse appropriate for every environment it enters is appealing in this regard. Going as far as to reference the Medina Charter. They don't hesitate to use such language in the presence of mullahs and opinion leaders.
Although a little more timid than previous periods, the CHP isn't ashamed to preach to others about losing secularism.
Diversifying its candidate list with candidates wearing the headscarf to those who are muftis, and old Islamists to extremists, the CHP is making it harder for the AK Party. Because this image is greying the conservative-democrats' privilege of being conservative.
Some may draw the following conclusion from this image: How great is it that all parties pay attention to the conservatives and their values. And the fact that they won't even overlook their values, let alone polarize them is great too. This might be regarded as positive, by some, on behalf of conservatives.
Yet, the actual problem is that this is only an image, and nothing more; It is the exploitation of these values for politics rather than really adopting them. Exploiting the community's values as a means for politics has become a tradition in Turkey's politics, and this time it is conservatism.
The current period is like a bold reincarnation of a pragmatist rightist conservatism consisting only of respect to religion by “respecting the elders.” Their religion only consists of displaying conservatism, while all the culture and values birthed in this land are defeated, and systematically reduced to nothing. Either secular Kurdism and conservative Turkism are using the same language, or the unscrupulousness of equating an Islamic image to the moral corruption rejected by Islam is the distinction of the current states of conservatism.
There is a weird discourse used by Kemalist Turkish nationalists and Kurdish Kemalists, who are using a statist conservatism as the common ground.
The actual problem isn't how conservative each party is or whether they really are conservative, but what this conservatism includes and excludes. There is merely a conservatism that isn't anything more than an intellectual and political cultural pragmatism with undetermined principles.
The issue is whether the election campaigns go beyond assigning a meaning and value to conservatism while looking down upon symbols and values that represent this conservatism.
The real topic that needs to be discussed just as much as what should really be understood from conservatism is the issue of whether conservatist politics conservatize the system or whether it is groups that stand distant to the status quo that make connections to the system.
Conservatism, by its nature, shouldn't be confused with giving an appropriate image for every situation with groups trying to preserve their values and whose demands are sought after by different political channels
Our real worry is to avoid sparing the values of our country at the hands of liberal-leftists, liberal-rightists, statist-conservatism and nationalism. Who will gain from repeating the leftist version of the classic rightists and pro-status quo mentality that says “mosques are open?”