New CHP, but how?

After 1950, CHP got close to being the ruling party in the 1973 elections. The "CHP + Army= Rulership" formula had been abandoned, and Bülent Ecevit, who had overthrown the "National Chef" Ismet Pasha, had opened CHP to the public. Ecevit was representing the "New CHP", while Ismet Pasha was representing the "Old CHP". Ecevit, who had great support from the CHP base who were tired of being the opposition party, had won the leadership seat. Even Ecevit, who had come out of the 1973 elections as the first party, through his coalition with Erbakan Hodja, was "revolution" quality for CHP. Therefore, CHP"s rulership is not a "miracle", if they renew themselves by grasping the demands and tendencies of the public correctly.

Also today, CHP"s recovery from being the "chronic opposition" is possible if they can keep up with Turkey"s changing conditions and renew themselves. This dilemma CHP is facing was also valid for the "British Labor Party" in the 80s and 90s. The Labor Party, which had lost four elections since 1979, had been in the opposition position for 18 years. For the party personnel, who were living disconnected from the community and in despair, the "rulership" was a fairy tale country far away. Tony Blair, who had carried the party of such a mood to the rulership, had portrayed this table as follows:

"The party had almost started to believe that, no matter what they do, they cannot win, and with a divine or a malicious reason the chance to win will not be given to them. For some, it was something similar to the football epigram. During the football matches with the Germans, some would believe that the Germans would win, despite the fact that both teams have 11 players, and two 45-minute periods would be played. This idea was absurd. We had lost the elections, but the reason for that was our inability to contact with modern voters in the modern world; our connection was cut. In politics, there are no rules like inevitable defeats or inevitable victories. If you had correct policies and strategies, then you had a chance to win. If you don"t have those, then no matter how much you believe in victory, you cannot win."

Tony Blair had defined the party as the "New Labor Party" and announced the program in an assuring way. The slogan of the party was "New Labor Party – New England". The attempts to change the essential "4th Clause" of the Party"s Terms of Reference had been met with reactions from the conservative left wing. Blair, who had stated that no one other than the extreme left wingers are believing in this clause that is the holy document of the party"s ideology but no one had the guts to remove it, had said that "That was an idol, a taboo. Demolishing that figure would be changing the debilitative psychology, which was holding the party away from the rulership". As long as that clause had stayed, it would be impossible for the party to develop. Let"s see what Blair, who emphasized that the Labor Party that supports economic ideas which even Communist China had abandoned was a party with no chance to win, had said later on:

"We had been separated from the "normal" community. For decades, and even in the 18- year gap, the Labor Party was more of a "cult" rather than a "party". If you were to advance inside this structure, then you had to speak the right language and press the right buttons. This situation had taken so long that it seemed natural to the party members in the end. Even I had to learn it, but there were no other options other than doing part of this to achieve something."

As Blair entered the elections by renewing his party determinedly, with the majority of the votes he had arrived at the rulership. The Labor Party remained in power as the ruling party between 1997 and 2010. If CHP doesn"t renew itself and become a party of the New Turkey, then it will be an unwinnable party. "Always opposition – Always defeat" is a situation that is unsustainable for a party. CHP will either renew itself or disintegrate. The obstacle in CHP"s way is CHP itself and the mentalities that are imposing CHP.


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