From Istanbul’s elections to Israel’s - İBRAHIM TIĞLI

From Istanbul’s elections to Israel’s

We are not the only ones anxiously awaiting the results of the Istanbul mayoral election: the world’s oppressed people are just as curious. I have been receiving calls from our friends in Africa during the past week, and have gleaned that they too are closely following the election results.

What significance could winning or losing Istanbul hold for someone living in Ethiopia’s Harare, Kenya’s Mombasa, or Nigeria’s Kano? Istanbul has been a model city for the ruling Justice and Development (AK) Party in municipal work. Many Middle Eastern, Balkan and African countries emulated the success achieved in Istanbul in their own cities.

When I visited Darfur, Sudan in 2008, the state governor had said they revamped the water, electricity and transportation system by taking the municipal system in Istanbul as an example. It is possible to give more examples. The steps of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s political journey started with him being elected as mayor of Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality after all, and not only Istanbul, but all of Turkey carried him to the top.

The Supreme Electoral Council (YSK) will determine who won and who lost the elections in Istanbul. Once the votes are finished being counted, Binali Yıldırım or Ekrem İmamoğlu is going to become the new mayor. In the event that Mr. Yıldırım wins, Istanbul is going to continue with quicker steps on its path with the support of the government. If Mr. İmamoğlu wins, Istanbul is going to embark upon a new course. We do not yet know what this course is.

There have always been unjust accusations against Turkey abroad. Claims that there is no democracy in Turkey and that Erdoğan acts like a dictator have always been voiced. These elections are an indication that the elections in Turkey are transparent, and that the people decide who will become president or not. These elections are proof that contrary to claims, Erdoğan does not act like a dictator, and that he highly respects democracy and the people’s choice.

Sometimes defeats lead to resentment in us; the grief of losing burns us. We should not feel that way at all. Sometimes, defeats too open the doors to victory. It gives us the opportunity to come to our senses, to go back to the pure state when we first started. However, we should not forget that there is no victory nor a defeat.

It needs to be noted that Israelis were also pleased about some metropolitan municipalities like Ankara being won by the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP). For the first time, the Israeli administration felt so strong against the Palestinians. The matter here is beyond the opposition winning or losing but that there are speculations that President Erdoğan is losing power. Yet, the people of Turkey are still behind their president, and showed that they support him with a vote of about 53 percent in these elections.

Israel is going to go to polls on April 9. The polls place Benjamin Netanyahu in the lead, and it is thought certain that he will take the prime ministerial seat. However, he does have strong competitors. According to the polls, former Chief of General Staff Benny Gantz’s votes may also be close to Netanyahu’s.

There is no difference between the candidates. Every party and leader are basing their election promises on killing more Palestinians and opening new occupation areas. Hence, U.S. President Donald Trump also said that two good “men” are competing. The U.S. approving the occupation of Golan Heights further paved the way for Netanyahu.

In a televised speech, Netanyahu said that Israel will annex the illegal Jewish settlement units in West Bank. Netanyahu considers the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem as threats. He says that he cannot tolerate even a Palestinian, let alone an independent Palestinian state. He sees those who support the Palestinian cause as enemies of Israel. Therefore, he is concerned with whether the Erdoğan-led AK Party wins Istanbul. He wants to isolate Jerusalem by separating it from Istanbul.

Regardless of whether Netanyahu or his rival wins the elections, nothing will change. There are about 250 illegal Jewish settlement areas in the West Bank, and they are going to want to add new ones to these. Israel, which has the U.S. backing it, is going to further occupy Palestinian lands. It is going to murder more Palestinians resisting the occupation, leading to further oppression.

One of the promises made by Israeli politicians in the elections is the legalization of marijuana. They are considering approving the entertainment-based consumptions of cannabis, especially to guarantee the votes of youth. Cannabis production has been legal for some time now, and it is also allowed to be produced medically. They also want to pave the way for its use as a drug and the legalization of its export. Israel now wants to drug the world it poisoned with GDO products by legalizing marijuana.

Many administrators have come and gone in Israel since 1948. They only thing that has not changed is that regardless of who comes, the occupations do not end and the massacre of Palestine continues. The presence of Arab deputies in the Israeli parliament does not make any difference. Because as long as Israel exists and has the U.S. to support it, neither its occupations nor its torture will end.

Though the Istanbul and Israel elections have very different meanings, Israeli administrators wanting Erdoğan to lose is not the sign of a political manifestation alone, because they know that Jerusalem cannot be separated from Istanbul, Cairo, Baghdad, and Damascus.


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