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AKİF BEKİ

abeki@hurriyet.com.tr

AKİF BEKİ >Did Aliyev set an example intentionally?

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Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev took constitutional amendments to a referendum five months ago and they were approved by a rate of 87 percent of the votes. He has now appointed his wife as the first vice president of Azerbaijan. 

People are complaining that the “timing” couldn’t have been more meaningful. People are asking, “Couldn’t he have waited a couple of months” so that Turkey’s referendum would be over by then? If you look deeply enough, you can even find those who would accuse Aliyev of being a “secret naysayer.” 

It is as if he has made his latest appointment to play into the hands of the “no” voters. It is as if he made the decision intentionally so as to highlight similarities with the model being proposed in Turkey and Azerbaijan’s presidential system. 

Well, as a matter of fact, there is no situation for the “no” front to rejoice, and there is no parallel between the two democracies that may cause the “yes” front to panic. Add to this that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and President Aliyev are not the same. 

But again, you cannot stop people from reaching arguments by analogy because there is a referendum involved, there is voting and there is the will of the majority. 

In my opinion, it did not even cross Aliyev’s mind to negatively affect the referendum in Turkey. If it had ever occurred to him that his act would be interpreted as support for the naysayers, then he would have postponed his appointment and would have used his power a couple of months later.  

No matter what Aliyev’s intention is, the “no” front would not miss this opportunity. 

In Turkey, voters, who ended the military, judicial and Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) tutelages, are being asked to end the tutelage regime for the last time. 

As a matter of fact, there is a genuine demand for proper information on the proposed system without shifting the focus and smothering it with slogans. 

Those who should be the happiest about it should be those who trust in the correctness of the model and those who defend the presidential system, believing in its credibility, right? 

Remember secret AK Party fans in the past? 

Whose fault is it that while the yea-sayers are racing with each other to publicize the color of their votes, certain naysayers are hiding deeper?    

You know, there is a phenomenon called a free environment, respect for choice, quality competition, qualified arguments and something called first-class democracy… Is there a lack of courage in these secret naysayers, or are they cowards in not revealing themselves?  

Or we can post the question like this: Why is there not a single soul who will declare openly and proudly that he or she will vote “no,” but everybody suspects that that person will secretly vote “no” at the ballot box? 

Didn’t we experience something similar in the first years of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party)? 

You know, you will remember that same environment in which voters did not even admit to themselves that they would vote for Erdoğan for fear of being embarrassed and harassed in their own neighborhood.

They never appeared in surveys; they were not around; if they had to, they said, “We voted for other parties.” 

When they made their surprises at the ballot box, the opposition was appalled. 

Wasn’t there a secret AK Party supporter phenomenon? You know those who did not show up in public surveys, who surprised people at the ballot box and made everybody ask, “Where did they come from?”

Well, when the number of those hiding their choices increases, that means some things are not going right.

Be careful.

February/24/2017

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