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بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Istanbul Mayoral Elections and System Debates

     The heavy defeat of AK Party and People’s Alliance in the renewed Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality election on June 23 put the system debate back on the agenda. Among the opposition parties, CHP leader, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, IYI Party leader, Meral Akşener. and Saadet Party leader, Karamollaoğlu, called for a return to the strengthened parliamentary system. On the AK Party side, the new presidential system is considered to have some deficiencies, and it is stated that they will continue by rehabilitating and making up the shortages with over one year of experience. MHP Chairman, Devlet Bahçeli, warned AK party’s staff that the opposition party will benefit from debates made in front of the public after the defeat on June 23 elections.

     It is of course an opportunity for the “Nation Alliance”, led by CHP, to call for a return to the old English parliamentary system with the motivation of the high vote in the June 23 Istanbul mayoral elections. Regardless of whether it is going to be returned to the old system or not, CHP will have created a public opinion in this direction and put the deficits, shortcomings and failures of the ruling party on the table openly in public. This can cause some destructions in AK Party’s and MHP’s "Republican People’s Alliance." Therefore, the pro-British “Nation Alliance” will benefit from re-system debates, and it can provide political support for the opposition parties.

     But this is not the case for the ruling AK Party and President Erdogan. It seems that it will not be easy to escape from politic psychological traumas by virtue of the heavy defeat on the June 23 elections. The loss of Istanbul, which was won 25 years ago from the SHP, which in fact is today's CHP, and the trauma of handing over the government of the city to the CHP, is not a situation that can be easily overcome. This is especially harder since the country struggles with economic crises. After the June 23 defeat, we can say that the process is going to be more challenging if the unrest within the party, upcoming divisions and establishment of new parties are speculated.

     In fact, I will not elaborate further on the political propaganda carried out through the system debate by both, the pro-American Republican Alliance and the pro-British Nation Alliance, because they are essentially trying to cover up everything else by opening up this debate. With this debate, they show how disconnected, how far they are from the people and from the people’s troubles. While people are suffering from shortage of livelihoods, being unable to pay their debts, and since unemployment has reached an extreme level, both, the ruling and the opposition parties, are continuing the system debate.

     What we as Muslims should see in this process is that these systems cannot solve people's problems. Both of these systems have not been introduced and implemented to solve the problems of the people. On the contrary, on one side - the parliamentary system - maintained the political influence of the British, which served as the European side and their interests. The other - the presidential system - was developed and put into practice to strengthen the political influence of the Americans and to serve their interests. None of these systems were cooked in the kitchen of Muslims. They do not belong to us and the kitchen where they are prepared and served is not our kitchen.

     This is the result of the June 23 elections and the new political atmosphere that evidently proves it. This is the final outcome that brought Muslims at this stage: a big disaster and disappointment. The final end after Erbakan and his Milli Gorus policy that lasted for more than 30 years and Erdogan and his AK Party policy of about 20 years, brought the Muslims to a big fiasco and a big frustration. What did these leaders and political parties provide Muslims in the Islamic sense during these fifty years of struggle? The point we are now is that Muslims nearly have started to rely on the party that abolished Khilafah, the CHP, and its current Istanbul municipal. Frankly speaking, this non-Islamic but democratic policy, that Mr. Erbakan and his student Erdogan followed, made Muslims vote for their own opponents/enemies. How could June 23 elections be evaluated?

     If one country, whose Republican regime has persecuted, massacred and treated the Muslim Kurdish people as the other, votes today for the CHP, which is the founding party of that regime, then the parties that are supposedly Islamist have not given anything to these Muslims. That means you could not solve any of their problems. You were not able to assert an Islamic idea or a project. It's not a matter of making roads, bridges, airports; it's a matter of binding the hearts and souls. You cannot do that in the kitchen you are working in because it is your chefs and your masters who decide what kind of food to cook in that kitchen.

     In addition, you leave such a bad experience behind of you; that people see your administration as an Islamic administration, because you are Muslim and you keep on using Islamic rhetoric, and therefore they impose your mismanagement on Islam. The owners of the regime said half a century ago that in order to integrate the Muslims into this secular democratic system, “come and found a party, work, ask for votes from the people, and if you win, you can rule.” You set up a party, you asked Muslims to vote by saying, “We will serve Islam, and you integrated them in this non-Islamic system.” Then you came into power, but you did not implement anything of Islam and you did not serve Islam. In summary, you have fulfilled the duty of making this secular democratic order more popular among Muslims. Do you know what the owners of that regime say now? We gave you the opportunity, but you failed in governing, and you are unable to rule, so we are back in the driver’s seat.

     This is the present situation of the so-called “political Islam” which started with Mr. Erbakan and continued with Erdogan. We hope that this will be an experience and a lesson from the situation for the Muslims, such that it will lead them to the Islamic political actions based upon the Islamic belief, and that they will offer the Ummah the ruling system of Islam, namely the Khilafah Rashidah, as an alternative for the parliamentary system of the worn-out Kemalists and the indefinite presidential system of the liberal democrats. And eventually, they will establish the Khilafah Rashidah upon the method of prophethood with the help of the Ummah, inshaAllah.

Written for the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir by
Mahmut Kar
Head of the Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir in Wilayah Turkey

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