AK Party goes green for elec­tion cam­paign, calls on other par­ties to fol­low its lead

In the AK Party’s pro­vin­cial heads meet­ing, Pres­i­dent Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan an­nounced 14 more can­di­dates for the up­com­ing lo­cal elec­tions, call­ing on all par­ties to use more tech­nol­ogy-based and less pol­lu­tion-caus­ing cam­paigns

Daily Sabah (Turkey) - - Front Page - ÖZGENUR SEVİNÇ - ANKARA

STREETS dec­o­rated with col­or­ful flags of all the po­lit­i­cal par­ties, posters of can­di­dates on walls and posts, mini­vans driv­ing around with loud­speak­ers play­ing cam­paign songs. This chaotic pic­ture, which was de­scribed as vis­ual pol­lu­tion by many, would be on dis­play dur­ing pre­vi­ous elec­tion pe­ri­ods in the streets of Turkey. How­ever yesterday the rul­ing Jus­tice and De­vel­op­ment Party (AK Party) an­nounced that for the March 2019 mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions these tra­di­tional meth­ods will be elim­i­nated and in­stead be made more en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly through the uti­liza­tion of so­cial me­dia chan­nels. “We are com­pletely leav­ing cam­paign meth­ods that cause vis­ual and noise pol­lu­tion. We have de­cided to fol­low a cam­paign re­spect­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and peo­ple,” Pres­i­dent and Chair­man of the AK Party Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan said yesterday dur­ing the party’s ex­tended pro­vin­cial heads meet­ing at party head­quar­ters in Ankara. Er­doğan un­der­lined that in or­der to pre­vent vis­ual pol­lu­tion, the party will only be al­lowed to dis­play flags in the re­gions of party or­ga­ni­za­tions and elec­tion co­or­di­na­tion cen­ters. The AK Party elec­tion buses will not be tour­ing ex­cept on spe­cific times set be­fore­hand. Er­doğan un­der­scored that so­cial me­dia and other medi­ums will take the place of tra­di­tional cam­paign meth­ods.

AS a party known for its green poli­cies, it is not hard to un­der­stand why the AK Party opts for hold­ing a more mod­ern and tech­no­log­i­cal elec­tion cam­paign.

In the main squares of the cities, it is pos­si­ble to see po­lit­i­cal par­ties set­ting up stands next to each other dis­play­ing party ban­ners and dis­tribut­ing brochures. The party buses of dif­fer­ent par­ties parked there also loudly play cam­paign songs that merge with the all the other songs play­ing.

“There has been in­creas­ing dis­tur­bance in all parts of so­ci­ety dur­ing the elec­tion cam­paigns which of­ten turn into a demon­stra­tion of po­lit­i­cal power. Hang­ing ban­ners and play­ing cam­paign songs from buses be­long in the 1990s; re­spond­ing to the de­mands of the peo­ple AK Party took the ini­tia­tive as the rul­ing party to end this,” said İs­mail Çağlar, the so­ci­ety and me­dia re­search di­rec­tor at the Foun­da­tion for Po­lit­i­cal, Eco­nomic and So­cial Re­search (SETA).

Er­doğan also called on other po­lit­i­cal par­ties to give up old cam­paign­ing tools harm­ing the en­vi­ron­ment and adopt new meth­ods.

Stress­ing the in­creas­ing use of the in­ter­net in Turkey and across the world, Er­doğan said that it is pos­si­ble to reach out to more peo­ple via so­cial me­dia rather than hold­ing meet­ings in cities.

Cur­rently, 4 bil­lion peo­ple use the in­ter­net glob­ally and 3 bil­lion of them are so­cial me­dia users. In Turkey, the num­bers are also high; there are 54.5 mil­lion in­ter­net users and 51 mil­lion so­cial me­dia users.

Er­doğan him­self is an ac­tive user of so­cial me­dia as he has over 13 mil­lion fol­low­ers on Twit­ter.

Çağlar un­der­scored that it is no sur­prise that the AK Party de­cided to hold an elec- tion cam­paign via so­cial me­dia as Er­doğan has been long stress­ing the sig­nif­i­cance of re­ju­ve­na­tion and re­forms. Çağlar fur­ther stated that “in the pre­vi­ous elec­tions AK Party had al­ready pri­or­i­tized us­ing so­cial me­dia as part of its elec­tion cam­paigns.”

In the past pres­i­den­tial elec­tion, Er­doğan ac­tively used his Twit­ter ac­count for elec­tion cam­paign­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to a re­port by SETA about the pres­i­den­tial can­di­dates’ so­cial me­dia strat­egy in the June 24 elec­tions, Er­doğan pri­or­i­tized his elec­tion prom­ises in his so­cial me­dia dur­ing the June 24 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion cam­paign and de­fined his prom­ises as the con­tin­u­ance of the cur­rent per­for­mance.

Re­fer­ring to the June 24 pres­i­den­tial cam­paign pe­riod, the re­port said “It is seen that 11.17 per­cent of Er­doğan’s tweets were about his prom­ises and 10.64 were about cur­rent ac­tiv­i­ties,” and added “[Some] 45.7 per­cent of the con­tent of Er­doğan’s tweets are re­lated to meet­ings and events.”

Since it came to power in 2002, the AK Party has been known for its green poli­cies aim­ing at in­creas­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal sen­si­tiv­ity. Ac­cord­ing to a re­port by the AK Party that ex­plains the ac­tiv­i­ties and per­for­mance of the gov­ern­ment in the past decade, be­tween 1992 and 2002, the gov­ern­ment over­saw af­foresta­tion work in some 743,000-hectare area. This num­ber has in­creased six-fold be­tween 2003 and 2017. Dur­ing the last decade of the AK Partyled gov­ern­ment, a 4.9 mil­lion hectare area was used for foresta­tion. The same re­port re­vealed that some 1.5 mil­lion hectares of new forests were also cre­ated in Turkey.

AK PARTY AN­NOUNCES 14 MORE CAN­DI­DATES FOR MAYORSHIP

Er­doğan also an­nounced yesterday the names of 14 more can­di­dates for may­or­ships in the lo­cal elec­tions, in­clud­ing the prov­inces of Ak­saray, Ağrı, Bile­cik, Erz­in­can, Edirne, Iğdır, Is­parta, Kars, Kırşe­hir, Kü­tahya, Si­irt, Tunceli, Van and Zongul­dak.

With the 60 may­oral can­di­dates Er­doğan an­nounced pre­vi­ously, in­clud­ing can­di­dates for Ankara, Izmir and 12 more metropoli­tan mu­nic­i­pal­i­ties, the rul­ing AK Party has an­nounced 74 pro­vin­cial may­oral can­di­dates to date.

Pre­vi­ously, the Na­tion­al­ist Move­ment Party (MHP) an­nounced that it will not nom­i­nate can­di­dates in İs­tan­bul, Ankara, and İzmir and in­stead sup­port the can­di­dates of the AK Party. For­mer En­vi­ron­ment and Ur­ban Plan­ning Minister Mehmet Özhaseki, who now serves as deputy from cen­tral Kay­seri prov­ince and AK Party vice chair­man in charge of lo­cal ad­min­is­tra­tions, was nom­i­nated for the cap­i­tal Ankara.

The AK Party’s can­di­date for west­ern Izmir prov­ince, which is a strong­hold of the CHP, is for­mer Econ­omy Minister and Deni­zli deputy Ni­hat Zey­bekci, who held the min­istry post from De­cem­ber 2013 to Novem­ber 2015 and from May 2016 to July 2018.

There are seven prov­inces in­clud­ing İs­tan­bul that the AK Party has yet to an­nounce. The re­main­ing cities are Manisa, Ay­dın, Muğla, Mersin and Adana. In İs­tan­bul, Par­lia­ment Speaker and for­mer Prime Minister Bi­nali Yıldırım is largely ex­pected to be the can­di­date of the AK Party. Ex­cept İs­tan­bul, all other prov­inces are re­port­edly be­ing con­sid­ered for joint can­di­dacy with the MHP as part of their Peo­ple’s Al­liance. The MHP won the 2014 lo­cal elec­tions in Adana, Mersin, Manisa and Os­maniye prov­inces.

The names an­nounced so far point to a large-scale re­newal by the AK Party on a lo­cal scale with the party stick­ing to its three­term limit. Out of the 74 names an­nounced so far, only 17 are in­cum­bent may­ors, and among those names are sev­eral may­ors who took over dur­ing the AK Party’s re­ju­ve­na­tion bid in late 2017 and oth­ers who re­placed out­go­ing may­ors elected to Par­lia­ment in the June 2018 pres­i­den­tial and par­lia­men­tary elec­tions.

AK PARTY UP­HOLDS PEO­PLE’S AL­LIANCE WITH MHP

In re­la­tion to the Peo­ple’s Al­liance formed with the MHP, Er­doğan stressed that the AK Party aims to con­tinue the al­liance in har­mony.

“No one should at­tempt to cast a shadow into our Peo­ple’s Al­liance,” Er­doğan said call­ing on mem­bers of the AK Party to con­tinue ef­forts with­out tak­ing steps that would un­der­mine the al­liance. He un­der­scored that ev­ery­one needs to fol­low the de­ci­sions taken by the par­ties’ head­quar­ters in or­der to reach har­mony.

The Peo­ple’s Al­liance be­tween the MHP and the AK Party was formed ahead of the June 24 par­lia­men­tary and pres­i­den­tial elec­tions. The al­liance re­ceived a ma­jor­ity in Par­lia­ment, while their pres­i­den­tial can­di­date, the in­cum­bent pres­i­dent, also won the elec­tion by 52.6 per­cent of the votes. As both par­ties con­sider the re­sults of the June 24 elec­tions as suc­cess­ful, they now seek to con­tinue their al­liance in the lo­cal elec­tions.

The AK Party will not use tra­di­tional meth­ods of cam­paign­ing in city cen­ters, such as large ban­ners and party flags, in a bid to re­duce vis­ual pol­lu­tion in the up­com­ing mu­nic­i­pal elec­tions.

Pres­i­dent and Chair­man of the AK Party Re­cep Tayyip Er­doğan gives a speech dur­ing the party's ex­tended pro­vin­cial heads meet­ing at party head­quar­ters, in Ankara, yesterday.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Turkey

© PressReader. All rights reserved.