A different slant, which one might call ‘just,’ towards the Justice March, the object of opprobrium from AKP decision makers to the extent of branding it ‘support for terrorists,’ has come from a proponent of the AKP line. ANAR Research CEO İbrahim Uslu has opined on the march, ‘It is a very peaceful, well-organised, civilised, democratic action. I speak to a lot of people and the thinking is that the march is a boon to both the country and our democracy as well as to the rulership.
Today sees the Justice March embark on its eighteenth day. With no let-up in the marching pace towards the appointed destination of Istanbul-Maltepe, it has entered its final week. As the march draws towards its goal, the prime concern is over the position that the ruling AKP circle will adopt and, by way of consequence, whether the marchers will encounter a problem-free Istanbul finishing stretch.
Will there be an intervention?
Accusations emanating from President Tayyip Erdoğan and AKP spokespersons about a ‘march in support of terrorists’ has led to speculation that the march in full will not be permitted to get through to Maltepe. Statements coming from circles close to the AKP that the column of marchers will be cut off at a certain stage and a symbolic group will be admitted to Istanbul have reinforced such speculation. However, all such speculation, in terms of whether the AKP will intervene against the march, is tempered by the knowledge that this will depend on the outcomes of the polls that is has started to commission of late.
Justice in the polls
Since the AKP is a party that for its fifteen years in power has always aligned the steps it takes with the polls that it commissions, comments come from CHP circles that, ‘They constantly commission polls. Both the need for justice and support for the march come out very high in the polls.’ One of the bodies that has conducted polls for the AKP over the fifteen-year period has been the ANAR Research company. İbrahim Uslu, as the company’s CEO, has been closely monitoring the ‘Justice March.’ While AKP spokespersons’ views are known, we consulted Uslu for his views to get an insight into how the constituency that supports the party views the march.
Uslu first recalled a Tweet that Kılıçdaroğlu sent saying, ‘It is more than we can take’ on 14 June on which CHP MP Enis Berberoğlu was detained, the reason for the march that set out from Güven Park. Uslu’s message is, ‘I don’t know about the legal side, but the Berberoğlu ruling served to keep the CHP’s and the 48.5%’s political energy alive.’
Uslu’s thoughts about the march are as follow:
I am awaiting its end to do a poll: We have not conducted a poll, a survey, about the march, because this is not an ordinary march but an action that will have social and political consequences. Hence, it is necessary to await its end to survey society’s view of it. We will measure whether it has gained support in society and the kind of results it has or has not achieved after the march has ended on the appointed date.
There is a positive attitude: The CHP has shown through this march that it has read in particular the situation to emerge following Berberoğlu’s detention very well. I have not had a poll done but I speak to a great many people. These people are not people who are close to the marchers. These are people who are politically distant from them. But, in these circles in which I have discussions there is not anger or negativity towards this march, but, on the contrary, more positive attitudes. We are confronted by a very civilised, peaceful, well-organised march that is well in tune with developments in Turkey. So, the circles in which I have discussions consider this march to be correct and reasonable in terms of method, even if they do not consider it to be justified.
He has charged up the forty-eight and a half: We have not surveyed this, but will this march cause the CHP’s vote to skyrocket? No, it will not do this. But this is not the significance of this march, anyway. I think that Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, with this decision and action over the march, has charged the energy of the 48.5% in the 16 April referendum. This charge will have effects that will reverberate over the process up until 2019, because even his opponents within his own party have to march. But, the fundamentally important thing is that 48.5% came out of the referendum but Kılıçdaroğlu is only able to establish a dialogue and converse with 25% of them. This march has now presented him with the opportunity to establish a dialogue and converse with the 48.5%.
It will also benefit the ruling party: The exercising of democratic rights in peace and harmony may be a form of activism engaged in by the opposition, but it will also play out to the benefit of the ruling party. I hope that this march will end as it began without as much as a nosebleed. This is the wish of us all. Our democracy will also benefit from this. But, this applies to the ruling party, too, because this march will furnish the ruling party with a rebuttal to accusations from abroad about intimidation of the opposition. It will be able to explain that nobody is thinking of detaining those who staged the Justice March. A march that ends within the law and in democratic maturity and a civilised manner will benefit the whole country, the opposition and governing party alike.
ANAR Research CEO İbrahim Uslu: Non-marchers are also positively minded