Turkey is currently looking for a political party to enable it to fulfill its increasing potential for democratic growth and global reach and address certain structural and social problems that have the potential to derail a historic opportunity to leap forward.
About the job:
The role of a robust opposition party is one of the most important elements of a healthy democracy. Although it does not have an executive power, it is a vital safety net and accountability point in balancing the performance of a ruling government.
An opposition party monitors policies and actual performance of the ruling government closely, analyzing their short and long-term implications and providing the public with clear points on a government’s shortcomings and their alternatives.
Where necessary for the best interest of the country, an opposition party affirms policies of the government and works closely with its own constituency to advance them. While this might seem like a win for the ruling party, in the long run it only strengthens the credibility of the opposition of the party.
An opposition party closely monitors the wishes of the entire country, not merely a thin slice of the public who are committed voters. This is vital in strengthening the party’s reach, limiting the unchecked influence of a ruling party and developing alternative policies that the public would support.
Your party must have closely read and internalized the job description above and perform accordingly. This is not a literary post for delivering untruthful but creative talks.
Previous political experience is not necessary. In fact, if you form a new party, it is much better than thinking you can reform a party that has been fixed in myopia for decades.
You must be able to use discourse that is not character discrediting and personal street-fight style verbal attacks on the ruling party, but actually focus on policies and performance.
You must have something to say beyond referring back to 1923 or any other glorious past. You must focus on Turkey’s future and include not some but all of the citizens of Turkey in that future.
You must move beyond 20th-century classifications that do not have much value today, including “left,” “right,” “social democracy” and “laicite.” The Turkish public moved on from these some 15 years ago.
You will have a leadership team that reflects all of the ethnic, religious and cultural spectrum of Turkey and appoint them not because they are loyal to the party leader but are actually qualified and energetic people that can do the job.
Please apply immediately, especially given that the next two years will witness tremendous tensions both in Turkey and internationally. While some paperwork and an outdated political party law might seem to be the main challenge for you, your main test is not on getting a legal status and publishing banners and advertisements. You will only get this job when you win the trust of the Turkish public and only remain in office as long as you perform along the lines mentioned above. Remember, this is a fixed term contract and not a tenure.
*Ziya Meral is a London-based Turkish researcher and academic.