Kılıçdaroğlu, whose party was only able to secure 26 percent in the June 12 elections, while the AK Party received almost double the CHP's votes, has linked the record win of the governing party to the Stockholm syndrome.
Akşam daily said the CHP leader evaluated the election results with top party members at the party's Central Executive Board (MYK) meeting last week. According to the daily, Kılıçdaroğlu said during the meeting that the reason behind half of the voters supporting the ruling party is simply the Stockholm syndrome. The AK Party received 50 percent of the vote and won a third consecutive term as the ruling party in the June 12 elections. The Stockholm syndrome refers to a real paradoxical psychological phenomenon wherein hostages express empathy and have positive feelings towards their captors, sometimes to the point of defending them.
The syndrome is named after the Norrmalmstorg Kreditbanken robbery in Stockholm in which the bank robbers held bank employees hostage from Aug. 23-28, 1973. In this case, the victims became emotionally attached to their captors and even defended them after they were freed from the six-day ordeal.
Speaking to Today’s Zaman, former CHP İstanbul deputy Algan Hacaloğlu said Kılıçdaroğlu’s explaining the voter support for the AK Party using the Stockholm syndrome does not comply with the realities of Turkey and simplifies the election results.
“I do not think that judgment [about the Stockholm syndrome] complies with the reality of Turkey. I do not think the Turkish nation gave 50 percent support to the AK Party because of this reason. Such an approach means belittling the election results,” Hacaloğlu said.
The former CHP deputy also warned that attempts to explain the voter support for the ruling party with a phenomenon like the Stockholm syndrome will make it difficult for the party to see its own shortcomings. “The CHP should face with its own realities,” he said.
Kılıçdaroğlu, who promised to bring the CHP to power when he assumed the party leadership last year, still thinks the 26 percent support for the party is a success despite the widespread view that it is actually a failure.
CHP’s former head of the İstanbul branch Berhan Şimşek was also critical of Kılıçdaroğlu’s Stockholm syndrome remarks of which he said he disapproved.
He said according to Kılıçdaroğlu’s remarks, “the public which was taken hostage” voted for the AK Party in 2002 and brought it to power, although it was only 15 months after the establishment of the party but the same people still do not trust the CHP, hence they do not support the party.
“Although Kılıçdaroğlu’s example seems fine to some, it does not seem fine to me. Those who have made complaints already vote for the CHP. Those who do not vote for the CHP mean that they do not have any complaints,” he said.
A similar objection to Kılıçdaroğlu came from former CHP deputy Chairman İnal Batu who found Kılıçdaroğlu’s comparison “groundless” and “unnecessary.”
Batu said such comparisons are made by the party as a result of never-ending conflicts within the CHP.
“When such conflicts take place, the nation does not vote for the party. When the nation does not support the party, fights continue, and unnecessary and groundless comparisons are made like the Stockholm syndrome. This is not a comparison that is complies with the realities of the CHP. They should sit and make a healthy analysis of the 26 percent,” he suggested.
AK Party officials also showed a harsh reaction to the CHP leader over his Stockholm syndrome remark, which they found tantamount to disrespect for the nation’s will.
Former Trade Minister Nihat Ergün said Kılıçdaroğlu’s remarks is disrespectful of the nation’s will and called him to get over the exhaustion of the elections and collect his thoughts.
He said it is impossible to improve democracy without showing respect to the nation’s will.
Newly-elected AK Party deputy Mehmet Metiner said there is actually no Stockholm syndrome in Turkey but an opposition syndrome.
AK Party deputy group Chairman Mustafa Elitaş said Kılıçdaroğlu’s remarks were an indication of the fact that the CHP leader has not yet embraced democracy.
“Kılıçdaroğlu’s definition of the public choice with such comparisons in order to cover up his own failure is a misfortune for Tukey,” Elitaş said.