The hardest thing about any political campaign is how to win without proving that you are unworthy of winning” — American politician and statesman Adlai Ewing Stevenson II (1900-1965).
A few days ago, the ongoing political crisis between Turkey and Netherlands dominated the headlines around the world especially after Netherlands refused a Turkish minister to enter its land and restricted the movement of another who was already in the country. I will not go into the details of the crisis, as what we could know is perhaps just the tip of an iceberg. Instead, I will focus on the election campaign aspect on which the crisis was placed and its repercussions.
The Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is engaged in campaigns to market constitutional amendments for the upcoming referendum.
Meanwhile, in Netherlands, one of the far-right movement leaders was engaged in fierce campaigns in the just concluded general elections. In the midst of this heap of campaigns, both leaders managed to take advantage of the crisis and use it in a manner that will benefit their campaigns to gain more votes.
The irrational statements and accusations that were used clearly on both sides appeared to be targeting those on the streets.
This is politics — the elections will end, the crisis will be resolved and the relations will be restored, even on a better level than the previous one. The only loser in all of this is the one who climbed the wave without holding any interest in it. This is what politics and events that follow have taught us for many years in the past.
Cursed be the politics! Erdogan is faced with a historic attempt to change the Turkish constitution by transforming it into presidential system. As it appears, he is on the right course in terms of his huge popularity and charisma.
In Netherlands, the crisis might have boosted the popularity of the anti-Islam and anti-EU far-right leader Geert Wilders. This means the crisis was a fruitful market for both politicians. The political crises that occur at the time of election campaigns are considered as the most lucrative market for those who know how to play political games.
This is because such crises are used to launch extreme stances and statements that touch the core of the nation. Even though some of these crises are taken to the extreme, it takes a smart politician to use such situations to his or her advantage in order to harvest more votes in their favor. The Turkish-Dutch crisis will eventually subside.
However, as usual there will be innocent victims who fell into the trap of this crisis. You should not be surprised to see Erdogan hold meetings with the Prime Minister of Netherlands in Amsterdam after the Turkish referendum.
You should not be surprised to hear that the far-right movement leader Wilders was spotted enjoying a meal in one of the restaurants in Istanbul. Regardless of the outcome of the elections in Netherlands and the referendum in Turkey, Erdogan and Wilders are two people who are using this crisis to their advantage to benefit their political ambitions. They were able to direct it towards the kind of politics that boosts their chances of winning irrespective of whatever they are campaigning for.
By Yousef Awadh Al-Azmi