Never in my adult life have I seen Turkey’s opposition — fragmented, bitter and colossally self-obsessed — put on an election show of the kind I watched last night, especially in Istanbul and Ankara.

Please indulge me with a brief thread as I explain why. #TurkeyVotes
I saw ample evidence of solidarity, resilience and strategic planning, and these are phrases most seasoned observers of Turkish politics would never attach to parties other than the one that has been in government since 2002. They just aren’t qualities you see in the opposition.
There was solidarity: Turkey’s opposition parties worked together to confront electoral scales massively tipped against them. Sometimes, this was in a formal deal, like the CHP-IYI alliance. In others, it was by not tearing lumps out of each other — esp with the pro-Kurdish HDP.
There was resilience: the parties predicted there would be slurs, abuse and tempting offers to switch to the government side. The opposition wasn’t invulnerable, but mostly stuck to its message — even when it was implied they were somehow treasonously opposed to the Turkish state
There was a strategy: the CHP’s actions in Istanbul and Ankara over the last 24 hours showed they had learned the lessons of bruising defeats as long ago as 2014 and as recently as last June. Win or lose, @ekrem_imamoglu’s crisis management overnight makes him a rising star.
There’s going to be a lot of talk over the coming days and weeks about the “spirit of 1994”: Erdoğan, himself a shunned figure from a belittled political tradition, burst onto the scene as Istanbul mayor that year and fought through to reshape Turkey. Yes, there’s a parallel.
But the man who is now president endured slander in the press, the indignity of removal from office and imprisonment over the next eight years.

What I’m saying is a new dawn has not broken for Turkey this morning — but, to labour the metaphor, we may have seen the first lights.
Finally, it would be callous to write off the government: dirty though many of the AK Party tactics are these days, much of its success lies in its leader’s ability to be reflective and self-critical when required. The president hinted heavily last night he’ll do precisely that.
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