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Portraits from a ballot box

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I got a glimpse of the Turkey that I want to live in on April 16 while I was working as a ballot box observer in downtown İzmir.

True to form, the ballot box had representatives from the four parties in parliament: the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). Within several hours, the HDP representative, a young, slim shoemaker from İzmir’s impoverished Karabağlar district, and the MHP representative, a 40-something woman in early retirement, became friends fast and started showing each other photos on their mobile phones. “You are as old as my son,” said the woman as she showed the young man a photo of her son who studied architecture.

“I wish I had a chance to go to university,” replied the shoemaker. “I was a good student but we did not have the money.” He, in turn, showed her a snapshot of his girlfriend, a headscarf-wearing girl who arrived in our ballot-box later in the afternoon and brought us all “lahmacun” from the southeastern province of Mardin. The CHP representative, an intimidatingly chic blonde in her 50s sporting an Hermes scarf, revealed that moment that she was originally from the eastern province of Gaziantep, which led the CHP and HDP representatives to give us a long, passionate speech on places to visit in the........

© Hürriyet Daily News