Things not to do in an election campaign:
1) Visit the grave of the composer of your country’s national anthem, a song displayed in every classroom
2) Announce to dozens of cameramen that your father and him were best mates
3) Wistfully read aloud the words to that anthem
4) Get its name wrong
Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, a 70-year-old politician running in Turkey’s presidential election, somehow managed to do exactly that last week, mistaking a poem called Martyrs of Galipoli for the country’s anthem, the Independence March (that’s him getting ready to make the gaffe in the photo).
He admittedly only had a slim chance of beating Tayyip Erdogan in the 10 August vote before saying it. But now… Yes, he’s screwed, isn’t he?
It’s a big shame, as the election’s important, especially if you’re a fan of women laughing in public. Ihsanoglu was Erdogan’s only serious opposition. But, if you can’t recognise the words to your country’s anthem, should you be allowed to be in charge of it? (“Yes!” I hear you shout, but that’s not what a 50-year-old builder in Istanbul’s going to think now is it?)
Ihsanoglu’s been trying to defend himself ever since, saying things like, “I learnt the anthem while sucking my mother’s milk.” It hasn’t helped – no one needs that image in their heads!
The BBC’s got a great primer on the election here. Go and have a read like and see an awful photo of Erdogan shamelessly clambering for votes by playing football.