The Feb. 9 headline in the pro-government daily Bugun proclaimed, “CHP spokesperson Boke has been baptized.” The newspaper claimed that the Republican People’s Party, the main opposition, was facing a crisis over the religious identity of its public voice, Selin Sayek Boke. The report detailed Boke’s family's roots, revealing that her father was from Hatay province and an Orthodox Christian.
Boke is a young, US-educated former economics professor. Having left a successful academic career, she joined the CHP and is considered a rising star in the party. Boke had recently emerged as the fiercest critic of the government, in particular of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. On Feb. 3, Boke went on the record criticizing Erdogan’s insistence on Turkey switching to a presidential system of government. “Contrary to [Justice and Development Party] statements, Turkey does not have a political regime problem. Rather, President Erdogan has a personal problem, to become the one-man [rule],” Boke remarked. It is not surprising that Boke’s tough criticism, coupled with her perfect resume, could only be tarnished through ad hominem attacks.