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Where is Turkey heading?

Monday 31 March 2008, by Yusuf Kanli

Is there anyone around who can make a healthy analysis where Turkey is heading? There were signs of Turkey drifting to some uncertainties for some time and indeed this writer wrote many articles over the past year asking the same question: “Where is Turkey heading?”

Indeed Turkey is drifting to some uncertainties that no one can indeed have an idea or foresee... The principles for democracy, human rights, freedoms, supremacy of law and such rather normal norms elsewhere are applied here with an understanding to conform the “peculiar conditions” prevailing in this country... Thus, this country has some “semi form” of everything, but possess none of such contemporary norms in full. To improve a semi-democracy, unfortunately, is far difficult that building democracy in a former communist country where there have never been any sort of democratic understanding until the collapse of the Berlin Wall and the subsequent dissolution of the Soviet bloc...

Now, everyone is asking : Will the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), a party which won 46.5 percent vote just few months ago, has almost absolute majority in Parliament and has been in government for the past six years, will be closed or not? The question is odd and indeed reflects a rather ill mentality that a party with parliamentary majority, that won certain percentage of votes and who has been in government for some time cannot be closed, or its closure was unacceptable, but other parties can be closed down... Even in democracies courts can close down parties provided they involved in violence – or as is in Germany and Austria, if they engaged in Nazi propaganda... They have “Nazi” phobia because of their recent sad and tragic background, we have separatist and Islamist fundamentalist phobias because of our recent history...

What’s odd is the lack of concrete proof in the indictment against the AKP and the apparent political nature of the case – constitutional courts everywhere anyhow make political decisions, but must base them on solid legal ground not on wishy-washy gossip – which has been making many people, including this writer, consider it as a “judicial coup attempt.

Will the AKP be closed ? It might be, it might not be! Will the court banish from politics the entire 71-name list – including President Abdullah Gül, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and former speaker of Parliament, Bülent Arınç – as demanded by the prosecutor?

Of course these questions are important but are nothing further than trivial worries compared to the deep separatist storms that were converted into thunderstorms with this trial, widening the existing polarization in the country.

Yes, this polarization was created by the AKP’s wrong approaches and the adamant, antagonistic and bullish leadership style of the prime minister who for some totally obsessive manner downgraded the freedoms issue in this country to a “freedom to turban” mania and landed not only himself but the entire country in this mess. Now, those who have ignored so long all the liberties and freedoms and preferred to saw seeds of hatred, enmity, separation and polarization with their turban obsession must have realized how correct was that saying that everyone at one point needs justice...

Hypocrites accuse!

How can those who refrained to comment on the closure case filed against the pro-Kurdish Democratic Society Party (DTP) on grounds that it was inappropriate to talk on an issue at the court, now condemn people who say “I am against closure of parties through court decisions and consider it anti-democratic, but as long as there are such things in Turkish laws, the prosecutors will continue filing such suits... The task is to eradicate such clauses from our legislature...” as being anti-democratic of not making an adequate condemnation of the court case in a manner a democrat must have done?

Rather than opening up, over the past many years Turkey has forgotten reforms and harmonizing itself with EU norms... Turkey has been turning inwards, cutting itself from the international community and in a way has been committing some sort of a suicide. Growing nationalism and Islamofascist tendencies have been alarming many people in this country for some time but when they wrote about these issues they were accused by the government of being “elitists down looking the aspirations of the nation.

Politicians require to be at least a step ahead of the people and work for the advancement of the society rather than playing to the tune of a populist song... That’s how a society advances... Change is difficult and when it is ignored some people may come and brush those who fail to change down the drain...

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Source : Thursday, March 20, 2008 TDN

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