‘Long live the diva’ (AP Photo/Ibrahim Usta)
The ruling Justice and Development Party, or AKP, deputy leader defended himself against claims made by the main opposition Republican People’s Party, or CHP, parliamentary group deputy leader
Relations between the military and politics in Turkey have once again become the focal point of discussion following the recent press conferences held by the General Staff, additional arrests in connection with the Ergenekon case, a visit paid by the military to retired generals held in prison and the discharge of retired Gen. Şener Eruygur, who is also a prime suspect in the Ergenekon case.
Turkey has sometimes witnessed politicians inviting businessmen to a duel. Other times it has seen bureaucrats inviting journalists to a duel.
Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Deputy Chairman Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat and Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who have been exchanging accusations and harsh criticism over the past few days, appeared on television yesterday to counter each other’s
The list of those detained Tuesday as part of the Ergenekon investigation contains several former notable members of Turkey’s security, politics and judicial structure. Former police officer Adil Serdar
Mehmet Ali Birand
The eighth wave of Ergenekon operations against those who planned to destabilize the country in order to remove the Justice and Development Party (AKP) from the power and install a military junta to shift the direction of the country from West to East targeted well-known AKP opponent journalist Tuncay Özkan and businessman Gürbüz Çapan.
The Ergenekon case is the case of the century even though it does not reach as deeply as it should. The first generation of the republic was, of course, sincere when they felt the excitement of “the sun will soon rise on the horizon.”
Citizens, authorities and intellectuals in Turkey have been very preoccupied lately by the Ergenekon case and its “fallout,” a case almost surreal for a modern, civil democracy.
A row between Justice and Development Party (AK Party) Deputy Chairman Dengir Mir Mehmet Fırat and Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputy Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu that has seen the two directing harsh criticism at each other has brought the use of unparliamentary language in politics under the spotlight in a country where politicians frequently lose their temper with rivals.
With only a little while left before the first hearing in this case, we are seeing a new wave of arrests in the Ergenekon situation.
The most striking message to emerge from newly appointed Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ’s Tuesday press conference was this: "Let no one use either the Turkish Armed Forces [TSK] or our martyrs to engage in politics."
In a free society, can a prime minister call for the boycott of a particular media group? Yes, it’s possible.
I should highlight several points about the Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of recent days: In a row between him and the media, he is acting more with populism geared toward local elections than with panic.
The real issue today is how the appointment of Gen. İlker Başbuğ to the post of chief of general staff will affect the government. An AK Party minister has interesting things to say about it: "With the arrival of İlker Paşa, the five-lane highway has become a two-lane one."
The verbal row between business and media tycoon Aydın Doğan and Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has subsided.
With the things he did immediately after his appointment, newly installed Chief of General Staff Gen. İlker Başbuğ signaled that he would pursue a course different from that of his predecessors.
Let’s look at the primary reason for the media-politics relationship we have been discussing with reference to the Doğan-Erdoğan confrontation.
So, the predicted end: The Supreme Court of Frankfurt on Wednesday found three leading figures of the conservative charity organization Deniz Feneri (Lighthouse) guilty of fraud and handed down prison sentences.
The flash development of this year
was surely the investigation into the illegal Ergenekon organization.
The first thing we have to say in regards to the result of the Deniz Feneri (Lighthouse) case in Germany is that corruption cannot be justified, regardless of who engaged in it.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s recent call to party members to boycott newspapers that publish false and incorrect news continues to echo through the Turkish media.
There has been a new development with regard to the Ergenekon investigation. In addition to the organizational connection between Ergenekon and illegal organizations such as Hizbullah, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Party/Front (DHKP/C) and the Turkish Workers and Peasant’s Liberation Army (TİKKO), its affiliation with Hizb-ut Tahrir has recently been revealed.
………….What should be discussed is not Hizb-ut Tahrir, but Ergenekon, which serves as an umbrella organization that includes it, as well. Hizb-ut Tahrir tells us about Ergenekon — not about itself. Ergenekon is everywhere we look. It appears that Ergenekon is behind every terror incident, as evidenced in the recent attack against the police in front of the US Consulate General in İstanbul.
Let me express my impressions through concrete statements: You are entering a hall whose entrance gate bears a title reading "Ergenekon." You see a number of terrorist organizations with different backgrounds and goals lined up in the stalls along this hall. They produce terror in these stores. An open market system is working inside the hall. Everybody is informed about everyone. The management upstairs governs the market and directs manufacturing. This hall produces and markets terrorism. Besides, the state owns this market, which operates like a state institution. All expenses are covered by the taxes we pay.
The series of arrests and the indictment points to one single reality: that there is a terrorist organization inside the state that has penetrated all cells. It was founded to commit murders and illegal acts on behalf of the state. Subsequently, personal interests and considerations became prevalent. But there is one primary reason that created this complex organization: to acquire power through a military coup. What is the common denominator that leads two retired generals, executioners who commit murders and the subcontracting organizations ranging from the DHKP/C to Hizb-ut Tahrir to enter into an alliance? Staging a coup, isn’t it?………
The harsh stance of Prime Minister Erdoğan vis-à-vis the Doğan media group prompted a number of reactions, with some even arguing that this stance was contrary to democracy and freedom of the press.
The Economist has published an article questioning whether or not the Turkish governing Justice and Development Party’s, or AKP, honesty is at stake due to the corruption scandal that broke out in
Mehmet Ali Birand
It is not a radical boost, but according to circulation reports, there is a sizeable increase in the circulation of newspapers that the prime minister has asked the members and supporters of the Justice and Development Party, or AKP, to boycott because they were critical of the government or were reporting on developments that the premier wanted not to be exposed to the public. The daily circulation of Hürriyet, for example, reportedly increased by some 15,000 copies. Obviously everyone – including many supporters of the AKP – who are committed to democracy, freedom of expression and the right to get informed or the press freedom were annoyed with the boycott call of the premier that exposed
Three people were sentenced to jail at the conclusion of the fraud case against German-based conservative Turkish charity Deniz Feneri (Lighthouse) on Wednesday.
The flash development of this year was surely the investigation into the illegal Ergenekon organization.
Therefore, what we had was a coalition led by the military and higher judiciary members who favored a coup. Yet the journals of a retired naval forces commander showed that there was an ongoing controversy between the pro-Ergenekon generals seeking a way to stage a coup and the others who were still on active duty at the time. Apparently, one side of the said coalition was eager to push for a coup within legal limits, whereas the other side was ready to violate legal barriers.
In other words, the bureaucratic elite in Turkey were split into two parts in tactical terms while it appeared to be integrated in strategic terms. Some developments over summer deciphered Ergenekon, also undermining the image of the military and judiciary. This raised hope that the threat of a coup was over. Remarks by the former chief of general staff implying that the Ergenekon investigation should be followed through with and the Constitutional Court’s decision not to close down the AK Party gave the impression that Turkey was finally normalizing.
But all of these opinions and expectations would be tested through the new chief of general staff. This commander made two moves in his initial days in the office. First, he sent a military officer who had led an informal nationalist movement that pushed the limits of laws in Cyprus to a prison for a visit with generals being held in connection with the Ergenekon case. He further declared that the visit was made on behalf of the military. The last sentence of the same statement stressed that the army respected the law. In short, the military implied that it endorsed the goals of Ergenekon suspects but disapproved of their methods.
The second move of the new chief of general staff was acting like a political party leader and giving instructions to pro-state civil society organizations in regards to the Kurdish question in Diyarbakır. It is no secret that this attempt — which established direct contact with society by bypassing the government, opened a channel for its probable supporters in society for likely involvement in politics and made the military a political actor — will have no significant impact on the prev
ention of terrorism. Therefore, the symbolic meaning of the said visit and the messages delivered there should be considered. From this perspective, the military appears to seek the preservation of its ability to mobilize society.
This shows that the hopes in summer were actually based on fragile ground because it appears that some positive steps by the military and the judiciary are not signs of the internalization of democracy. The desire for a coup is still alive. But particular attention is paid to make sure that the pursuit of a coup remains within legal limits.
We may predict that this pursuit of a coup will be based on indirect tools in the near future so that it would become possible to assert that this government collapsed not because some bureaucrats asked for its collapse but because society wanted to remove it. To achieve this, an influential actor is needed: the media. It is possible to present public pressure artificially created by the media as social pressure. On the other hand, it is becoming more difficult to find such media organs. This shows the importance of Doğan media group.
This is the background of the ongoing AK Party/Doğan controversy. The Doğan group is trying to manipulate the psychological discomfort of secular circles by relying on the trump cards that it believes would erode the AK Party’s image. Likewise, the government approaches the Doğan group by using its own trump cards……………
Mehmet Ali Birand
An Istanbul notary is set to face two sets of criminal complaints for producing a fake letter that gave the power of attorney of the head of Lighthouse e.V. to Kanal 7 owner Zekeriye
Gen. İlker Başbuğ held a press conference with representatives from a number of newspapers at General Staff headquarters on Tuesday, his first since assuming the post of chief of general staff.
Some may find it a bit earlier to discuss in what direction the Kurdish movement will head after Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) founder and imprisoned leader Abdullah Öcalan’s death, but we believe it is time to discuss this.
The positions of the existing political parties and the strategies they implement concerning their voter bases do not allow parties other than the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party), such as the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the Republican People’s Party (CHP), to be alternatives to the government.
If we are to place the Democratic Society Party (DTP) within the universal political party classification, it would be appropriate to call this party an ethnic (minority) party.
In regards to the recently reinvigorated debates over the “future of the left” in Turkey, there are, quite naturally, many different analyses being made about the Republican People’s Party (CHP).
The problems faced by Turkey today are, in a sense, those of a human landscape open to deepening conservatism as a result of lack of opportunities and poverty.
Unfortunately, the Supreme Court of Appeals’ chief prosecutor has done what he could to write a long and full list of allegations covering the short period of time that the Democratic Society Party (DTP) has been represented in Parliament.