In my most recent post I highlighted the seeming over-reliance of Turkey?s political parties on state funding. But what of the role of private funding in Turkish politics? When we think about the corruption of the political process, it is usually private money we are talking about. State funding has the scope to play a problematic role in influencing the terms on which parties get to compete, but the risk that politicians and policies will be ?bought? is a risk that relates primarily to the influence of private money.
The upcoming Dec. 18 Republican Peoples? Party congress will prove to be the most important leadership test for new leader, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu (above) because if the Party Council continues to remain under the influence of former secretary-general Önder Sav (inset pictures), Kılıçdaroğlu?s preferred deputy candidates will be threatened.
We?ve (and be ?we? I mean ?Rebecca?) have written previously about the Balyoz Plot and the ensuing investigation here. The basic crux of the story is that there are many generals, admirals, and other such high-up military men being tried for an attempted coup, which is, as you can imagine, a very serious crime. But there are serious reservations about the procedural legality of the case and a serious possibility that a lot of the evidence was made up whole cloth.
Now that Republican People?s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu has strengthened his leadership, formed the CHP?s Party Council from figures close to him and eliminated the influence of the CHP?s former leader Deniz Baykal and former Secretary-General Önder Sav at the party?s extraordinary congress on Saturday many say Kılıçdaroğlu now has no excuse for not pressing ahead with pro-democratic change in the CHP, which has been criticized for being statist, pro-status quo and far from understanding the values of the majority of the public.
Young party supporters last Saturday carried placards with pictures of Turkey?s hanged leftist political activist of the late 1960s, Deniz Gezmiş, and main opposition Republican People?s Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. They were inside and outside a packed arena in Ankara that held about 27,000 CHP supporters. This was one of many scenes from the CHP?s extraordinary congress, held to elect its 80-member Party Assembly.
Politics is carried out with a view to finding or proposing solutions to the problems of society. To do this, these problems should be correctly identified and proposals for their solution should be based on a correct analysis of these problems.
The Turkish public has recently been discussing Kurdistan Workers? Party (PKK) leader Abdullah Öcalan?s peace offer to the Gülen movement. Many observers saw this as a surprise step from Öcalan. Last week I had the chance to speak with both Kurdish politicians and followers of Gülen in the Southeast.
The Republican People?s Party?s (CHP) party congress ended exactly as I had predicted. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, who had been placed at the top of the party thanks to extra-political developments and dynamics, was further aided in his attempt to assert control over the party.
He is now a little more certain about the political ground he stands on. On Saturday, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of the Republican People?s Party (CHP), did the expected: He won a minor but important victory in order to carry his party to the elections. By having his ?team? — at least the main bulk of it — elected to the Party Assembly, he has cleared the way.
Readers of my columns are familiar with my basic argument about Turkey?s continuing transition from an ostensible democracy under bureaucratic-military tutelage that prevailed throughout the Cold War to a liberal democracy in the 21st century.