Boats carrying supporters of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) sail through the Bosphorus in Istanbul June 4, 2011. Turkey will hold parliamentary elections on June 12. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
More arrests in Turkey’s ‘Sledgehammer’ probe
Hurriyet Daily News
An Istanbul court on Friday ordered an additional four soldiers, including a top Air Force official, detained pending trial on charges of participating in an alleged 2003 plot to overthrow the government. Air Force Academies Commander Gen.
from Turkish Digest
Bulent Arinc, AKP’s Vice Prime Minister who is in charge of media affairs, keeps talking. He spoke to the young voters of Bursa today. “In Turkey, there is such a newspaper that it’s enough for you to read it. It is Zaman. Believe me, there is no need to read anything but Zaman,” he said.
Leader of Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) Kemal Kilicdaoglu addresses his supporters during an election rally in Istanbul June 4, 2011. Turkey will hold parliamentary elections on June 12. REUTERS/Murad Sezer
With the author’s permission:
The AKP?s mastership age
Friday, June 3, 2011
The ruling Justice and Development Party?s, or AKP, mastership age has been unfolding for some time and will be made official on June 13. But the custom-made shirt by the master tailor AKP sown for Turkey is unfortunately too tight for people living here. Yet, it is highly doubtful Turkey that has been trying to get rid of the 1982 Constitution for 30 years would accept wearing a new straightjacket. For the society has already been seasoned to wear loose, comfortable shirts by the master tailor during its apprenticeship period. When I say ?society? I also include the AKP?s constituency, which is why our master?s job wouldn?t be easy.
Today in Turkey, we have a society, which has learned to rise up, to enjoy voicing-up objections and has broken the tutelage of all uniform ways of thinking. During the apprenticeship of the AKP government it started to say ?No? to lies and taboos of the pre- and post-republican era. It is probably the first time in the history of these lands that we have such society. Is it possible to have control over such a society that has already tasted democracy, hit the road and taken charge of its fate? Of course not.
The transformation, which the society experienced since 1999 is not necessarily due to the European Union membership bid. It was not ?granted? by the AKP to its ?subjects? either. This is something that has come out of a society paying heavy prices for long time. This is about this priceless spot society has reached throughout duress, exclusions, military coups and massacres. It will be almost impossible for any government to shape such society up.
We are proceeding to a through period, in which even the word ?difficult? would not describe it. Objections are being raised and multiplied by and from all directions. The self-declared master has no expertise to contain oppositions transforming into conflicts. Because only a ?master society? is capable of such art not a ?master government? or a ?master party.?
The AKP?s call for a stable one-party government targets a society where democracy is not fully settled and grasped; it is not about good governance like in advanced democracies. The ruling party?s obsession with percentages and thresholds in next week?s election is a clear and sound indication of it. In fact, everyone, including the AKP, is a novice, an apprentice here. Inexperience and immaturity is behind AKP?s obsession to control and eventually finish the process towards social maturity and mastership, which was actually catalyzed by this very party.
The societal response and reaction to this pressure would take the form of more conflict and deepening alienation. Not the old-fashioned brotherhood and nationhood that the prime minister dreams of.
Alienation and conflict
It is not a good omen to have funerals after prime minister?s election rally. Statements of the AKP officials are not good signs either regarding Metin Lokumcu who died of ill-treatment during a protest.
It is not a good sign to claim ?PKK and Ergenekon are one and the same.? Retreating from fundamental rights and freedoms is not a good sign. Granting the military financial and legal autonomy is not a good omen. Digression from the EU is not a good sign either. A presidential system without any check and balance is not a good sign. Demographic engineering in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, or TRNC, is not either. Doggedness on nuclear energy is not a good omen. Neither is unregulated economic development
Because today objections are serious and radical.
Last Friday evening during a meeting of the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party, or BDP, with writers and journalists in Istanbul confirmed to me that alienation is not simply the reality of uncontrolled Kurdish youth. Alienation encompasses a considerable number of adult Kurds. Look what Fatma Emel Sümbül, acting chairwoman of the Diyarbakır Provincial Council, said at the Diyarbakır City Council meeting organized by the BDP and the Democratic Society Congress, or DTK: ?Uncertainty regarding the Kurdish status continues. Kurdish people demand determination of their status in a democratic republic by a democratic constitution. Both international developments and the developments in the Middle East make necessary the creation of constitutions integrated with values of democracy and based on popular democratic participation. In this [new] constitution, the use of Kurdish and different languages in public sphere should be guaranteed. In many institutions authority should be handed over to local administrations. If politicians and governments do not meet the demands, it ought to be known that the society itself will set its own democratic functioning mechanisms.?
Pilot projects for such mechanisms have already been carried out in Kurd populated towns. And Kurdish demands and objections are not limited with the BDP sympathizers but go well beyond.
The third Erdoğan government points out a crossroads both for the AKP and Turkey. The AKP does not have any more hindrance ahead and will benefit from large maneuvering space. The EU Affairs Minister Egemen Bağış, whom we were together on a TV program the other night, said Turkey has the initiative. That?s correct. We have the initiative indeed. If wanted the AKP could eliminate all worries in a way to ensure Turkey?s mastership age and could meet the expectations. Whatever the percentage, with which it will win the elections, it would understand that in order to reach democratic maturity it needs to accept the need of the largest political and social consensus for the new constitution and to solve the Kurdish conflict.
Or otherwise it would join those past Turkish political parties. In the meantime I cannot tell our fate.
Cette année je ne serai pas en Turquie pour la journée électorale du 12 juin . Ça va me manquer. En novembre 2002 j’étais à Pazariçi, un quartier très populaire d’Istanbul. La veille l’amie qui m’hébergeait ne savait pas encore si elle allait voter CHP ou AKP. La seule chose de certaine était qu’elle ne voterait en aucun cas pour les partis de la coalition au pouvoir, qu’elle tenait pour responsables de la terrible crise de 2001. Son mari votait CHP, ses s?urs, beaux-frères et une bonne partie du quartier AKP (le vainqueur des élections). Seule sa mère, que j’ai toujours connue faisant ses prières quotidiennes continuait à voter Ecevit, le populaire leader de gauche. Comme elle le faisait sans doute déjà du temps où son mari vivait.