Political life and NGOs in Turkey: Journalists and Writers Foundation

Beril Dedeoğlu
Beril Dedeoğlu


Date posted: November 15, 2013

BERİL DEDEOĞLU

One of the most prominent NGOs in Turkey is the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV). This NGO recently published a statement in newspapers to announce that it does not have an agenda in terms of establishing a political party or appointing others to form a party on its behalf.

The role of nongovernmental organizations in political life is an important topic for political scientists.

The common view of academics who work in this area is that these organizations’ political influence is increasing for the better. I don’t know why nongovernmental organizations are called “civil society organizations” (STK) in Turkish. Yet, the number and influence of NGOs is growing in Turkey, too. Almost all NGOs play a political role, some directly and some others indirectly, through their social projects.

However, a common characteristic of all NGOs is that they don’t have the ambition to seize political power. As they don’t seek to form a government or party, they don’t have to take into consideration the percentage of support they get from the general public opinion, which gives them a certain level of freedom to express their views and to carry out their activities. It is true that the political influence or expectations of a number of NGOs may help political parties from time to time. There are also some NGOs that work directly for political parties as their think tanks. However, despite their direct or indirect political role, NGOs do not have the ambition to turn into political parties and participate to elections races.

NGOs play a critical role in the political life of democratic countries as they guide and inform the electorate through their activities. Thus, they have an undeniable influence over the outcome of elections, making them important actors in a country’s democratic life.

In developed democracies, NGOs are well organized and powerful. Their existence can even be considered a guarantee of pluralist democracy. Particularly in countries where there are no credible opposition parties, they play an even more significant and useful role.

One of the most prominent NGOs in Turkey is the Journalists and Writers Foundation (GYV). This NGO recently published a statement in newspapers to announce that it does not have an agenda in terms of establishing a political party or appointing others to form a party on its behalf.

This is a good example of the absurd situations in our daily political life. An NGO, by definition, cannot have the will to become a political party anyway, so normally it would not have to declare this will through press releases. The fact that a respected NGO felt the need to clearly affirm that it has no intention of turning into a political party proves that Turkish political life has not yet been normalized.

It appears that the achievements of this NGO have reached a disturbing point for a number of political players, and so they have said: “You are doing politics anyway, so become a political party. We will then square accounts with you in the elections.” Perhaps there are people who believe that this NGO is working like a secret or parallel political party and pursuing its own hidden agenda to rule the country.

The Journalists and Writers Foundation probably took these critics seriously as they saw fit to publish a statement. According to the NGO, it is determined to pursue its activities and reminds us that it doesn’t have to become a political party simply because it has a political position. The statement is also the proof that the foundation is under heavy political pressure.

Is it necessary to remind people that NGOs and lobbies are the backbone of the political life in the United States? I don’t believe anybody in the US has ever wondered why these lobbies don’t become political parties and run for office. Everyone knows that by definition, this is not possible or imperative.

This episode has proven once again that Turkish political actors do not yet understand the function or purpose of NGOs. Let’s hope they do so quickly, as we move closer to the elections.

Source: Today's Zaman , November 15, 2013


Related News

Baseless allegations damage publicly traded firms

The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government has tried to scapegoat the Hizmet movement via conspiracy theories to evade attention stemming from the corruption allegations. A number of news stories broke soon after Ala’s claims, reporting that Bank Asya’s accounts were being scrutinized for misconduct.

Prime Minister Erdoğan in his second home

Apolitical faith-based movements, represented by the Sufi lodges and the Hizmet movement today, regard Iranian expansionism as a real and imminent threat that needs to be tackled.

Education in Mother Tongue: Eventual Solution to the Problem

Gulen: “Basic rights cannot be the subject of negotiation. Things bestowed by God cannot be denied by a man”. Hodjaefendi’s spiritual authority is indisputable. This spiritual authority that shapes the future of Turkey by kneading the hearts and uniting them with the same ideal leads us all in coming up with solutions to the burning problems.

1-year-old baby with cancer held in Mardin prison with mother: former HDP deputy

Avşin Usanmaz, a one-year-old baby with brain cancer, has been held in a prison in Mardin province with his imprisoned mother.

New Constitution expected to eradicate remnants of Feb. 28 coup

Journalist Nazlı Ilıcak told Today’s Zaman that important steps have been taken to eradicate the remnants of Feb. 28 but Turkey needs to take more steps, via a new Constitution, to achieve overall democratization. However, Ilıcak noted that Turkey needs to take further steps towards democratization and settling its major problems, such as the Kurdish problem, through a new Constitution, which she said would contribute to make democratization permanent.

Ergenekon’s coup-lovers owe an apology to the Hizmet movement

Since the start of the Ergenekon trials, some of the suspects and their supporters constantly, steadfastly and fiercely argued that the Ergenekon cases were based on fabricated evidence prepared by the Hizmet movement, claiming that the defendants were actually innocent. They now owe an apology to the Hizmet movement.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

D-8’s Alam calls on everyone to support Turkish schools

Turkish minister: Gulenists are more dangerous than ISIL because they’re well-educated

Turkey Carries Out Major NATO Purge

Kimse Yok Mu and Tuna Foundation lifting up Romanian orphans’ spirit

Parents seeking urgent Release of School Principle Fatih Keskin

Turkish gov’t profiling went on until 2013, report claims

Turkish coup attempt: who is Fethullah Gülen?

Copyright 2023 Hizmet News