Rethinking the state-people relationship [in Turkey]

Prof. Beril Dedeoglu
Prof. Beril Dedeoglu


Date posted: November 22, 2013

Beril Dedeoglu

We all know that Turkey has to solve a number of critical problems to become a democratic, pluralist and transparent state that is ruled by law.

We also know that these problems are the result of decades of inaction; none of them have just appeared recently. Some people may expect solutions in the short term, but they will only be disappointed. No government can deal with all of these problems in just a couple of years.

When people expect too much from their government, the head of government can start to believe that he has the personal responsibility to deal with every problem and then try to intervene in every aspect of life. This only creates a deadlock, as society and the prime minister do not always have the same expectations.

In Turkey, even nongovernmental organizations have the habit of developing their projects not according to society’s expectations, but in line with the state’s demands. Maybe that’s why politicians consider NGOs to be their political interlocutors; or worse, they consider them political opponents and they start fighting against them. Civil society suffers because of this highly politicized environment.

Turkey’s main problem is that we are discussing sensational daily developments a lot without tackling the core issues. For example, we are busy discussing prep schools, but very few people point out that this issue is only a component of a larger, more general subject: Turkey’s education system. We are talking about the Kurdish issue without sufficiently underscoring that this is in fact about Turkey’s democratization and system of local administration. We are talking about the Alevis’ problems without saying that this debate is, in fact, about secularism and the future of the Directorate of Religious Affairs. The same thing happened during the debate about the military tutelage regime. We paid too much attention to spectacular trials without asking if all the tutelage regime’s institutions, practices and mechanisms were indeed being dismantled.

It would be a good start to ask who is going to have priority in the country: Is it the people or the state? A number of public surveys are regularly conducted about the relationship between citizens and the state and in most cases, people do affirm that individuals must be placed at the system’s center.

Once you put the people at the center, rather than the state, then you have to accept that no way of life can be imposed on people. In a pluralist country where people’s diverging demands are respected, there is no place for a single kind of school, one model of local governance or higher education, or uniform working hours. In such a country, the state’s mission is limited to coordination and control; it will intervene only if necessary. Putting people at the center of our socio-political order is a tremendous transformation and it could cause some reaction; however, at the end, everyone will benefit equally from it. This change must, of course, start at the society level and mustn’t be imposed from the top; that would be a paradox.

Turkey’s problems and its need for transformation do not only concern those who live in Turkey, but many others who live in the surrounding region, too.

For example, the Kurdish issue’s evolution in Turkey will deeply affect three of our neighbors, in addition to American, Russian and European strategies for the Middle East. Everything will change according to the solution model, from the regional balance of power to the energy resources transfer projects.

No government can deal with all these problems and calculations alone. The right thing to do would be to listen to society instead of trying to change it, then to listen to Turkey’s foreign partners and of course, not to enter into conflict with those who have helped the governing team until now.

Source: Today's Zaman , November 22, 2013


Related News

Turkish Prisons Are Filled With Professors — Like My Father

A Turkish professor who was my father’s colleague and frequently visited our house is now incapable of counting right amount of money to pay for a bottle of water at a prison canteen. He is traumatized as a result of days of harsh treatment during the interrogation. He is sharing a prison cell with my father, longtime friends, in western Turkey.

‘Alliance with PKK’ claims latest conspiracy against Gülen movement

News reports trying to create a perception that the faith-based Gülen movement is cooperating with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) are ill-intentioned, according to Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen’s lawyer, Orhan Erdemli. In a statement he released on Gülen’s website, www.tr.fgulen.com, on Monday, Erdemli pointed out that certain media outlets’ “incriminating” attitude toward his client […]

Police report accuses Gülen based on fabricated ‘gov’t media’ stories

According to a story reported by the news portal Rota Haber, the National Police Department drafted a secret report in June 2014 mostly based on stories in pro-government media which claim that the Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen is the leader of a terrorist organization and is responsible for the wiretapping of a classified meeting at the Foreign Ministry.

Anti-Hizmet plot no more innocent than practices of coup periods

Since the launch of the major corruption operation on Dec. 17, 2013, more than 20,000 police officers, bureaucrats, judges and prosecutors have been reassigned for no official reason other than their suspected links to the Hizmet movement.

Kimse Yok Mu extends hand to Syrian refugees

Around 100 volunteer families from the organization deliver aid boxes to the Syrian refugees every week. Syrian people who are in need of proper assistance expressed their gratitude with the aid assistance.

Alienating Turkey

Pro-government media outlets publish reports and news stories that are dark propaganda. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and leading party figures make unfounded accusations directed at the Hizmet movement at every opportunity. In Turkey, when people want to hide something and divert attention, they create a virtual agenda and you are asked to follow the distortionist.

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

ACDC Builds Clean Water Well in Benin!

Sophia Pandya on Hizmet Movement

US Professor Carter: Gülen struggles for peace against poverty and terrorism

Turkey- the state versus the people

Chatham United Methodist Church Hosted Abraham Interfaith Lunch

Pro-gov’t columnist: Turkish state must assassinate Fethullah Gülen

Enes Kanter: Anyone who speaks out against Erdogan is a target. That includes me.

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News