Test of Turkish society

Markar ESAYAN
Markar ESAYAN


Date posted: December 25, 2013

MARKAR ESAYAN

The tension and debates that sparked following a corruption operation launched on Dec. 17 had its first political results with the resignations of three ministers. It is very likely that there will be a Cabinet reshuffle this week. This Cabinet reshuffle, which had earlier been planned due to some ministers running in the local elections, has given the government an important opportunity following the operation. In this way, the transition will be less turbulent.

Yes, corruption is a very serious problem but it is not our main problem. A very crucial test is awaiting Turkish society.

Let me try to elaborate on this.

Over the past 11 years, Turkey has been undergoing an important transformation. While it seems to defend secular and modern-looking Western lifestyles, it is trying to come out of the tangle of Kemalism, which is a regime disregarding democratic values of the West. Even if Kemalism had at first dreamed of establishing a real Western democracy, it was later defiled and turned into a hegemony of the elite. As a matter of fact, the state became like a gang and oppressed its own people. The state was involved in a massacre in Dersim in the early years of the Turkish Republic and it defended the most painful methods of violence against Kurdish citizens in the 1990s. On Feb. 28, 1997, since the legitimate government was a party of the “pious,” it was removed from power via a coup by this secular-looking elite front. Christian citizens were forced to leave the country by Kemalists a long time ago.

Yes, there are efforts to change this state structure over the past 11 years under the political leadership of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) and thanks to a growing support from the majority of the public. As a matter of fact, the military’s tutelage in the country has been curbed and civilian politics has gained power. The power derived from the military tutelage was passed onto politics and civil society. The democratic coalition which fought against the military tutelage has become free to re-establish the country.

But for some reason, in the current more democratic atmosphere, we debate with each other in a harsher manner using the old methods of the military tutelage. It is not an armed tutelage which is calling the shots during the recent prep schools debate or the graft investigation. Rather, there are civilian groups such as the government and the Hizmet movement. But the tension is as high as it was in 2007.

Of course, this situation can be explained by referring to the lack of a democratic culture. Civilians interact with each other as if they are combating the guardianship. More precisely, they severe their relationships with each other. This destroys the possibility of dialogue and negotiations. Thus we are left with arm wrestling.

However, another major issue is that the underlying structure of the state and civil society still belongs to old Turkey. Corruption is just one of these parameters. Everyone says that the rule of law and democracy should govern us and expects these values to be upheld. This is a nice point. But what if the state apparatus and the legal framework are very problematic? Therefore, it is impossible to assume that we live in an ideal democracy where the rule of law is valued and to maintain our debate accordingly. And the rhetoric of the rule of law and democracy becomes functional only for those who benefit from them.

Everyone was confused over whether there is a united, independent team within the judiciary and police departments who do not have any political goals. But if there is such a team, no one will be surprised. Because there are established traditions in these institutions, we have not taken any steps in order to make them more transparent. Since 100-year-old institutions cannot become more democratic by themselves, the existence of such a team seems more likely to people. This is why, unlike the people living in democratic state governed by the rule of law, we cannot discuss the corruption investigation within its parameters.

In such a situation, people are inclined to support their elected government even if its members engage in corruption. This is because the government is a visible structure which can be changed, the other structure is invisible and people have traumatic memories about invisible structures.

Source: Today's Zaman , December 25, 2013


Related News

Zaman launches satirical magazine, defying pressure with humor

The Zaman daily, which has been under intense government pressure that culminated recently with the detention of its editor-in-chief in a government-backed operation on Dec. 14, 2014, is launching a satirical magazine Monday, in an apparent move to respond to the pressure with humor.

17,000 women, 515 babies in Turkish prisons: SCF report

Thousands of women in Turkey, many with small children, have been jailed in an unprecedented crackdown and subjected to torture and ill-treatment in detention centers and prisons as part of the government’s systematic campaign of intimidation and persecution of critics and opponents, a new report has revealed.

The mosque-cemevi project and the settlement process

ALİ ASLAN KILIÇ, ANKARA In Muş, where I was during the final days of August for the anniversary of the Battle of Manzigert, I had the chance to speak with citizens from both Manzigert and Ağrı about the terror problem and the solution process aimed at Turkish-Kurdish peace. Last Sunday, I was in the neighborhood […]

Why do I take sides

The faith-based social movement Gülen has inspired as one of the major civil society forces in Turkey which, through educational, media, business and social solidarity institutions, promotes democratization, socio-economic development and integration with the global community.

Mother with 25-day-old baby jailed on coup charges in Istanbul

Halime Kaman, a Turkish national who gave birth some 25 days ago at an İstanbul hospital, was reportedly arrested by an İstanbul court on Friday, according to several Turkish media outlets and Twitter accounts.

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

Berat Albayrak, Turkish energy minister and son-in-law of President Tayyip Erdoğan, has said at a conference that people affiliated with the Gülen movement are more dangerous than Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants because they’re well educated and have “higher IQs” than his own.

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

Peace Curriculum Includes Fethullah Gulen

Former Pakistani PM expresses gratitude for Turkish schools

Self-exiled Islamic scholar Gülen rejects Khomeini analogy for potential return to Turkey

Erdogan opponents being monitored in Denmark

Fortunately, we have not closed Gülen schools

Alaton: I’m telling everyone about Turkish schools’ contribution to world peace

Kimse Yok Mu heals the wounds of flood victims in Sudan

Copyright 2022 Hizmet News