June 22, 2015

‘No’ to a bloody venture

Ekrem Dumanlı

Undoubtedly, the June 7 election is a turning point. The people removed the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) from power as a single party government after 13 years. They said “no” to this government. There are still some who fail to understand this clear message or to avoid taking a lesson from it. Is that possible? No. The voters sent a strong message. This was a strong response to the political administration's arrogance, illegal preferences, luxury and polarization policies and practices.

Now President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan does not make any threats; he speaks against ego, gives messages of unity and solidarity and tries to give the impression of impartiality. He destroyed so many bridges; he said he might invite party leaders to the palace, but no leader accepted this invitation. If you act as if you will stay in power forever and lose a sense of responsibility, you will be left all alone.

Now there is a state of deadlock in politics. Erdoğan is strongly opposed to the reopening of the corruption and bribery files. However, 60 percent of the voters ask for an investigation into this matter. In addition, the popular will demand that everybody (and particularly the president) respect the boundaries of the law. There is no escape from that.

A number of statements and comments have been made indicating that the president wants a new election. The palace did not deny these arguments; in some interviews, they even implied there would be an early election. But this is not something that requires an early election. The popular will is clear. There are many coalition alternatives. Besides, there is no doubt that a snap election will be extremely costly for the economy.

What will change if a snap election is held? Normally, nothing would change. The people conclude that the ruling party is now tired, that it no longer subscribes to its initial philosophy and that it should take a break. If the current outlook does not change after an election, will there be another one? A number of analysts and experts note that the AK Party will further decline. Of course, this analysis is based on the assumption that nothing out of the ordinary occurs.

However, the attitudes of those who want an early election raise concerns that there might be another plan. Many allegations have been raised; but the relevant parties did not deny them. This raises questions as to whether there is a plan to create chaos in case of an early election. For instance, it is argued that in order to address the issue of election defeat, the Turkish military will be deployed to Syria. Well, this may happen; the supporters of the political administration have been provoking a war by referring to the Kurdish People's Protection Units (PYD). They argue that the PYD is even more dangerous than the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). But the following questions can be asked: “Did not you invite PYD leader Saleh Muslim to Turkey and host him in the facilities of the intelligence agency? Did not a number of AKP figures including Erdoğan welcome and embrace the PYD and its leader?”

Unfortunately, those who fail to understand that power is only temporary and who think the political positions will last forever can do anything. History books narrate the stories of figures who destroyed their countries in order to stay in power. Only in democracies is power not absolute and unlimited.

It is not just the external chaos plans that raise concerns among the people. When there is an election atmosphere, there is also domestic upheaval. Please remember the nightmares before the June 7 election. The concrete evidence in the murder of a prosecutor in Çağlayan Courthouse still remains hidden; the same is also the case with the attack against the Fenerbahçe soccer team. And the attack against people at a Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP) political rally in Diyarbakır has not been resolved yet.

It appears that somebody is not willing to accept the popular will. Those who are aware that an early election does normally not change anything plan to ensure that the HDP remains below the election threshold, exhaust the power of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) with coalition scenarios and generate support based on ideas about stability. It is necessary to underline one fact that they are unable to think: Those who try to undermine the country in an attempt to cover up their past mistakes will be caught red-handed in every move to establish chaos and their plans will be aborted. Those who have done political engineering in this country for many years were unable to generate any values. Even their temporary victories were a defeat for them. The best thing to do is to accept the message the voters delivered in the ballot box and to reinstate rule of law. Plans for chaos worked well in the past, but they are no longer working. Those who plan for war or domestic upheavals now cannot manipulate the public.

The party state has collapsed; do not you see that?

If you want me to summarize the results of the June 7 elections, I have a clear answer: The public took the party state down. They did not allow the AK Party they promoted before for its achievements over the last 13 years to form a single-party government.

We have become a party state, as evidenced by the subordination of governors, district governors, judges, prosecutors and other public officers to the government rather than the state and the violation of the Constitution and laws by them. The popular will rioted against this repression and said no to this. Are the bureaucrats aware of this? Most of them, yes. But there are some who do not feel the impact of the quake on June 7. They are acting like members of a party rather than officials of the state.

For instance, Ankara Chief Public Prosecutor Harun Kodalak issued a message that contained some political references. The awkward message showed how far Turkey has distanced itself from justice. We need to ask him: Are you aware of illegality in some cases, as you mentioned? For instance, an investigation initiated by one of the prosecutors under your control, Serdar Coşkun, in which he made terror charges collapsed last week. The whole case was built upon a baseless statement by a police officer. And that officer said in the first hearing that Erdinç Elpe, the head of the Organized Crime Unit of the Ankara police force, and deputy head Murat Çelik placed pressure upon him and that what he said was a lie. Well, given that the whole case collapsed in the first hearing, the prosecutor should have something to say. In fact, is there any investigation that has the potential to survive? Innocent people were placed under arrest based on some absurd remarks of a former intelligence officer who wanted to make sure that the Hizmet movement is implicated in an unidentified murder committed 19 years ago. Is there any evidence? None. And when it became evident that the statement of a man who was expelled from the profession was ungrounded, those who were detained were released. The Tahşiye case is also ridiculous. But Hidayet Karaca is still under arrest. Does this have anything to do with justice and conscience?

The people destroyed the party state, and they will keep doing the same if illegal acts are committed. There is only one thing that the people ask state officers to do: They should not favor a certain party, ideology, movement, association or group in the performance of their duties and they should uphold justice.

The state collects taxes from all people and uses this money for the people without discrimination. For this reason, state officers are not the servants of a certain party or leader. Sadly, this criterion has been violated for a while. And people reacted to this. The existence of tyranny within a party can only happen in a Baath regime. Turkey will get rid of any party dictatorship; but I am not sure if some state officials are aware of it.


The party state approach has undermined the prestige of state institutions. And the Religious Affairs Directorate is the one that was affected most by this. However, the directorate was a respected institution; that image should have been protected very carefully. The directorate, however, adopted a partisan position in its services as evidenced by its recent decision to prevent Samanyolu Broadcasting Group (STV) from performing a Ramadan broadcast in a mosque while allowing other TV stations to do so. Will this state institution that dares to discriminate against TV stations now also do the same to the people who attend the mosques due to their party, community or religious affiliations? Well, the İstanbul mufti must have an explanation for this, given that he did not resign. If he remains silent, then he confirms that politics was involved in religious affairs. In this case, even the legitimate branches of a party are less partisan than the directorate.

What is happening in İzmir? It is hard to understand. Some civil society groups organized iftar dinners for the poor and needy. They got the necessary permits from the local administration but the district governors in İzmir ordered the collection of the tents set up for the organization. The bureaucracy was not that aggressive even during the Feb. 28 process. Five district governors sent the same memorandum. So it is pretty likely that they received orders from the same person. And that person is under the command of a party, not the state. If this is the case, what will these bureaucrats do when that party is no longer in power? Will they serve in the local branches of the party? It is a shame.

The 10th +1T Newspaper and Design Days event was held last week. It was a great program. International guests discussed the most current and important subjects concerning the media. The excitement among the participants was amazing. I should tell you that there are greater efforts for the +1T event next year. Is that not nice? While some are engaged in partisan approaches, your daily, Zaman, keeps working hard for excellence.

Published on Today's Zaman, 22 June 2015, Monday