Wednesday, 20 May 2015

What the Columnists Say

Published in Roundup of Columnists

Ahmet İnsel in Cumhuriyet writes that the purpose of the attacks that were carried out against the premises of HDP in Adana and Mersin was to provoke HDP supporters and incite them take to the streets.  Cengiz Çandar in Radikal writes that Turkey has lost its immunity to Salafism by acting as a sponsor of the Sunni radicals in Syria, in concert with Saudi Arabia­. On the occasion of the death of Kenan Evren, the general who took power in the 1980 coup, Fatih Yaşlı in Yurt notes that Evren fathered today’s “New Turkey” by putting the current neoliberal-Islamic regime in place. Mümtazer Türköne in Zaman similarly observes that Evren’s regime, with its oppressive institutions, is still in place. He also notes that Evren was responsible not only for the coup but also for the wave of assassinations and massacres from 1978 onwards that preceded it and was used to legitimize it. İhsan Dağı on the Diken news site writes that if HDP crosses the threshold to parliament in the upcoming general election, it will restore the faith in competitive democracy, by demonstrating that change by normal ways is still possible in Turkey.




Ahmet İnsel in Cumhuriyet writes that the attacks that were carried out against the premises of HDP in Adana and Mersin aimed not to cause a massacre – for now – but to associate HDP with violence. It is not difficult to fathom that the aim was to provoke HDP supporters and incite them take to the streets. This provocation has only one purpose. That is to scare away those who have so far never voted for HDP but who are planning to do it this time from casting their votes for HDP, by scenes of streets violence that could be blamed on the party. These bombs were set off in order to prevent HDP from crossing the 10 percent threshold. The fact that these murderous plot failed to achieve its ends this time can lead to the execution of more violent acts of provocation in the days ahead. All voters who care about Turkey’s democratic future now have an even bigger responsibility: To ensure that the thing that the power which represents the biggest threat against democratic unity and peace fears most comes about: that HDP crosses the threshold.


Cengiz Çandar in Radikal writes that the empowerment of the Sunni-Salafist organizations in Syria owes as much to the active support of Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates and to the Wahhabi ideology that these countries have promoted as it does to the oppressive rule of the Bashar al-Assad regime. We should not lose sight of the ideological dimension of New Turkey’s approach, personified by Tayyip Erdogan, to these organizations. By allowing these groups to cross its border, by becoming the number one logistical support base of them, and by instructing its own state institutions to establish a close relation with these groups, Turkey has come to engage in an interactive relation with them. It has exposed the institutions of the Turkish state itself to Salafi infection, and gradually the state called Turkey has come to lose its immunity to Salafism. This is the natural harvest of the marriage that Turkey has entered into with Saudi Arabia on the ground in Syria. And this in turn gives us the clues as to what kind of regime change Turkey is moving toward.


Fatih Yaşlı in Yurt notes that when the military coup took place in 1980, the happiest ones were the supporters of the Turkish far right: After all, they had been “protecting the fatherland” against “Muscovite imperialism” and its “internal collaborators,” and now, the military had taken power to “save the fatherland.” Necip Fazıl Kısakürek , one of the most important representatives of Turkey’s reactionary ideology, stood at attention in front of Kenan Evren when he wrote the following lines: “The duty of a real Muslim is to answer Evren like this: Do what you have promised to do, and may you never for a moment leave your leadership over us!..” And Vehbi Koç, who was then the most popular name of the capitalist class, recognized that it was now their “turn to laugh;” in a letter to Evren he implored him to take actions against the trade unions that he alleged had endeavored to crush the Turkish state and the economy. The 1980 coup had nothing to do with “stopping the internal feuding”; it was a straightforward “capitalist coup” staged against Turkey’s left and working class. September 12, 1980 equaled “free market economy plus Islamization.” It was thus on that date that “New Turkey” was born.


Mümtazer Türköne in Zaman writes Evren took many lives, and he opened up wounds in my generation that did not heal for many years. Those who only remember him for what he did after September 12, 1980 overlook his responsibility for what transpired before that date. The purpose of the violence, the assassinations that suddenly escalated from 1978 onwards were intended to pave the way for the coup. A lot of the assassinations and the massacres were committed in order to give legitimacy to the September 12 coup. Evren is now dead, but the governing system that he put in place is still in place. The destructive burden of the High Board of Education (YÖK) not only on education but on the intellectual capacity of the country as a whole is an important symbol of this continuity. Turkey is still run with Evren’s constitution. Another one of Evren’s inventions, the 10 percent threshold to parliament, is used by his successors in order to maintain control over politics. Even if the National Security Council is no longer dominated by the military, it still occupies itself with the things it did when it was headed by Kenan Evren. Civil society organizations are declared “enemies of the state” in a way that happened during the first two years after September 12.


İhsan Dağı on the Diken news site writes that if HDP crosses the threshold to parliament, it could trigger a wave of wider change in Turkey. What could change are not only the power position of AKP, but also the circles of opposition and the Kurdish political movement itself. A HDP which has crossed the threshold is going to renew the faith in change also among opposition circles that don’t vote for the party in this election; what’s more, by demonstrating that change by normal ways is still possible in Turkey, it will restore the faith in competitive democracy that has been undermined during the last years. As the party that has saved Turkey from the authoritarianism of AKP, HDP may be able to connect with a larger constituency, from MHP to CHP supporters. All these predictions may be excessively optimistic. But the way to test them is that HDP crosses the threshold.

Read 29788 times Last modified on Friday, 22 May 2015

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The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.


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