Has the era of republic with no public not come to an end?
İSMET BERKANProbably there are two different kinds of republics in the world: republics with a public and republics with its army/secret service/police.
For instance, “North Korea,” as we know it, is actually the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. It is an example to a republic that has no public but has its army/secret service/police. Or likewise, the “People’s Republic of China.”
The Arab Republic of Egypt: another republic with no public. The republic for a short while remembered the existence of the people but today it once again became a republic with its army/secret service/police. The republic of Egypt, which has an army rather than a public, killed hundreds of people the previous morning by pursuing a goal.
But did not the “Arab Spring” show that the era of republics without a public had come to an end in this region? Yes, it did and if you were to ask me, it still does. The violence that we witness today is the hopeless attempt of the army, secret service and police to stay in power at the risk of hundreds of people’s lives and millions of people’s freedom. They suppose that it is possible to return back to the “republic of no public.”
No it is not. Time is not on their side, it is on the public’s side. Once the genie is out of the bottle, it is impossible to put it back in.
Can there be a democracy without a public?
But is it enough that a republic is a “republic with a public?” Does acknowledging only the existence of the people and succumbing to its decisions guarantee freedoms, equality and brotherhood in that republic?
No it does not.
Our republic also did not have a public. Our republic gained a public when free and just elections took place on May 14, 1950 and thus succumbed to the results of these elections.
But was this enough? If you are to ask some people, yes it would be enough. For me it is not enough, the acceptance of the people’s existence and power, in other words, succumbing to the election results is a “necessary condition” but not a “sufficient condition.”
The existence of the public has been admitted in Egypt too, elections were held, Mohamed Morsi became the president of the country. This was the “necessary condition” for the acceptance of the people’s existence but it was not the “sufficient condition.” If time had been given maybe the “sufficient conditions” could have been fulfilled too but the republic in Egypt was so used to handling its business without the public that the necessary patience was not shown.
Like I am trying to express, the existence of elections and the change of power by elections is a “necessary condition” in democracies but not a “sufficient condition.”
We have also been expressing a similar debate for decades in Turkey. There are many things in our country to keep the people away from democracies, to prevent the public from joining the governance and to avoid the public’s participating in politics. These vary from our political parties’ law to freedom of expression, and from freedom of assembly to the way in which the deputy candidates are specified... Just as the republics without a public have served their time in this region, so has such a republic in our country.
The degrees of fearing from one’s public
Anwar Sadat and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt feared the people. Therefore, the strongest instruments of the state that were under their control were their secret service and army.
Egypt was a typical example of a republic that had its army/secret service/police but did not have a public. Today it has become the same once again, but this will not last long.
It is not fair to compare Egypt and Turkey in this manner, but it is also at fault to say that the public is not feared of in Turkey.
The government’s reaction to the peaceful protests for the Gezi Park proves this fear. Governments that do not fear the people are governments that do not object to the principal human rights of the public and support the implementation of those rights.
One cannot speak of these rights in Egypt, whereas the 100 percent implementation of the rights in Turkey is still a concern of political bargaining.