A conservative renaissance?
Conservatives came to power by supporting Turkey’s European Union (EU) process more than any other political group at the time, and now they are saying, “We don’t need the EU anymore.”
They adapted almost all of our basic legislations to EU norms until 2011. More importantly, in 2004, they downgraded the national and local practice of the law to a second degree, and upgraded the universal legal system to a constitutional norm.
Today, there is a conflict between the EU and ruling conservatives over topics such as laws, judicial independence and liberties.
For the sake of ‘the cause’
I am not writing this column to pick a fight; the truth is out in the open.
I am writing this column to analyze how 15 years of experience impacted conservative minds.
Topics such as justice, judicial independence, liberties and freedoms were forgotten, no? A significant number of people have forgotten these concepts. Certainly for the sake of “the cause,” those who support the government’s oppressive policies today are just as many as those who supported the “liberal” policies of yesterday.
Those who support these policies without even questioning what this “cause” holds for vital areas of life, such as justice, the economy, diplomacy, education among others...
However, there are also those who question and who defend, concepts of democracy, checks and balances, liberty and justice.
There are less of them in the pro-government media world and more among the independent publications of the web.
Kemal Öztürk, a visionary columnist of the daily Yeni Şafak, says, “Closed regimes stand as enemies against freedom of thought.”
“An idea grown in a bell glass cannot lay roots, or blossom in any society. Like vitamins to a human body, people who feed off of the same source will only nurture certain parts of the being as the other parts weaken. This is how the dogmatic mind is born. It goes against all changes, all differences, all ‘others’—takes them as enemies ... The greatest blessing is criticism...” (April 27).
There are many such columnists at the daily Karar as well. One of them, Mehmet Okutan, asks: “Is the conservative mind losing its memory?” He stands firmly against a “We suffered for years, now it’s their turn” attitude. He reminds us of the past liberal stance of the government and says: “We should not forget that no matter what our beliefs, identities, visions are, liberty, freedom and justice are life-sources for us all” (Aug. 21).
There are many examples like this.
They do not have a significant political and societal impact yet. With us, all mainstream ideologies have an authoritarian tendency anyway. Concepts such as checks and balances, party politics, liberties and freedoms do not have stable meanings in our political culture.
Yet, Turkey’s sociological road leans towards freedoms.
Although the government’s power was mobilized in the referendum, 10 percent of the ruling party voters said “no.”
How 60 percent of the more educated and more urban young voters said “no” also stands as a sociological sign looking forward.
Through the concept of “liberal theology,” the religious academic groups are also forming new commentaries.
Collectivist traditions are conflicted with “personhood and free thinking” concepts, backed up with Islamic references. Women’s rights and justice are also part of the discussion.
Sociological ground waves such as urbanization, extroversion and women becoming active in society are flowing Turkey towards a liberated democracy path—a dynamic in which individuality, free thinking, the value of life and the rule of law matter.
Conservatives and all streams can only establish their own renaissances by embracing a modern model of a liberal democracy.