A new door for our political life
The millions of people who gathered for the “Democracy and Martyrs” rally on Aug. 7 at Istanbul’s Yenikapı Square, watched by all 81 provinces in the country, demonstrated that we have entered a new era. It also showed that some things have come to an end in our history.
Out of the 240 martyrs who died battling the July 15 failed coup, 173 of them were civilians; they and others actually resisted the coup. The same spirit filled town squares in Turkey on Aug. 7.
For the first time in our history there was enormous resistance by the people against a coup. From now on, if there are any who would attempt to stage a coup, they would know that there will be millions standing against them and will have to face the consequences.
Another first in our history, different from the rebellions in Ottoman times, is that an organization based on mystic sentiments attempted to stage a coup through its extensions in the army.
The conspiracies they held at public central exams, in the military, civil service and the judiciary, are all being revealed now one by one; this is the reason why reactions are so harsh.
Now, the concept of “religion abuse” is being used by even the conservatives. On broadcasters, in newspapers, formations such as “community” and “cult” are being debated; the mystic concepts “sheikh, effendi, dream, blessed, being selected” are being questioned and criticized from the Islamic point of view.
Our secular mentality is now entering another door; it can be said that it will gain both a more liberal and a more rational feature.
Most importantly, it is hope that blossomed at Yenikapı, that our historic illness of political fighting and severe polarization can be overcome. Let us all hope this is not a temporary one.
It would have been a colossal mistake to have perceived the coup as a clash between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the junta. There are some in the world who see it that way. The support of the opposition is extremely important in explaining that the coup was a bloody attack against democracy.
While the coup plotters were bombing parliament, there were deputies from all four parties present at the building, on the watch for democracy. The opposition is also among the delegation that is traveling to the U.S. for the extradition of Fethullah Gülen.
Meanwhile, for President Erdoğan to withdraw his lawsuits against opponents, to invite the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and opposition Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leaders to the presidential palace and the Yenikapı rally, and for the leaders to accept this, have all been very positive actions from this point of view. The Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) should not have been excluded from this picture, by the way.
There is no democracy that does not need the joint action of the opposition when the time comes. One of the causes of certain disasters in our democracy’s history was the irreconcilable clashes between the parties that had turned into vendettas.
In our country, that has such a political tradition, for the political parties to get together and rally for unity and democracy should be a “political milestone,” making a debate and reconciliation mentality dominant.
In our political history we have had revolutionary-conservative polarization. CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, in his speech at Yenikapı, said, “Everyone should know that politics can’t enter mosques, army barracks and courthouses.” He also emphasized press freedom. Politics in such an environment will be more reconciliatory and rational.
I also want to highlight Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım’s pledge to maintain this unifying picture and reconciliation politics.
In order to develop a common political language, we should have common concepts. Let us hope that this unity and communicative climate is not a conjuncture-based one. Let us hope that our political life from now on will not be filled with animosity and rage, rather that debate and reconciliation dominate.