Turkey: From 2012 to 2013
It seems 2013 is on its way to becoming the year that will be remembered by the tripartite electoral race—local, general and presidential. In this electoral tripartite, each race will contribute to a political performance and directly influence the electoral race that comes after it.
Our hopes that progress would be made in the drafting of the new Constitution in 2012 are also left to be realized in 2013. Although some progress has been made, the constitutional committee – at least three of whose four constituent members are political parties that refuse to compromise their political stance – failed to overcome the Old Turkey barrier. While the global economic crisis has stabilized but not yet given any positive indicators of improvement in 2012, Turkey’s economy continued to perform well. Both the growth rate and the current account deficit stagnated, but Turkey’s employment rates remained steady and strong in relation to other comparable economies.
Turkey has a Kurdish issue, and the Kurdish issue has the problem of the PKK. There is only one way out of this vicious cycle. Unless the PKK moves away from acts of terrorism, any discourse on the Kurdish issue will continue to focus on terror. The last few years have witnessed both the culmination of Turkey’s democratization efforts and the intensification of the PKK’s tendency toward acts of terror.
As long as this deep-seated incoherency continues, the hatred at the social level, hesitancy to democratize at the political level, and recurrence of Old Turkey habits in the bureaucratic level, should not come as a surprise to anyone.
The “Arab Revolution,” which has almost become a domestic headline for Turkey in 2012, will continue to dominate headlines. The impact of the deepening crisis in Syria will be felt more, especially in Turkey.
The Ba’ath administration, which is no longer the Syrian regime but has become the Damascus regime, will begin the New Year struggling, not to reclaim its power, but to continue its proxy wars with Russian and Iranian support. Any resolution reached in Syria in the year 2013 will not only have a vast impact on Turkey but the whole region. Turkey, with its steady political stance since the beginning of the crisis, will be the winning party legitimately, morally and geopolitically.
We are living in times when economic, political and security paradigms are shifting globally and political breaking points have been reached regionally. 2012 marked the centennial anniversary of the Balkan Wars. 2013 will start the countdown toward the centennial anniversary of the regional order created in the aftermath of World War I. Turkey, in this context, in 2013, will have the potential to stand out as an island of political stability and security both regionally and globally. Turkey will become stronger as long as it takes steps toward realizing this potential by increasing its capacity and consolidating its democracy.