The ‘government of excuses’ has failed
There are certain days in the life of every nation that for various reasons – for example, to serve as a demonstration of togetherness – must be celebrated if for no other reason. Some nations have a day or two, some have a couple of them, and some enjoy celebrating something every other day and fill the calendars with those important days to celebrate or remember.
Whatever it might be for the French to mark Bastille Day, what pride an American might feel on the Tea Party Anniversary, or what Norwegians feel in marking their Constitution Day, Turks should mark with pride and gratitude the anniversary of the start of the Turkish War of Liberation, the opening of the Turkish Grand National Assembly in Ankara, Victory Day or Republic Day.
Was it not unfortunate that the tall, bald, bold and ever angry man, who is always yelling at someone, has been away over the past many years when Turkey is marking any of those important days? Worse, the trivial anniversaries of some trivial political developments or a birthday, whose exact date cannot be ascertained for sure but has been converted into week-long celebrations, have come to overshadow the April 23 opening of the Parliament in Ankara, which the founding father of the republic dedicated as a day for Turkish national sovereignty and children.
Those in the top echelons of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the political Islamist government of the country have been suffering from “serious colds” or something else every year during those important days of the nation, or simply claim “credible terrorist threats” as a reason to cancel the celebrations.
Sometimes, creativity has been employed to find another “excusable” pretext to cancel or at least avoid participating in the celebrations apart from the nasty foreign trip insincerity – as if while fixing those visits, the Foreign Ministry and the protocol department were unaware of such important days. One is the most excusable pretext – and unfortunately thanks to the extremely efficient governance capabilities of the government we have an abundance of it – was “anniversary celebrations were canceled because the nation was saddened by terrorist attacks and the loss of our sons.”
Did anyone make a calculation as to what fearsome number of sons have fallen to terrorism since the November elections? The number, unfortunately, is one far higher than the overall human loss of the 1974 Turkish intervention in Cyprus. That was war, what is this? Don’t we live through a total fiasco of a government in dealing with a separatist terrorist threat feeding on some rich acute socio-political menu?
The parliamentary speaker might cancel celebrations of the anniversary of the opening of the Turkish Parliament. How could anyone be in a celebratory mood anyhow when the nation was mourning its fallen sons? But, to prevent the nation from realizing how bitter and badly the government was failing in the security-focused anti-terror operations, newspapers, TV stations and magazines were all under severe pressure not to print funeral photos on the front pages, and if they were, to not do so with big photographs.
Not declaring national mourning even when over 100 people perished in the heart of Ankara was an option for the government, which declared three days of mourning for the death of the Saudi king or held lavish wedding ceremonies on the very same night eight soldiers killed in combat were timidly laid to rest. Worse, the chief of general staff who could not get even a day of mourning for his fallen sons was able to become part of such an extravagant wedding celebration and be the witness of the groom.
Well, it could be argued that the top officer was there because of protocol and such… If a top commander can undertake such behavior and still feel happy and excusable, that itself demonstrates what a piteous situation the state and the nation has indeed been sailing through.
The systematic effort to undermine and make people forget the founding fathers, particularly Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, has been there for the past 13 years. This effort has been progressing step by step, capturing every other day another stronghold of the “secular republic” while a new extravagant grotesque freak monument of the neo-state of the neo-sultan is erected.
Orderly parading to mark the May 19, 1919, anniversary of the start of the Turkish War of Liberation was – unsurprisingly – was declared illegal. The Republican People’s Party – the founding party of the republic – defied the ban, staged the parade and tens of thousands marched to the Mausoleum of Atatürk to pay their respects to the commander of the War of Liberation. The state declared it could not provide security in the heart of Ankara, at the Mausoleum of its founder, and banned the parade. The Islamist government must employ more creative excuse writers, as their stock of excuses have run out.
Oct. 29 is coming… They’d better find some better excuses to cancel the celebrations of the proclamation of the republic.