Seeing everybody on the opposite side as an enemy
İSMET BERKANWe all know that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) has a high concern for survival.
As a matter of fact, they are quite right. Coup d’état attempts, their party closure law suit, military memorandums… The past 11 years have not been easy.
However, on the other hand, the AK Party has also consolidated its power; especially after 2009 and mostly after the 2010 Sept. 12 referendum, the possibility of the AK Party government being terminated in an unlawful way or undemocratic way has gone down to almost zero.
We, those who view from outside, see it like this, but obviously the view is different from near Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Erdoğan and his close aides, who, almost from the first day, interpreted the demonstrations related to the Gezi Park as “against Erdoğan.”
Of course the demonstrators did not have such a view as, “Erdoğan is a good person but his aides present us wrongly to him.” They are shouting in crowds “Erdoğan, resign.” As a matter of fact, it is no exaggeration to say that the main “hate person” in the demonstrations is Prime Minister Erdoğan.
It is very natural indeed for politicians especially politicians who have ruled the country for more than 10 years to have as many dislikes as likes. Erdoğan is not a politician who wouldn’t know this. But apparently, he interprets the voices rising from the square as “They are not only against my style; they are against my existence in this world.”
It was already obvious that his interpretation was like this from the first days through the words of his advisor Yalçın Akdoğan, who said, “We will not let you devour Erdoğan.” There are indeed people who want to “devour Erdoğan.” They do exist but it is questionable whether they are big enough to do so. Actually, the fact that the country’s main opposition party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP), can in no way take strength from the Gezi activists, moreover the fact that they are being excluded, further weakens those who want to “devour Erdoğan.”
However, the AK Party acts based on analyses that are just the opposite of what I see from where I stand. Yesterday, we read in Abdülkadir Selvi’s column in yesterday’s daily Yeni Şafak that the prime minister at his party’s central executive body MKYK delivered a speech that can be summarized as “Fight until the end.” He finished his speech with verses taken from the prayer that the Otttoman Janissary march recites. I am sure this political stream knows very well from the days of Feb. 28 how to see enemies at every corner, how to start a war with non-existent windmills, and how to see its own citizen not as a rival but as an enemy.”
But, as you can see, today everything is vice versa. There is an opposition that does not have a political party and that looks as if it will not have a political party affiliation. And the prime minister is conducting election propaganda against this opposition. He will hold town square rallies, if needs be, he will go from one city to the other; whereas there is no enemy over there. Maybe an opponent but it is not the enemy.
Triple analyses of the PM
We learn of this analysis of the prime minister about the Gezi incidents through Abdülkadir Selvi’s column:
“The reasons for these incidents are:
1- Resolution process: They are uncomfortable about the resolution process. But we are determined in this matter. We will do it.
2- Economic development: I have throttled the interest rate lobby. I have pulled it down to less than 5 percent. I have taken the economy from the interest rate and handed it over to the real economy. There is a segment in this country that strives on interest rates. They are the ones behind these incidents.
3- Because we are an international actor: The external connections, foreign supporters of these are uncomfortable that we are an international actor.”
The prime minister apparently sees what is going on as such. I wonder how those living in tents at Gezi Park see it?
İsmet Berkan is a columnist for daily Hürriyet in which this piece was published June 11. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.