Statute days at CHP
FİKRET BİLAWhenever there is talk of a “statute” in the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP), be sure that a struggle for leadership is starting. The “statute congresses” are rehearsals.
The headquarters and the opposition measure their powers during these congresses. Depending on the outcome, they demand a congress with presidential elections or they back down.
Now is the time for the “days of the statute” in the CHP. There will be two statute congresses held. One is because the leader wants it, the other is because the intra-party opposition wants it.
The question, “Since they both want a congress where the statute will be discussed exclusively, why are there two congresses being held?” can be realistically answered with the following: “Actually the problem is not the statute; it is the measuring of whether or not there is enough power to topple Kılıçdaroğlu.”
If the problem were the statute
If you ask how certain it is that the problem in the CHP is not the statute, the answer to this question is in the background of the existing statute itself.
The CHP had a statute. Former leader Deniz Baykal and his team concluded that this statute was anti-democratic. They attempted to make a democratic statute. They changed the anti-democratic statute and made the present one.
Now, those names who made this statute want to change the statute they have made on the grounds that it was “not democratic.”
Since you made this statute because it is democratic, then why do you want to change it? Or, since you made this statute, why didn’t you make it democratic? Or, as you have made this statue based on democracy, why did you not implement it but instead kept it suspended for months?
While you now want to change the statute you have made based on democracy on the grounds that it is not democratic, don’t you owe an explanation to members? About what you are doing?
It is impossible not to direct some questions to the CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu entourage on the topic of the statute. Kılıçdaroğlu had emphasized that this statute was not democratic during his rise to the leadership. While he was a candidate, he had promised “intra-party democracy.” He now argues that he is holding a statute congress to keep his promise.
When Kılıçdaroğlu took office, he used the powers that this statute, the one he described as anti-democratic, had granted him.
To those who asked him, “Why do you implement the statute you are against?” he answered that the judiciary had warned them, and this warning at that time came in very handy for Kılıçdaroğlu.
There needs to be an answer indeed to the question, “If you ‘had to’ apply the anti-democratic statute upon the warning of the judiciary, then why did you wait until the opposition collected a sufficient number of signatures to change it?”
What is happening now shows that the problem in the CHP is not the statute. However, it will still be a huge achievement if the CHP manages to introduce a democratic statute through this.
It is also indeed another discussion point that the CHP, which founded the Republic and democracy and is the oldest party in Turkey, still has a “democratic statute” issue.
CHP should be transparent
Intra-party opposition is a democratic path and a right.
Those who have designs on the leadership should be able to openly come forward, express their criticisms, their programs and be able to enter the competition in a democratic way and not be exposed to exclusion through statute and delegate games.
They should be able to come forward with a Turkey project, an order project, not with statute obstructions, with delegate lordships and games as seen in clans.
The CHP’s problem for years has been its continuous inner struggles. It is the intra-party policy mentality that waits for the suitable moment amid a culture of ambush.
Except for former leader Bülent Ecevit’s emergence with the “center-left and change of order” discourse that addressed the public directly at the end of the 1960s and the beginning of the 1970s, there has not been a similar process again in the CHP and the Democratic Left Party (DSP).
Opposition wear and tear
The CHP should spend as much energy it spends on statute congresses on policy-generating congresses. There is a phenomenon called “attrition of power” in politics. There does not seem to be any attrition of power in the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) in its 10th year in power.
Nonetheless, there is talk of an “attrition of the opposition.”
The CHP, which includes valuable political scientists, should scrutinize this phenomenon. Its congresses should instead be reserved for this.
Fikret Bila is a columnist for daily Milliyet, in which this piece appeared yesterday. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.