True democrat: Greece or Turkey?
MEHMET TEZKANThe crisis in Athens shook not only Greece, but it also rocked Europe. You know the whole affair, but I will briefly sum it up.
The European Union (EU) announced that it was going to provide aid worth 130 billion euro for Greece’s ailing economy.
(A little side note: Recall Turkey’s economic crisis in 2001; we were rejoicing when the first slice of aid arrived from the IMF in the amount of $ 1 billion.)
(Second side note: Greece entered the European community in 1981. The funds it received since then amount to 500 billion euros.)
(Third side note: They had also told us to apply together with Greece and become an EU member. We had refused. Whether we were right or wrong is up for grabs!)
Let us return back to the subject.
Athens will take the grant, but it will also pay it back.
By enacting a load of measures. Salaries will be reduced, social programs will be cut down. In short, they will be tightening their belts.
It is no easy matter to pay off 130 billion euros. That is a heavy load.
And precisely because it is such a heavy load, Greek Prime Minister Papandreou said he cannot bear it alone.
He announced he was resorting to a referendum.
If the ballot box was to produce the nay vote – and it would – this would amount to a collapse of the EU. Or at least the EU’s reason d’etre would have to come under question.
Germany and France intervened and thus the referendum idea was abandoned.
All that I have said so far appears like a reference to an economic event. That the subject is covered in the economy pages also testifies to this.
But there is also another dimension pertaining to democracy.
That is what I will touch upon today.
Three female deputies first opposed the Greek Prime Minister’s decision to go to a referendum.
They said they would not vote in favor during a vote of confidence.
The ruling PASOK is already sitting on a knife’s edge. It has 152 deputies, where 151 seats are required to obtain a majority.
The moment three female deputies cast the “nay” vote, the government falls.
Certain deputies and ministers have also joined in with the three female deputies.
Can you fancy such a scenario in Turkey?
Deputies and ministers of the government bring their own party down from power.
Or threaten to do so.
Because if they did bring their own party down from power, then early elections would follow and the nay-sayers and the mutineers would then never again be able to make it to the party list. Their leaders would cross them out and they could not serve as deputies.
For that reason, no one could stare into the eyes of their leader and say they will deny him or her the vote of confidence, if their leader proceeded according to his or her own wishes, even if they remain unconvinced.
They did so in Greece, however.
Now I ask you.
Is it Greece or us who really has a full democracy?
* Mehmet Tezkan is a columnist of the daily Milliyet in which this piece appeared Sunday. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.