A different Erdoğan in Brussels

A different Erdoğan in Brussels

Mehmet Y. Yılmaz
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan went to Brussels.

In his previous visit, he sat in front of his interlocutors as a politician who wants to make his country a member of the European Union by democratizing it.

This time around, the situation is a bit more complex.

Looking at Erdoğan, the European Union officials will not see “a Muslim democrat decided to be European.”

We can find the clues to how they will perceive their interlocutor in the European Commission’s progress reports or in the recent statements from European Union officials.

I will tell you what they will see in front of them:

-A politician who wants to disperse peaceful protests through police violence and a figure that has no tolerance to democratic criticism.

-A leader who upheld police violence saying “the police have written a legend.”

-A leader who wants to abolish judicial independence through the law and make the judiciary dependent on him in order to cover up a corruption investigation in his country.

-A personality who wants to be a member of the European Union and says at the same time “Europe cannot interfere with our affairs.”

-A leader who watches the killing of his citizens through bombs thrown from planes but evades investigation

-A prime minister suspected of providing arms to Islamic militants in Syria.

-A leader of a country where journalists are worn out in jails.

A leader who initially claimed to bring order to the Middle East as a big brother, who later ended up as politician who has lost all influence in the region and is at odds with everybody.

-A political figure that does not look like anybody in the democratic world.

-A paranoiac that holds some of the members of a union that he wants to become a member of responsible for all the negative developments in his country

This is absolutely not a bright picture!

Nice system, but this is not America

Education Minister Nabi Avcı said the university entrance examination would be lifted.

“The university entrance examination will be abolished. The universities will be separated into three categories depending on their advancement. There will be central exams held for transition to universities. A model similar to the one in the United States will be adopted for university admissions. A student graduating from high school will be able to be admitted to the university with his or her file,” he said.

It indeed sounds nice when phrases like “similar to America” are planted in them.

However, we have a serious trust issue between us and the state. Here, this place is not America. We are not so sure that as citizens our rights would be protected and that any wrong would hit the wall of justice.

In America, universities are independent; their admissions are transparent. A student, at the stage of application is able to guess beforehand to which one of the three or five universities he or she would be accepted.

Here, universities are under the Higher Education Board (YÖK). Which one is YÖK under, we do not know yet: The community or the government?

The administrative staff who run the universities are elected by this board. They are appointed by the President also taking into account their political features.

We do not know yet how many of them are loyal to the community or to the government.

You of all the governments, have messed up the judicial system, have politicized it; how can we be sure that you would not do the same in university admissions?

You observed only partisanship in recruitments from the smallest civil servant position to the biggest; and now while you are selecting students for the university, how can you guarantee that you would not discriminate such as “This one is from the community, this one is from the AKP, from CHP, from MHP; this student is Kurdish, this one Armenian, this student is Alevi and this, Sunni”?

Will you attach the business card of the AKP district head saying, “The card holder is our kin, it would be suitable to place him/her in the engineering faculty.”