The same concept applies to everything
Actually, we first heard of this concept while flying for a tour of the Southeast Anatolia Project (GAP) in the presidential plane.
I think it was fellow journalists Cüneyt Arcayürek and Yavuz Donat who were with me on the plane. Turkey’s then President Süleyman Demirel was replying to our questions on the Kurdish issue, saying:
“Gentlemen, note this concept that I am reading and thinking about: ‘Constitutional citizenship.’ To solve the Kurdish issue we need to understand this concept. If we adequately understand it, then we will be able to solve this issue, because the place where everybody feels like a citizen should be the constitution.”
I heard this same concept defended with the same enthusiasm by two other people: Former President Turgut Özal and his advisor Adnan Kahveci.
Those were days when Turkey was on fire. Many of our young sons were being martyred. But Turgut Özal was focusing on one theme: “An awareness of citizenship where the constitution comes above race…”
I remember, late one night Adnan Kahveci came to pick me up from my home. He was contemplating the issue of Turkey’s democratization. It was the peak of bloodshed. In those evenings, even though he was a little shy, Kahveci poured out his heart and talk about “constitutional citizenship.”
While listening to Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu speaking at the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) group meeting in parliament on March 2, these memories poured from the pages of the journals of my professional life.
I once again pay my respects to Demirel, and may Özal and Kahveci rest in peace…
Today I am happy. Of course, it is impressive to hear these words from a prime minister after 25 years:
“When citizenship is in question, we will not look into anybody’s ethnicity, sect or roots. As citizens of a modern, contemporary state, everybody has equal rights. From now on, excluding, rejecting and blacklisting discriminations have come to an end.”
Most importantly, there is no person in this country who would not put their signature to this sentence.
We are revolving around the same point: Constitutional citizenship. In other words, moving beyond races...
First and foremost, this means being human.
Being human means respecting all races, all beliefs and all cultures.
There is a communal name for this respect: The constitution.
In other words, the name for loving each other is the constitution…