Terrorism and the responsibility of politics
When you wake up in the morning to news that a bomb has exploded in the middle of Istanbul, claiming the lives of 11 people, you can feel nothing but anger.
Why are those 11 people who woke to go to their jobs no longer with us? Is there no end to doing politics through death, blood, and wrestling over lives? How and when can an end to this come?
More than 500 security officials have lost their lives over the past year. Hundreds of innocent civilians have died. More than 5,000 terrorists who have committed and planned these acts have also been killed. Nearly all of them are our own citizens. Hundreds of thousands of people have left their homes and thus become “refugees” in their own country. Cities and villages have been ruined. Life has come to a halt in the megalopolis Istanbul.
And yet, just one year ago, on June 8, we had just come out of parliamentary elections. There were intense political debates, but bombs were not exploding every day, unlike today.
Elections are big celebrations where democracies renew themselves and where politicians receive their grades from the citizens.
We had held elections and the citizens had decided.
The collapse of politics
Indeed, everything started on the morning of June 8, one year ago. Not just one or two parties, not just one or two political leaders, Turkey’s political institutions started to slip out of the hands of the country’s administration. That is still continuing.
Whether we like it or not, the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) is a part of this country’s politics. Last summer it decided again to reach its political aims through human lives. As it took this decision, the country’s established political institutions started acting according to the PKK’s decision.
From that moment on, politics ceased to be a framework in which you try to build consensus and reach common grounds. It became a framework where political parties, from the smallest to the biggest, only tried to maximize their own interests.
Whether you blame the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its leader President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, or the opposition parties and their leaders, the situation does not change. Today, everyone is only concerned about maximizing their own political interest.
The PKK’s game plan
In a sense, all people and all political institutions have become prisoners of the space delimited by the PKK. No other language can be found in an environment where guns speak.
But just as it is politics that has brought us to this stage, it is politics that will get us out of it.
First and foremost, responsibility falls upon the government. We have come to this point under its rule. The government must question itself, draw lessons from mistakes, and find a new policy road forward.
The opposition has responsibilities too. Merely complaining “they ruined it themselves, they should fix it themselves,” or saying nothing but “they can’t solve it,” makes the opposition one-dimensional.
We can only emerge from the situation we are in with a new politics, winning back our peace. If we cannot come with that new politics we will remain a divided nation where everyone tries to maximize their own political interests.
The commitment to put forward new politics belongs neither solely to the AKP nor to the opposition. All political institutions need to take things in hand. If not, the stability of the system will continue to be threatened.