Thirteen years later

Thirteen years later

The famous March 1, 2003, motion debate in a “closed session” of parliament resulted in “153 pages of minutes, four voice tapes, five pages of stenographer notes and 245 pages of voting tabulations regarding the open voting…” 

The session on Saturday, March 1, 2003, started at 2 p.m. and was headed by Parliament Speaker Bülent Arınç.

The motion, which started with “Sending Turkish Armed Forces troops to foreign countries, allowing foreign armed forces units into Turkey for six months…” was to open the door for 62,000 foreign troops, 255 planes and 65 helicopters to enter Turkey, making us the fifth wheel in the U.S.’ (and our) intervention into Iraq. 

In those days the material pledges were being discussed, which were publicly known as the “horse trade.” There was a front against the motion, something that is even difficult to imagine today. 

That front had even put ads in newspapers. 

Now, this may sound strange in the 2016 model of Turkey, but…

While the motion was being debated, a little further from parliament, 10,000 people of different views had gathered at Sıhhiye Square in Ankara to hold a “No to War” rally. As a matter of fact, they were actually able to hold this rally; they were not accused of being traitors, no armed vehicles were driven towards them.  

I am talking about 13 years ago; there is no need to rollback your memory settings. Or do so, I am not so sure. 

Of course, we were still “old Turkey;” there was no democratic maturity then. 

Parliament then was made up of 361 Justice and Development Party (AKP) deputies and 178 Republican People’s Party (CHP) deputies. A total of 533 deputies were present at the closed session. 

In the end, there were 264 affirmative votes and 250 negative votes and the motion was rejected because an absolute majority was not met. In the vote, the AKP was known to have 99 “rebellious” deputies. 

The chairman of the AKP at that time was Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the prime minister was Abdullah Gül. Erdoğan was in favor of the motion. He wanted it to pass.

If Erdoğan wanted this motion to pass, then who did not? 

While, nowadays, Saudi Arabia is whispering plans to compile an army and start a campaign in Syria (God forbid). We should be thankful to Erdoğan for reminding us about those days. 

Erdoğan has a clear position on this matter. He had a view, a plan, an authority zone he wanted to expand. I am not going to ask whether he used the March 1, 2003, motion to pave the way for a Syrian campaign. I think so, but others may disagree. 

I have other questions. If we have a similar situation, what would be the stance of “new Turkey?” 

There is no need for a motion; it is already available. But are we going to be able to see a ruling party deputy, a minister, a prime minister or a speaker of parliament say, “No, my conscience does not allow me to do this?”

However, will those who are against the making of strategic mistake after strategic mistake, who are against the exaggeration of compiling an army with Saudi Arabia and cohorts and marching to Syria, be able to gather at Sıhhiye Square again, 13 years later, all together with leftists, rightists, Islamists, Trotskyist, Turks, Kurds and others? 

It was 13 years ago and now it is 13 years later; this is how the whole picture looks…

Note: Meanwhile, legally, the minutes of the March 1, 2003, debates could have been opened 10 years later but it had to be approved at the general assembly. Even though the CHP and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) pressured for it, it was not possible. Open them. Let us know what was said that day. What are we hiding from whom?