Leaving democracy at the leisure of the PKK
Mehmet Ali Şahin, a former deputy prime minister and current Justice and Development Party (AKP) parliamentarian, said recently in a statement that the powers given to the military in the fight against terror were out of “necessity.”
He said that if there was success in the fight against terror, these powers would be taken back, and added: “They say you are taking backward steps from democracy. Yes, we do it by knowing that and do it because Turkey’s conditions necessitate it. If we were to oblige and make such an arrangement the principal party responsible for that is the [outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party – PKK] and its political wings.”
Şahin is a prominent figure in the ruling party. And we hear from his mouth that the government gave the military powers that were not accorded in a democracy, because the PKK was responsible.
I do not recall how many times I wrote this point during the peace process: If democratization and the solution to the Kurdish problem were at the mercy of the PKK, it would lead us nowhere.
It was the biggest mistake to talk only with the PKK and assume the PKK would voluntarily lay down arms and retreat. In fact, the PKK used this process to turn cities into ammunition stores.
This is the reason why more than 500 police officers and soldiers have died at young ages to fill the ditches in southeastern cities.
Yet the government at that time had in its hands the possibility of democratizing all of Turkey in an integrated manner and marginalizing the PKK in that region. But the real purpose was not democratization but rather gathering votes during elections. That’s why they turned a blind eye to the PKK. And now they are backsliding from democracy, but again the purpose is not the fight against the PKK.
Behind the image of the fight against the PKK, they are after terrorizing society and forming the Islamist authoritarian regime of their dreams.
The need to review the customs union with the European Union
The AKP has been in power since the Nov. 3, 2002, general elections.
The AKP possesses a majority that enables it to pass any law it wants in parliament.
It has the ability to even change the education system from top to bottom via articles included in an omnibus law passed in parliament in one night.
It has a majority that enables it to do anything it wants both theoretically and practically.
In only a short while they will engage a civilian coup against the constitutional order and via votes in parliament they will tie the judiciary completely to the government.
This is the level of power they have. Yet, let’s listen to what Deputy Prime Minister Numan Kurtulmuş said the other day:
“Turkey has suffered serious losses from the customs union. It is a necessity to review and negotiate the customs union again.”
This was not said by a member of an opposition party. On the contrary, he is a high-level member of a party which has been in government for the past 14 years and which sees no reason for consensus while taking any steps.
In the course of the past 14 years there have been numerous meeting between the European Union and Turkey. We have not heard about such an issue in these meetings.
I am curious, why did they realize it only recently and are talking about it only now?