Writing a constitution with a lot of ‘buts’

Writing a constitution with a lot of ‘buts’

Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, who says he wants the new constitution to “brew a little,” recently met his party’s constitution writing commission and asked it to produce a text that would not allow any “tutelage” and would contain all kinds of freedoms. Rights and freedoms will therefore apparently take their place in the new constitution “in line with contemporary democracies.” 

But however you slice it, the last eight years have been a time when the state has confronted with all its might anyone who has wanted use their democratic rights. It has been a period when the constitution and laws were openly violated, rules were arbitrary, and freedom of the press and freedom to organize were crushed.  

Now, these guys are supposedly going through an “enlightenment.” The new constitution they are writing will guarantee the rights and freedoms that were widely violated up to now and we will be transformed into a country of “contemporary democracy.” 

Frankly I have difficulty believing this. 

According to a report in Hürriyet the other day, Davutoğlu’s meeting with his party’s constitution commission also discussed “the conditions under which fundamental rights and freedoms could be restricted.” It was decided that it would be better if such restrictions were included at the end of each article. 

When I read this, my questions were answered. It means they are writing a constitution with many “buts.” We will see many expressions such as “The press is free but within the limits of the law.” 

So the constitution will include freedoms, but it will also lay the groundwork for how these freedoms could be restricted by the law. 

We will have to grasp, once more, the fact that a government that is neither pro-freedom nor democratic cannot write a liberal and democratic constitution. 

The rage of the football community 

Once again, violence in football peaked this past weekend. In fact, in the lower leagues there is a severe violence experienced almost every week, but this cannot find its way into the sports pages of major papers. 

This time, because it was the Trabzonspor–Fenerbahçe match, the violence took place in front of everybody’s eyes. We should not forget the beaten up Amedspor executives in the VIP stand at the Ankaragücü game either. 

Burak Tatari from the NeoTempo website recently spoke to Professor Artun Ünsal, who wrote the book titled “Tribün Cemaatinin Öfkesi” (The Rage of the Football Terrace Community). 

“As I wrote in my book, violence in Turkey has infiltrated into the capillary vessels of society. In other words, violence does not spread from the terraces to society; it spreads from society to the terraces. The situation can aggravated by the behavior of executives, fans, and at times mistakes by referees. But in essence we are full of tension as a society. This tension is not unique to the past three or four years,” Ünsal said.

“I do not associate tension with ethnic or religious origins. There is an unequal income distribution in Turkey. There are economically exploited people and exploiters. Across the world, this is sugarcoated in nationalist and religious concepts … The issue of education is very serious. More than anything else, there is no adequate approach for responsibility, no adequate law enforcement,” he added.

“The 17-year-old fan from Trabzon who attacked the referee said police told him that ‘he was not a traitor to the nation.’ When he was released, fans applauded him. This is associated with the sentiment of being from the same town. We still cherish the clan culture. There is a protection instinct in other similar incidents. There will also be people who want to protect him and excuse him. The same mentality led to the murder of Turkish-Armenian journalist Hrant Dink, when a couple of people from the same region were easily used for different aims,” Ünsal also said.