AKP-MHP charter not a remedy for Turkey’s problems

AKP-MHP charter not a remedy for Turkey’s problems

Alongside the numerous other consequences of the Uludere tragedy, one has a particular importance. It paved the way for an alliance between the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP), with the former aligning its anti-terror policies with the nationalist oppositional party at the expense of forgetting its promises to solve the decades-old Kurdish question through political means, especially in the course of renewing the constitution.

The two party’s chairmen defended Interior Minister İdris Naim Şahin’s description of the victims of the Uludere strike as affiliates of the terror organization through a very hardliner and statist rhetoric, ignoring growing calls for a speedy probe to reveal how this operational mistake could have been committed.

In this sense, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s address to his party group on Tuesday can be taken as the guidebook of the AKP in the constitution-making process. Coupled with his Monday statement accusing the Republican People’s Party (CHP) of undermining the constitution-making process, hinting the social democrats are not sincere in creating the new charter, it helps us to see the entire iceberg.

The pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP) has already lost all its grounds in the eyes of Erdoğan and the government. Erdoğan went further yesterday and accused the BDP of “committing dastardly attacks” against Turkish troops.

For those who closely follow Ankara politics, Erdoğan’s approach is not surprising. Yet this column on March 14 suggested that the ruling party’s strategy is to force oppositional parties to leave the Constitutional Conciliation Commission by increasing the tension, which would pave the way for the Justice and Development Party (AKP) to freely craft the new constitution on their own.

Current political landscape doesn’t offer much of a promising ground for a fully democratic, contemporary Turkey. With a presidential candidacy (be it under the current system or one similar to the United States or a semi-presidential system such as France’s) in mind for 2015, Erdoğan will likely continue to use a nationalist, conservative language with religion-motivated policy.

Otherwise, what would explain Erdoğan’s unexpected attacks against abortion and cesarean sections? Or attempting to shut down the State Theaters which successfully help younger generations understand the notion of beaux arts? Or giving an overhaul change in the education system to allow 10-year-old children to go to religious vocational schools?

Besides, a tradition of nationalist ideologies remaining from the 70’s and 80’s is to blame foreign powers when things are not proceeding on the right track. This tradition is being increasing revisited by our current government as well.

It is crystal clear that a constitution approved by only AKP and MHP will fall short in meeting the demands of the society for a fully democratic, in-line with universal and contemporary human rights, advocate for the rights of the minorities and a permanent civilian charter. In addition, this would kill hopes for resolving fundamental problems of the country with terrorism on the top of that list.