No more coups, no more polarization

No more coups, no more polarization

The first anniversary of the bloody July 15, 2016, coup attempt is being marked in week-long events across the country, with major activities slated to take place over the weekend, particularly in Ankara and Istanbul, two of Turkey’s largest cities heavily targeted by the coup plotters on that night. 

Commemorating the coup attempt is necessary and important in order to make sure that the future of Turkey will be immune to such undemocratic interventions. 

It’s also crucial to look into the root causes of the coup attempt from a more objective perspective so that we do not fool ourselves. That’s the only way to turn such a heinous attack on our country into an opportunity to re-promote democracy, the rule of law and human rights. This obliges a mutual understanding on the basis of culture of compromise between political parties with different world views and ideologies. 

In this regard, accusations directed at the opposition parties, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), for acting in cooperation with terror organizations are not helpful for a united country. 

In an interview with the BBC, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan accused the main opposition CHP of siding with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and of denying the spirit of unity in Turkey. “They have always been separatists. And the main opposition has acted with the terrorist organization,” Erdoğan said. 

This categorization of the main opposition comes just a week after Erdoğan labeled HDP co-leader Selahattin Demirtaş, who has been arrested since October 2016 but not convicted, a terrorist. 

CHP is the second largest political party and the HDP is the third largest, representing nearly one fourth and one eighth of the Turkish nation.  

Furthermore, these accusations accompany a frequently used discourse by Erdoğan and other government officials as well as the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) that try to associate the CHP with the Fethullahist Terror Organization (FETÖ). It has been observed that this attempt has been intensified during and after CHP leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu’s “justice march.” 

At the point that we have arrived at, it’s of no use to recall that the Gülenist organization has long been the real and main ally of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) since it took power late 2002. It would also be futile to recall how the CHP stood against controversial constitutional amendments in 2010 on the grounds that it will cause Gülenist judges and prosecutors to exercise the control over the entire judiciary. 

No, it’s not the time to rake up the past, especially when we are respectfully set to commemorate the 249 martyrs and thank those who hit the streets standing against coup plotters in defense of our republic and democracy.   

All responsible leaders, those in power and in opposition, should give up on polarizing discourses and labeling each other terrorists and criminals, keeping in mind that we need unity and solidarity to survive this dangerous and constantly unstable geography. It’s also a must to make Turkey a democracy based on shared values and norms. No more coups and no more polarization are the basic demands of the Turkish people on the very day it marks the first anniversary of the thwarted coup.