Cult of personality

Cult of personality

An Ankara court accepted the demand submitted by 543 delegates from the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) for an extraordinary party congress meeting. The MHP administration will challenge this decision at the Supreme Court of Appeals. 

The important aspect in this matter, I think, is why a political party is unable to solve its problem through internal party democratic mechanisms without going to court.

Another issue which is similar in essence is the presidency of the Central Bank. Who will replace Central Bank President Erdem Başçı? What is important in this matter is whether the new name to be selected will protect the Central Bank’s independence like the former presidents and Başçı, or if the name will be in harmony with the political will.    

The main issue is to what extent the political power governing the country and the leader in the party would abide by the rules. 

In the statute of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) there is a rule that says primaries should be prioritized while selecting candidates but it was never practiced. In the MHP, when 543 delegates demand an extraordinary congress, the party administration does not respect this; the issue is taken to court. 

The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) is totalitarian anyway. 

The only party which holds primaries is the Republican People’s Party (CHP), but they have other issues. 

When the Central Bank acts independently, it is accused of “being treacherous and under tutelage,” an example of the dominating political power. The Constitutional Court is also either praised or dragged through the mud depending on the political usefulness of their decisions. 

Prof. Ali Mezghani reminded of French King Louis XIV’s words, “I am the state,” and explained about cult of leaders or presidents in the Arab world. “Since the leader is not restricted by law, his acts are outside the scope of any legal enforcement and protected against any kind of political sanction. The head of state makes others obey him but he does not obey anything. People are grateful to the leader; they are loyal and should remain so…” 

Here, the question is the non-institutionalized structures of society and state. For this reason loyalty and obedience are not for institutions and rules but for persons. You may dedicate your life to the leader of your party but if you anger him, then you become a traitor overnight. 

This problem does not stem from Islam; it comes from the level of development. It was like this in the history of Europe too. In China under Mao Zedong, there were no rules or institutions but the caprices of “President Mao.”

Egyptian economy historian Charles Issawi has also stated that in terms of institutionalization, Turkey is ahead of Middle Eastern societies.  

However, we are behind developed societies. The prerequisite of being a developed society is reaching a level where rules are respected and the merit system works, instead of a cult of personality with patriotic features.

Leaders are also important in developed societies; however, they inspire society without disrupting the domestic democracy in political parties and the rules and institutions in the state administration. 

Even in the order of traffic, how much difference is there between societies with developed and less developed cultures of “institutions and rules” who use the same roads and drive the same cars?