Crossing the election threshold via an alliance
We do not know yet what the legal basis on which the alliance between the ruling Justice and Development (AKP) and the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) will look like. I need to emphasize this: Removing the ten-percent electoral threshold for political parties that seek to form an election alliance but keeping it in place for other parties violates the constitution‘s principle of equality.
AKP deputy Mustafa Şentop had pointedly remarked that in the presidential system “the electoral threshold would either be removed altogether or would be lowered close to zero.” Indeed, this is what constitutional law and political science require.
I do not see how they could possibly defend keeping the electoral threshold in place.
There are certain Constitutional Court rulings that define the concept of “representation” with reference to parliament and the concept of “stability” with reference to executive power.
I just wanted to bring those points to the attention of legal experts at the ruling party before the respective legislation is forwarded to parliament. I will elaborate on this when the details of the bill emerges.
Not Islamist, but Muslim
I was in the same prison as Temel Karamollaoğlu, the leader of the Felicity Party (SP). I was a member of the late Alparslan Türkeş’s MHP and he was a member of a party led by the late Necmettin Erbakan.
Karamollaoğlu is a sincere, respected person and is open to dialog.
This is also the way he does politics. He speaks with everyone from all walks of political life, including the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP).
I find his words in an interview with İpek Özbey quoted below to be very important.
“The term Islamist originates in the West. We have never used it. The term Islamism is used in two ways. First, it means establishing a way of life by reviving the values of Islam. Second, it means gaining power by using the values of Islam. Both exist together. One is very precious but the other is equally horrible.”
The point Karamollağolu has made in this interview regarding the origins of the term “Islamist,” its origin in the West and emergence in the nineteenth century, requires further historical and sociological enquiry.
Both in the past and today, attempts to “gain power by using the values of Islam” have had “horrible” consequences. We all need to consider this issue more carefully.
Power, not religion is the main issue
The main issue is not religion in general and Islam in particular. Unfettered power always produces “horrible” consequences and this is the main issue.
In modern times, secular totalitarian ideologies that presented themselves as absolute truth produced people who were willing to sacrifice their lives. But when they came to power they established “horrible” regimes that violated the rule of law, inclusive politics and the social order.
Here in Turkey our recent history has been seen through the prism of the religious-secular polarization and this is very unfortunate. The crucial issues such as “checks and balances, separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary” never came to mind. That is why a political culture that treasures judicial values has not flourished.
Nothing has changed. When “power” changes hands, the “judiciary” changes accordingly.
Majority in the right
We have had periods when people stood up to defend democracy and freedoms against the military’s coups and meddling in politics. Now we are going through a period when deep ideological and political polarization overshadows crucial issues such as “checks and balances, separation of powers and the independence of judiciary.”
In such a period, I believe it is very important that Karamollaoğlu and Good Party (İYİ) leader Meral Akşener pursue a path that rejects ideological polarization, defends checks and balances, the rule of law and fostering civilized relations and calls for an end to the emergency rule.
I mentioned Karamollaoğlu and Akşener especially because the right is the largest political faction in Turkey. It is therefore crucial for Turkey that the notions of checks and balances, the separation of powers and the independence of the judiciary should flourish among and be defended by people on the right of the political spectrum.
If law is a value that transcends ideologies and politics then political currents that cherish the law should also exist.