Because of you, Twitter, the crown is in the mud
“We have come up smelling of roses from the democracy festival. We have crossed the historic threshold of advanced democracy and the rule of law. Our dear nation has used its discretional power and approved the constitutional amendment. With this amendment we have crowned the republic with full democracy.”
After the 2010 constitutional referendum, Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan celebrated with these words the “exit from darkness to light,” speaking on a podium above which his party’s “We are Turkey all together” banner was hung. Among other posters around the stand was one saying: “For a freer, more democratic, richer Turkey.”
In the referendum, 26 articles of the Constitution were changed. Four of the 26 were about the Constitutional Court (AYM).
The government attributed a special importance to the AYM. It rearranged its working principles, memberships and powers. It introduced the right for individual application. The Constitutional Court was like the shrine of the crowned democracy. The officials of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and Cabinet ministers at that time showered the AYM with praise at every opportunity.
The honeymoon between the AKP and the AYM continued until the lifting of the Twitter ban. The AYM is now the black cat.
While Prime Minister Tayyip Erdoğan said he “does not respect” the ruling, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç went further, associating the AYM with a phrase once used for the coup-minded military: “The AYM has concerned itself. The AYM has disregarded the verdicts of Turkish justice.” Since when has the AYM been outside of Turkish justice? It should be none other than Arınç that knows the answer. The AYM was at the top of the institutions that crowned democracy in the referendum, but when it lifted the Twitter ban the AKP left it with no crown, no hair, and no head.
When it suits the AKP’s purpose, fully dependent on the current conjuncture, an institution can be the government’s favorite. However, when faced with a decision that does not serve the AKP’s own purposes, the same favorite institution suddenly turns into a target.
“When you serve me there is nobody better than you. But if you give a verdict that I don’t like, you are the worst.” The most typical, the most widespread attitude of the 12-year-old government once again emerged with the AYM’s latest decision.
Those addresses that have previously been crowned are quickly forgotten.
Real festivity to start after elections
In the year 2007, when it was decided that the president would be elected by popular vote, the opposition warned: “Both the president and the prime minister will be elected by the people. Such a system does not exist in political systems. The president is authorized but not responsible; the prime minister is authorized and responsible. Unavoidably, there will be a conflict of powers between them.”
The AKP took its own way anyway. Soon, the person who was the architect of the amendments, the Constitution Commission head Burhan Kuzu, said: “We have created a monster.”
Cemil Çiçek who was the justice minister until March 2007, before becoming the deputy prime minister and now the Parliament speaker, today says: “There will be a conflict of powers.”
While it is debated who will be the candidate for the Çankaya Presidential Mansion, the real festivity will start after the election. If new formulas emerge meanwhile, it should not be a surprise.
On March 8, on Women’s Day, Tayyip Erdoğan addressed an audience in Istanbul in a meeting with the theme, “Women and Democracy Meet.” “I congratulate all our female candidates,” he said. “If there are women, there is democracy. Women are supreme. I salute all women and congratulate our Women’s Branches.” That was three weeks before the election.
The elections are now over and the person who was elected as mayor of Bingöl, from the AKP, Yücel Barakgazi has said that “political duties for women is not suitable in terms of tradition and religion.” He declared that he would not assign any women for the positions of deputy mayor or acting mayor.
“Woman and democracy meet,” but a woman who has won elections, Nurten Ertuğrul from the AKP, resigned because she could not meet her position.
I would be surprised if Tayyip Erdoğan leaves Barakgazi unpunished.