A silent mental revolution
The majoritarian democracy understanding of the current Islamist Justice and Development Party (AKP) makes it all the more risky to be critical of the prime minister, the government or policies pursued. Both military prisons and the Silivri concentration camp were filled by the “put them behind bars” tradition established at the courts with special powers. Some are put behind bars, some are imprisoned in their own intellectual prisons. Yet, those who believe in democracy, uphold the principle of supremacy of law and refuse to surrender to majoritarianism risk everything and continue criticizing the AKP government.
An honest analyst should not and cannot criticize all the time. There are times when withholding his right to continue criticizing some other sheer fascist application, obsessive overconfidence, fundamentalist outburst or secessionist gross negligence one has to applaud the government and say, “Well done… This is a great step which will have great contributions to efforts aimed at maintaining the national and territorial integrity of this country.”
Indeed, whoever says what and irrespective how harshly ultranationalists in both ethnic Turkish and ethnic Kurdish people of this country might lambast it, the AKP government has done a great thing by deciding to allow elective Kurdish language teaching at the second four-year tranche of primary education.
I could not forgive the ultranationalist, over-arrogant, totally ignorant approach of the AKP government to the murder of 34 smuggler-villagers by fire opened by Turkish jets last December. I just could not understand why a government that conceded there was a fatal mistake could not just apologize for that mistake and with an affectionate state approach heal the wound in the hearts of the families of the slain villagers (most of the 34 killed were children)?
It was indeed wrong in the first place to allow its “Kurdish opening” to turn into an “empty deception campaign” that with the Habur sham was eventually hijacked by some adventurist ultra-Kurdish nationalists and the separatist gang.
It was a terrible mistake to conduct secret talks with the separatist gang while at the same time delivering lofty statements that it would be ignominious even to claim the government was talking with the terrorists. Worse, it was odd to conduct such talks and in total impotence fail to prevent leaks to the media, both the venue and content of the discussions.
Even though the presidency-aspiring prime minister was perhaps right in becoming more and more nationalistic as he would need the nationalist vote as well, it was a gross contradiction to resort more and more to the use of force as a method of dealing with the Kurdish problem while continuing at the same time the rhetoric that the Kurdish opening would continue with all speed.
Let ultranationalist Kurds claim elective courses would be yet another assimilation tool and ultranationalist Turks claim secessionist terrorism was rewarded. Despite all probable criticism of the government’s attitudes, policies and preferences, nothing can change the fact that though elective, so far offering Kurdish courses at state schools is a revolutionary decision very much like broadcasting in Kurdish.