An infernal road to walk
Is it important to an ordinary Turk whether there is parliamentary democratic governance or presidential governance in this country? Does an ordinary Turk understand the difference between the two or does he believe either of the two might make a difference in his life? The country has been covered with a very thick veil of fear. People no longer applaud others for what they write, say or think but rather caution of the consequences if any idea might be considered “freaky” by the dominant Sunni-Islamist political clan.
However, the country is at perhaps one of the most important junctures of its recent history and there is a need to talk and exchange opinions more than ever.
Presidential or parliamentary governance should indeed not be an issue that Turkey can afford to spend its precious time with, as the country’s national and territorial integrity is facing an existential threat. If this country had managed to implement a parliamentary system with all its principles, there would not be a problem. Yet today there is a parliamentary system which indeed is nothing more than a “dukedom of party leaders” at the political party level and an “elected absolute ruler” at the government level. The problem is not constitutional or anything else but a crooked byproduct of crooked laws covering political party activities and elections. If a party leader is given the only and final say regarding the political existence of a politician, can there be anything abnormal in that politician becoming a serf of that leader? The end product is the country’s parliament is composed of serfs committed to the well-being and satisfaction of their leaders. The only exception, I must underline, might be the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP), which unlike others is not composed of serfs worshipping the party leaders (they have two). But including the party leaders, everyone in that party are plainclothes militants under direct command and order of the separatist gang and worse they are rather happy with it.
Turkey’s need for reform, therefore, is a very pressing and urgent one but not with constitutional arrangements - which would not mean anything further than consolidating dictatorial rule - but rather election and political party legislations. If and when engaging in politics becomes a democratic right and when and if a politician stops being a serf of their party leader, that day there is hope for having a democratic parliament and thus achieving the overall democratization of Turkey.
Come on, let’s put our hats in front of us and consider the situation in Turkey with an open heart and mind. What is the governance system of Turkey? Parliamentary democracy, is it not? What is the sine qua non of parliamentary democracy? Separation of powers, is it not? Is there separation of powers in Turkey?
Unfortunately no… Worse, there has never been separation of powers in this country’s republican history, while during the imperial times no such thing was in the cards anyhow. Can parliamentary democracy perform well without separation of powers? No way. Did Turkey’s governance perform well over the past 90 years or so? No… There has always been tutelage of either the Kemalist ideology, the military, a certain imam or an absolute ruler with grand ambitions to become a second Hitler.
Well, let’s assume the Hitler reference was a slip of the pen of a scriptwriter. Would it make any difference? Is the situation in the country much different? A certain high, bold, bald and ever angry man yelling at everyone all the time made a decision to become the sole authority and absolute power holder in the country. Some say that would be a dictatorship; some claim that would be consolidated stability in governance. Is it a relevant discussion? Not at all. To achieve that goal, the tall man with great ambitions must consolidate polarization in the country. Could polarization along nationalist colors or sectarian designs land Turkey in a civil war? Probably not, because in the culture of this nation there has never been civil war.
Yet, no one can be sure because, though rare, there were examples of sectarian civil war-like situations, as was seen in Kahramanmaraş or Sivas in recent history. Could there be a Kurdish-Turkish civil war? That appears to be highly unlikely, as for the past almost four decades that was tried to be staged in this country but Turks managed to differentiate between the Kurdish population and the separatist terrorist gang. Even in the 1990s when elected Kurdish politicians were arrested at the doors of parliament such an infernal situation was averted.
Now, after a suggestion by the absolute ruler, there is talk of ending the judicial immunity of Kurdish deputies, arresting and bringing them in front of justice. To what purpose such a move will serve must be calculated well before an action is undertaken. The separatist efforts of the gang and its political extension in parliament brought Turkey to a very critical point. Should Turkey, for the sake of consolidating the power base of a man with obsessive demands, take such provocative actions and provide legitimacy to a Kurdish secession?
Turkey is at a crossroads. It will either continue with determination in pursuit of democratic governance or let itself be derailed with a power-obsessed man on an infernal track…