Crows and democracy
What is successful, what is not? Someone successful, for one, might be a total loser for another. Take the prime minister in the making, Ahmet Davutoğlu. He won the support of all of the delegates at the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) convention to become the successor of as-of-today President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. What a great success! Shall we all forget he was handpicked by Erdoğan to serve as an obedient party leader and premier while Erdoğan actively continues ruling the country from the presidency seat? Shall we forget that in the democracy a la AKP, not only he was nominated by Erdoğan, Davutoğlu was the sole candidate for the chairmanship.
That is one way how self-democracy works; “democracy that serves my interests in the fashion I chose” is the description one may use other than the cliché “Democracy is a train to be travelled on until you reach your destination.”
Let many newspapers and TV stations no longer have access to the Prime Ministry because they report in a fashion not appreciated by Erdoğan. In the previous AKP convention, quite a few media companies insisting on maintaining a “critical” position vis-a-vis the absolute ruler, were barred from entering the convention hall. In this week’s extraordinary convention, the number of media outlets barred reached 12… For those who may have comprehension problems, let me repeat: one dozen… The media outlets banned from entering the convention hall included nationalist, secularist or Kemalists, such as Yeni Çağ, Birgün, Yurt and leftist opponents such as Aydınlık, Evrensel and the Ulusal Kanal TV. The group also included Bugün, Samanyolu Haber and Kanaltürk TV stations, dailies Zaman, Today’s Zaman as well as Cihan news agency, which are known to be affiliated with the faith-based Hizmet movement that is inspired by the teachings of Turkish Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen.
Davutoğlu might be proud of his past successes that helped him getting promoted to the seat of the Prime Ministry and Erdoğan must definitely be proud of himself for being a popularly elected president (not the first unfortunately, the first was Kenan Evren in 1982). They might believe they are a team to usher Turkey into a new era. A new era of what? In colloquial Turkish, it is often said Friday’s coming is clear from Thursday. If a hill is climbed stepping on the violations of law, ethics, principles and the norms of democracy with an “I did it my way because what I say is law” mentality, can there be much hope for justice, supremacy of law, equality and such pillars of democracy?
Hopefully President Erdoğan and Prime Minister Davutoğlu will prove all their critics wrong and indeed carry Turkey into a new and advanced level as regards democratic understandings in peace with neighbors and firmly anchored with the club of democracies. Most probably the fears that just for the satisfaction of mortal instincts and shallow obsessions, Turkey will not be pulled into a sectarian debacle or a regional catastrophe. Put aside calls in the U.S. that America must return with all its might to restore peace in Middle East, reports that Americans would help a Turkmen minority town in Iraq escape the Islamic State (IS) barbarian terrorism, the continued agony of 49 Turkish nationals – including a consul – in IS hands and the continued press censorship on the issue, claims of Turkey abetting and supporting the terrorists by letting logistical and military supplies bought by alleged local sponsors, unfortunately do not testify to a successful Turkish foreign policy. The Syrian situation is even worse. Davutoğlu had said three years ago that Bashar al-Assad would have two weeks in office, now he is even stronger. The al-Nusra front and other Islamist terrorists Turkey supported in Syria, became the IS in Iraq.
But, Turkey is advancing its democracy by banning critics from conventions, imposing censorship on reporting and nourishing an allegiant media… As it is said, even crows will laugh at proclamations of new and more democratic Turkey because people voted for the president.
Let’s hope I am wrong and the new president and prime minister usher Turkey into a new era of advanced democracy compatible with international standards.