The election year

The election year

It has become a tradition for cartoonists to depict the ending year as an aged man with a long white beard in a death bed and the coming New Year as a toddler in diapers. Is there indeed that much of a difference between Dec. 31 and Jan. 1? No… It is only a matter of perception.

Irrespective of which calendar is used, ever since humans developed an awareness of time and date they have used various calendars to answer their needs and fit their perceptions. Be it the Mayan calendar, lunar calendar or the Gregorian one, what matters is having a scale of time.

Outgoing Constitutional Court Chief Judge Haşim Kılıç was reported to have spoken at a closed-door meeting of a “talking group,” bringing together some influential people of Ankara. What did he say? He is reported to have said once out of duty on March 13, he would talk on matters important for the country. For now? He will continue speaking at closed-door meetings.

Kılıç was in the headlines last month with an impromptu interview with Habertürk columnist Muharrem Sarıkaya in which he revealed the high court would examine an appeal challenging the 10 percent national electoral threshold as a breach of rights. According to what was reported, Kılıç had said the issue was so important that not the individual appeal section, but the full court would handle the case and make a decision within two-three weeks. Furthermore, he had revealed that the rapporteur of the court prepared a very delicate report on the subject.

Many people, including this writer, believe the Constitutional Court cannot examine the electoral threshold issue under individual application rights, as the high court could look at individual applications related to matters legislated, undertaken by the government, or ruled by courts no later than 30 days.
The electoral ban was a product of the 1982 Constitution, how can we have individual applications against it after so many decades? Well, all odds are possible in this country, but any annulment decision will be a political, not a legal one.

If the electoral threshold is annulled, that would indeed be a coup through the Constitutional Court, as in the absence of a threshold, the ruling Justice and development Party (AKP) could forget about receiving the required two-third parliamentary majority to amend the Constitution or write a new one on its own, it will not even be able to come to power alone unless it stages a miracle and receives a clear higher than 60 percent of the vote. If his party cannot come to power alone, let alone failing to get the majority to change the national charter, the absolute ruler will become a prisoner of his new palace unable to dictate anyone irrespective of how strongly he yells at the deaf walls. Is this a probability? Well, though the possibility is not high for that result, everything is possible in politics.

On the other hand, if the Kurdish opening produces the results the absolute ruler has been hoping for within the next few months before the June election, would not the tall, angry man devoid of any notion of democracy become the most supported man of the Turkish people? Who could vote against someone who skillfully, without hurting the national and territorial integrity of the country has solved the most important existential problem of the republic? Most people, even those obsessed with the dangerous tilt toward autocracy, might think democracy should better wait for some more time, now it is high time to give the tall man a standing ovation. Can that happen? No way, but anyhow, everything is probable if there is a will.

The economy is derailing fast and according to some eminent economists, Turkey may find itself in some very dangerous seas unless exuberance in state administration is not urgently stopped. But, without exuberant projects, how would the sultan demonstrate his greatness? Yet, if, as is largely speculated nowadays, the economy goes astray in the months ahead, could it have an impact on the voting preferences of Turks?

In that regard, 2015 will indeed be a year in diapers and sure we will have plenty of nasty odors irrespective of how things evolve. Either the absolute ruler will complete his campaign of transforming the country into a sultanate with arbitrary rule, any notion of justice, supremacy of law and whatever is left from democratic governance will all be brushed off the agenda of the country or through some bending of the rules of the game and some nasty behind-the-scenes designs, democracy will not be allowed to become his prey.

In any case, the diapers will be too nasty to handle.