The hidden agenda

The hidden agenda

Over the past decade, “some drivellers” have been complaining that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) might have a hidden agenda, one that would carry Turkey backwards - to the conditions of a conservative, religious autocracy where human and democratic rights of society and individuals would be left to the mercy of the absolute ruler.

The AKP has always categorically ruled out such “emotional worries,” stressing it has been busy trying to carry Turkey to an advanced democracy with a “servant state” mentality. From time to time some odd issues popped up, like the debate around the criminalization of adultery. Each time, like a janissary mehteran band, the government continued with a two step forward one step back style in implementing whatever was its “real agenda.”

Particularly since the 2011 election, the AKP has been preoccupied with creating the legal, physical and structural atmosphere to raise “conservative, religious and vengeful” new generations. The changes continued gradually and through habituation – as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan dictated – in the education system; with arrangements to kill the Soviet-style ceremonies commemorating the 1920s Kemalist revolution; and a recourse to nationalism and moves to consolidate majoritarianism. Now, it is to carry Turkey to the upper levels of an odd-discussion: Should abortion be banned?

Abortion was banned in this country until 1983. Was it not exercised before then? Of course it did, but under illegal, inappropriate and appalling conditions that victimized women. Since 1983, abortion up to first 10 weeks of pregnancy has been legal. Why 10 weeks, I have no idea. Anyhow, since 1983 this issue has not been on the agenda of Turkey. Why has it been brought up by the premier now? Abortion, unfortunately, is not itself the issue, it is just the symbol of a new fight between individual rights and a political authority wishing to be sacrosanct.

Some sections of Turkey – those sections who refuse to surrender unconditionally to the “absolute ruler” but still think on what’s happening in their country – were appalled to read that a conservative journalist, Ali Akel, was fired from the Yeni Şafak newspaper because he dared to criticize the approach of the premier on the murder of 34 civilians by bombs fired from Turkish jets last December 28 at Uludere, a border town with Iraq.

Erdoğan loves criticizing the 1930s of Turkey when there was a “National Chief” İsmet İnönü and the notorious “Peace and order of the country decree” (Takrir-i Sükun) under which the national chief was made sacrosanct and could not be criticized.

Why was Ali Akel sacked? He was fired because he forgot that the premier’s son-in-law is the chief executive of the holding company that publishes Yeni Şafak. Worse, he dared to criticize Erdoğan and asked him to either stop talking nonsense or come forward, honestly express his apologies, and declare what measures he would take against those who were wrong in the Uludere case.

How dare he? How could the sacrosanct sultan be criticized? He is banished!

Does this government have a hidden agenda? No, not at all. Its agenda is open, and dreadful!