Transformation a la AKP
However it might be put, perhaps thanks to the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) it must be conceded that it was a big mistake for the consecutive Turkish governments since the foundation of the republic to nourish the “father state” concept. The transformation from “father state” to “servant state”, at least as regards perception, was the biggest revolution this land has seen. Not only for the much ignored Anatolian peasants or for the rural businessmen but also for the urban areas, the elites and those secularists refusing to play three monkeys, the last two decades of Turkey was a fast-track development drive.
No one should belittle the massive transformation achieved over the past two decades, particularly under the AKP rule. It was a dream for most Turks to see the role of military in policy making minimized.
Seeing a judicial reform and courts treating people as noble and equal citizens of the republic was a hope which was repeatedly castrated at every effort. Was it not the utopia of youth at every age to see a police force composed of members considering themselves as “servants” of the people, treating people “gently” and not enjoying beating up people as if they were a group suffering from sadism?
For people who grew up in an education system under constant bombardment of the ideology of a sacrosanct state and servant subjects it was not at all simple to transform into being citizens demanding service from the state. The understanding of the “people for the state” has given way to an understanding in which the state serves the people. But is it really so? Should we instead say that the understanding of the “people for the state” has given way to an understanding that the state serves the party and the leader?
Turks were worshipping yesterday the sacrosanct state. Serving the state was the noblest duty for everyone. It was just normal for individuals to succumb for the wellbeing of the great Turkish state for the survival of which all sacrifices should be made. The Turkish Armed Forces was the noblest institution, most trusted. The military could not be criticized and irrespective of how serious allegations of corruption, misuse of office and such charges might be, the glorious military was sacrosanct, could not be questioned. A journalist who might complain that justice was up for sale in the country and those with thick pockets or politically strong “uncles” could have the privilege of buying justice, could face several years imprisonment for insulting Turkishness.
The “Father state concept” was buried in history; at least through privatization the father state has become broke. All political aspirations of the military were castrated; many commanders with crowded shoulders accompanied with many of their supporters and together with many critics of the Islamist government were banished behind walls thanks to sledgehammer and Ergenekon thrillers. Secularists and supporters of the secular state were banished; they were replaced with almond-mustached people with divine looks, most subscribing to an Islamic scholar living at his “home” at Pennsylvania.
The sacrosanct state notion was replaced with the sacrosanct party and absolute leader concepts. Courts who were serving the Kemalist secular state yesterday; now cater to the goals of those in power…
This is what Turkey achieved with the transformation a la AKP… Yet, transformation and change are so powerful that once it is out of the bottle, it cannot be stopped. If the military can be kicked out of politics – thanks to the AKP’s courage – definitely any party or personality can be kicked aside when its/his tenure is completed… As is said even Suleiman the Magnificent could not survive for ever.