We should not miss the right perspective
The new parliament opened yesterday with fresh deputies delivering one by one an oath a few of them will forget about soon. And for the second time in less than a month, Deniz Baykal was back under the camera lights; for a change, he did not need an operation by the embattled sultan. Instead, his old age carried him to the “provisional” speakership of parliament. Alas, the same tradition carried an Öcalan – Dilek Öcalan, a young woman deputy from Urfa, not the chieftain in prison – to the speakership council as the youngest six speakers form the speakership council on the legislature’s special sessions.
We are so busy with the squabbles and challenges of everyday life that the right perspective might be missed. What Turkey achieved on June 7 was not a handicapped parliament, unable to form a coalition government but an exercise of the will of people, within the limits of democracy and through democratic traditions this country has produced over the past 200 plus years of persistent efforts to acquire the norms and values of Western communities.
In the parliamentary arithmetic produced by the June 7 election, people have apparently lost themselves. The message of the nation, on the contrary, was loud and clear: We cannot accept that the country’s sibling democracy be sacrificed to satisfy some dictatorial ambitions, hallucinations or schizophrenic obsessions of a tall, bald, bold and ever yelling man.
Going through some newspaper cuttings waiting to be read I came across a very interesting article written by a Qatari woman (at least I assumed so). In the newspaper, “The Peninsula,” Saadiah Mufarreh wrote in “Turkish democracy for our leisure” that “What the Arab majority holds dear in its heart is the dream of a democratic election similar to the Turkish polls. It is true that watching Turkish democracy in action gave rise to the thought that we, the Arabs, are not ready for democracy. However, this thought is somewhat contradictory, because it means, on the one hand, that democracy is the dream, desire, and choice of the masses, but we are still, from the point of view of democratic countries, not ready for it. Seeing the passionate enthusiasm among some of us regarding the Turkish election, it appeared that we are ready for democracy without actually knowing or admitting it.”
A woman writer in a Qatari newspaper makes such a comment but some of our “penslingers” are still in efforts to appease the tenant of the extravagant palace – a monument of illegality. These writers were unable to read the outcome of the vote. They are still in efforts to convince people how “above human” the rhetoric of the sultan is. The absolute ruler, for these writers, must be fully respected. In any coalition formula, the president, his peculiar place and special powers should not be questioned; instead, they must be further consolidated. A systematic graft that was covered up with the vote of the AKP majority in the previous parliament should never be opened; let the issue be forgotten.
The Qatari woman, however, was not naïve. She saw and perfectly reached a conclusion from what she saw.
Thus, she stressed her hope the Arab world could one day opt for the Turkish, or, to a lesser extent, the Malaysian and Indonesian systems of governance that ordain people the right to determine their own future while allowing religious parties to exist as well.
In another clipping from “The Times,” an American colonel-turned writer commented on the “Turkish model:”
“Turkey deserves congratulations and, in the world’s hard corners, political emulation. Using the ballot box — change in the right way — Turks ended almost 13 years of single-party parliamentary domination by Erdogan’s moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party, or AKP. Curbing Erdogan’s increasingly authoritarian ambitions not only is good news for Turkey, but also makes a global statement about democratic resilience and the wisdom of free, informed voters when faced with difficult choices. Culturally, Islamic nations desperately need inclusive secular political models and free market development models. To the dismay of the [Islamic State of Iraq and Levant] group’s homicidal caliph and al-Qaeda terrorists, the Turkish election demonstrates that a secular, democratic political system in a culturally Islamic society can be strong and confident enough to halt its most powerful leader when the ego-tripping head of state is in the process of going rogue.”
What was the meaning of the AKP’s defeat in the June 7 election? Why was it important to remove the AKP from absolute power in Turkey? Why should Erdoğan be pushed back to the limits of constitutional powers of the president? Why should the state be cleansed of the AKP mentality? These questions are, of course, far more vital than the red lines of the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP). If, because of their political costiveness, no AKP-less coalition can be established or if the country is pushed into a repeat vote in November, the MHP must pay its price, together with its not so discreet partner, the AKP.