Turkey in the AK Party’s 10th year
ALİ BAYRAMOĞLUNo society can long be ruled by or live under a civilization project that has not sprung from its own body, which does not belong to it. And every society, sooner or later, produces a means of subsistence, a contemporary one based on its own culture but transacting with what is universal. This situation means that continuity is inevitable in the lives of societies. It means that transformation, as the fundamental rule of societies, originates from continuity.
Continuity is the referee and the regulator of the most important element of social change: the competition and conflict among social differences. Any development or political break that challenges continuity creates violent tremors in society.
Turkey was bound to such tremors for years, and has felt the pain of them for years. This pain stemmed from the battle of two different civilizations, one provided from outside, the other local, with the two never being allowed to intersect. This conflict destroyed internally both the given civilization and the local one.
We need to accept that today we are in a distinctive spot with regard to this: The past 10 years have cured this problem to a certain extent. As a matter of fact, the past 10 years have seen the two different projects move closer to each other, and the convergence of the value systems unique to this country with universal values.
The 10th year of the Justice and Development Party’s (AK Party) being in power is actually the picture of this development. “What was required” has been done; however, it is apparent that much more time, much more effort and much more democracy are needed to reach “what is adequate.”
It needs to be recognized that the AK Party’s 10th year places us at a certain stage with regard to social integration and general democratization. On the other hand there is also some authoritarianism regarding the relationship of the justice system and politics, as well as an emulation of past periods with regard to some issues, such as the Kurdish issue.
Partial transformation is dangerous. The question is for the system to transform itself as a whole. Not only change is important: It is also important at the same time for fundamental principles, the social fabric, the perception of rights and freedoms and the sense of justice not to be destroyed.
The discourse of transformation should be kept far from new divisions, from new challenges to continuity. There is no great difference between the Kemalist and the pro-transformation styles in terms of glorifying the disintegration social and political spheres. In such situations, the distance between society and the state increases; as a result, despite the spontaneously developed contacts between different social groups, the gaps between them continue to widen.
As a matter of fact, for some time the channels of comprehension in Turkey have begun to get clogged. This weakness, this clogging, has begun to fill the gap between what is legal and what is legitimate.
This disturbance has to be eliminated, and this should be our goal with regard to transformation. The primary tool to use in reaching this goal is participation, freedom of expression and criticism; it is the country speaking up and demanding what it wants. Politics is an interaction made up of all of these components. This is how a consensus representing diverse segments of society is achieved. This is how you advance toward a model of social integration, which has been launched and is moving forward, but which still has major shortcomings.
If only the AK Party congress could evaluate this, as well.
Ali Bayramoğlu is a columnist for daily Yeni Şafak, in which this piece was published on Sept. 28. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.
ALİ BAYRAMOĞLU - firstname.lastname@example.org