Two thirds of the political staff to change in three years
MERAL TAMERThe coming three years are extremely important for Turkey. There are three elections plus a referendum. Two thirds of those active in politics will be replaced by new ones. Consequently, at least half of the bureaucrats will be renewed. And this new staff will shape the future 30 years.
We had a brainstorm the other evening with the general manager of KONDA research company, Bekir Ağırdır, on the 220th Pera Meeting on the future of our country. Striking figures were deduced from 130 research projects conducted by KONDA Research and Consultancy about the tendencies of our people on a great variety of topics; their expectations, passions, values and points of view constructed a very interesting picture of Turkey. We have four important short-term issues: 1) the Kurdish issue, 2) Cyprus, 3) the new Constitution and 4) relations with the EU. Even thought the Kurdish issue has put an embargo on the entire politics of the country, in the coming two or three years there will be a roadmap for these four topics.
Ağırdır asked, “In 2050 are we going to be a country that has the freedom of creation, or are we going to remain a country that shoulders the burden of any business? Are we going to be free in the role of the women in democratic life? The decisions of all these are going to be made in the next three years.” I am also among those who think that the local elections of next year, without having to wait for three more years, will play a key role in determining the fate of this country.
A few cross-sections from the Turkey picture Ağırdır has presented:
- In Turkey, the family structure is more important than anything we know. The hope of families, still, is to achieve something not by themselves but from their children. The children will be educated, achieve something and help the family advance.
- Polarization is ascending everyday with new added dimensions. Now, you can observe political polarization even when families are selecting professions for their children. According to the party they are supporting, one family wants their child to join the police force while the one on the other side wants their child to join the military.
- KONDA is preparing a Polarization Index every six months. Polarization, especially of Kurds, has reached its peak. Seventy-two percent of Turks do not want a Kurdish neighbor. The rate of those who say “Let’s live together with Kurds” and the rate of those who say, “Let’s make soap out of the Kurds,” are increasing each time in the index. In the last index, the rate of those who favor living together is 35 percent while those who want to make soap out of them is 45 percent.
- There are also others who annoy all of us outside of Kurds. Some of us are annoyed by those wearing headscarves; others are annoyed by those who drink alcohol… Polarization has gradually turned into the polarization of lifestyles and this is eroding our hope for living together.
Two separate mind maps
- Now, the individual life and the life of the country have been separated in minds; most of the time they are lives contradicting each other. A person in his/her individual life who is passionate, tolerant, hopeful and has bright eyes with his/her children and spouse can transform into a fearsome character when it is the country in question, into an intolerant and terrorizing person. Minds are working on two parallel universes on two separate mind maps. The Turkish person has completely parted his values and practices in life.
- If we are to structure the “us” again, then it could be through rules about practices in life, not through common values.
- The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) still bases its politics on both feeds from its organization and from the street. The undecided voter is now between the AKP and society. If they do not like the Syrian policies, they step aside and wait; they do not go to another party.
Meral Tamer is a columnist for daily Milliyet in which this piece was published on March 22. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.
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