Last couple days I have been waking up with great concern. First thing I do, go check the newspaper. If newspapers online, good that means there is no coup in Turkey. Does it sound tragedy-comic? Not if you are reading so many worrisome news. I am far away 7000 miles away from my home in Izmir. Sure what happens there does affect me. I read every day 5 Turkish (Turkish Daily News, Hürriyet, Milliyet, Radikal, Akşam) newspapers and some others BBC, Reuters, CNN etc.
I seek more information about what is going on political arena over there and daily life.
I am only 38, saw one a coup d’etat, my dad is 70 years old and already has seen 3 times.
Let me give a little more information about it;
In Turkey on 27 May 1960, General Cemal Gürsel led a coup d’etat that removed President Celal Bayar, Premier Adnan Menderes, and his cabinet from power and dissolved the parliament.
12 March 1971, Süleyman Demirel’s government was forced to resign after the commanders of the armed forces delivered an ultimatum to the President. Demanding a new government, Turkey’s military leaders asserted the urgent need for a strong and capable government that could fix anarchical situation in the country.
12 September 1980, the newly elected government of Demirel was overthrown. Only five days later, General Kenan Evren declared that the military was responding to domestic political anarchy.
So if you are familiar with history of Turkey you may understand the tension between goverment and military. That is not the only problem. People who believes secularism and support democratic regime have doubts about current goverment. There was a big protest on April 14, 2007 in Ankara against ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP). Then in Istanbul on 29 April, 2007 a huge rally where millions of people protested the government. Of course depends on which newspaper you read the number does change over a million to 300.000 or as police counted only 70.000 people. Also new rallies are organizing in different cities such as Izmir and Çanakkale.
What people fear most lately? Secular people do not want to see an Islamist government controls the country. They do not trust their words on how secular they will remain.
We do have some serious issues not solved. Unfortunately without solving these issues we can not find easy path to follow in political arena.
Some of the known issues can be summarized as follows:
Current party system needs to be change
Political corruption needs to stop
Freedom of speech (removing article 301) should be accepted
Nepotism should stop
Out of touch state of politicians should end
Women rights should be protected
As we see from the rallies people demand their civil rights and make complaint about AKP ignoring their concerns. If AKP continues to ignore secular Turkish people’s opinions which can create bigger gap between Islamist and secularist. In 2002 people voted for AKP not because they were better Muslim than others, they were fed up with dirty politics. Last 5 years Turkey show better economical party and stable government atmosphere. Is that really because AKP did excellent job or followed some recipe given by IMF and EU? And also as they promised to public joining EU and becoming modern Turkey even though sounds really good, will they continue necessary steps.
I do have some questions about their political agendas.
How come Turkey can pretend to be buddy with Iran and US same time?
How come without changing feudalist life style (especially in rural areas) became modern?
How come without making improvement on some laws (such as women issues) try to show specific article as women’s freedom. Turban (headscarf) is the great example here.
Honoring killing, abusing women, beating wife, not sending girls to the schools, not letting women to work not bigger issues but let the women cover herself up is the freedom?
How come Turkey can show brotherhood towards Sudan? Since when we are the brothers really? And why? I mean what Sudan can offer to Turkey really? As far as I know governments do not choose ally each other just because they are cute or they all have blue eyes.
How come last 5 years Turkey like to be better friend with Islamic neighbors than west allies? How come as they use the word mild Islam is the best political choice for Turkey?
Is there any mild Islam really? Or does it stay as mild Islam? I doubt so. History is full of how radical Islam raise in a short time. If we look at developed countries we see church and state are separated. That is the basic rules to remain secular and democratic countries. It is better to not mixed religion and government. If we look at Islamic countries some they may have richer than Turkey. But if you take petrol out of it, what do they produce really? Are they really developed or do we see more theocratic regimes?
It is easy to criticize military interfering Turkey’s political system. “It should not be forgotten that the Turkish armed forces are a side in this debate and are a staunch defender of secularism”, Turkish Armed Forces’ spokesman (Türk Silahlı Kuvvetleri)
But let’s not forget the military in Turkey secular principles of democracy. As many people would agree on military still is the most trustworthy institution in Turkey.
If Turkey falls into separation between Islamists and democratic can we really say democracy should tolerate fundamentalist movements?
It is a though path in front of Turkey. People are in the rallies as supported by some 600 non-governmental organizationshad many concerns. Here are some slogans that they carried:
“Turkey is secular and will remain secular”
“Neither Sharia, nor coup d’etat. Democratic Turkey”
Hurriyet newspaper has a photo gallery of the rally.