by Ahmet Erdi Ozturk

Starting from the second half of 2015, there has been an increase in multi-sided violence in south-east Turkey. There have been a number of attacks including suicide attacks by ISIS, and attacks by the far left DHKPC and Kurdish separatist TAK in cities including Ankara and İstanbul. Almost 200 people lost their lives and great many people got wounded.

Moreover, four of the academics, who signed the famous petition denouncing military operations against Kurdish civilians in the south-east of the country, are under arrest and the others are come across investigations and other forms of pressure. Additionally, Turkey’s government confiscated one of the country’s critical voices, Zaman Daily, – ostensibly because of its so called “terrorist” activities, but more likely because the publication was linked to US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gülen, an opponent of Mr. Erdoğan. To make matters worse, well-known journalists Can Dündar and Erdem Gül are facing secret trial for revealing arms deliveries to Syria. Rape and murder news are increasing every day. But, Mr. Erdoğan wants to be the President under a new political system.

Furthermore, without exception, every single day a new issue places itself at the top of the agenda. In this regard, corruption investigations, immigrant crisis, dark terror incidents, multisided violence in south eastern of Turkey, sharp polarisation, lack of freedom of law, freedom of speech and thought are the prominent and the permanent members of political and social diary of Turkey. In addition to these, meaningless conspiracy theories, baseless allegations, inconsistent gossips and smear campaigns against the anti-Erdoğan camp and thus, it is extremely easy to find yourself accused of being a traitor if you are doing anything that is seen as against the interests of the AKP and President Erdoğan. Certainly, this atmosphere is extremely tiring for political and social areas. Honestly, it is hard to divide the processes into two different pieces, as political and social, because political space has been enlarged by Mr. Erdoğan and every public domain has already been poisoned by political toxin. But, Mr. Erdoğan wants to convert parliamentary system in the presidential one.

From these points of view, one may easily argue that Turkey is an insecure and nondemocratic country and it has been governed by a very hegemonic, dominant and suffocating regime which no statutory controls by Mr. Erdoğan during a considerable time. Although the presidential office has great many authorities with a certain extent, Mr. Erdoğan tries to operate in almost every level of the state directly or/and indirectly by exceeding official limits, but it seems that this playing area is not satisfying him and he wants more. Moreover, almost every political discussion, as mentioned above, is linked with Erdoğan’s position and systems change somehow. Proverbially, the Turkish political system is described as a unicameral parliamentary democratic system, but Erdoğan’s great desire is to convert this parliamentary system into a Turkish type or Erdoğan style presidential system, something that is unknown and mysterious. At this point, one question comes to mind: why does Erdoğan want presidential system that much?

What lies under Mr. Erdoğan’s great desire?

From a sceptical and a critical point of view, one may easily give an answer of this question by referring physiological reasons. Mr. Erdoğan, and his giant propaganda machine, has been using a rhetoric, there lies the glorification of “the nation” and its “will.” Yet when you listen carefully, you see that this “nation” is not the sum total of the 78 million citizens of the Republic of Turkey. “The nation” is rather made up those citizens who support “the man of the nation” – as Erdogan was defined in his electoral campaigns after 2014. Furthermore, Mr. Erdoğan and his supporters have been defining Turkey as a “New Turkey” where all the decisions take from “the nation”, with their “will” and rule by “the man of the nation”, which is absolutely majoritarian based hegemonic authoritarianism. In this regard, the point I would like to mention is inferiority complex of Mr. Erdoğan and his everlasting competition with founder fathers of contemporary Turkey. Literally, he wants to establish a “New Turkey”, wants to be “the first President”, and will be memorialized as “the man of the nation”. Likewise, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk who is the founder of “Republic of Turkey” the” first president” under the parliamentary regime and is memorialized as “ancestor of Turks” (which is the Turkish abbreviation of Atatürk).

Secondly, one may easily give an answer to this question by believing gossips which are in the air for a very long time. According to these gossips, Mr. Erdoğan, his family and his close cadre have been involving countless different types of crime such as; laundering of illicit money, corruption, supporting ISIS by arms smuggling. Herewith, Mr. Erdoğan both has to control all the domestic systems in Turkey, and has to have diplomatic immunity to protect himself and his inner circle. In this respect, he has to consolidate and enlarge his supporters. Frankly, as I noted previously, this approach is mostly based on gossips, but they are repeating very frequently with some evidences such as documents and voice records.

Thirdly, one may respond to this question by without arguing against Mr. Erdoğan’s official mentality and declaration: “Turkey needs a strong presidential system”. After almost every problematic issue, Mr. Erdoğan and his supporters link the issue with lack of the presidential system, somehow. According to them, strong Presidential System will be the cure to solve Turkey’s current problems and clear its way for developing. For a while, we may think that as if the Presidential System under Mr. Erdoğan’s Presidency could solve all types of problems, but the reality and rationality will wake us up very soon. In this regard, it is crystal clear that Mr. Erdoğan has been converting himself a contemporary autocrat who interferes to every subject and issues in Turkey without taking into consideration his legal territories since 2011. After that time, Turkey has been retrogressing in terms of democracy, freedom of speech and thought. Furthermore, the economic indicators are underwhelming and there is a sharp and deep polarisation among the different parts of the Turkey’s society. This means that more Mr. Erdoğan is going to bring more problems for Turkey. Additionally, without any structural change, only converting the system into the Presidential one brings more constitutive catastrophes in the immediate future

No Turning Back from Democracy!

It is obvious that currently Turkey’s situation is not a pretty sight and great many people are aware of the reality. Turkey is running to be an Erdoğanistan like greased lightning. At this point some of the experts and journalist are trying to call back to the army again in a very in a low voice or/and hope something from Western powers. Although these solution proposals seem to be relaxing in a short term, in the long run they will reveal a more problematic situation than today. Thus, people who believe real democracy have to resit both these demands and Mr. Erdoğan’s attitudes by declaring that “no turning back from democracy”. In this respect, Turkey has to find its way out into democracy, but it should be very quick because in every day Mr. Erdoğan and his propaganda machine are converting country where once an emerging pluralistic democracy, is becoming one man’s patriarchal realm. If things continue like this, it is very possible to see new signboards at the boarder gates; “Welcome to Erdoğanistan”.

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