July 15 was commemorated by millions of people everywhere in Turkey, and this was not only a commemoration, but also a celebration. Masses proved their determination to resist against any new military coup attempt.
This commemoration is not a partisan issue, because resisting a military coup is something all political parties, by definition, must support. The reason for this is very simple: A military coup, whether it succeeds or not, is a big blow on democracy. Every social segment suffers from it, because it interrupts regular social, economic, political and administrative mechanisms of the country.
Every coup in Turkish history has only exacerbated the existing polarization without solving any fundamental issue the nation faces. The coups have always been carried out in the name of "bringing order," as the coup plotters have accused the elected governments of causing disorder. This is not saying that all elected governments are pure, but democracy means being able to change governments through the ballot box, and coups are taking away this essential right. Coups are about a bunch of armed people who believe they have the "right answer" to all problems, and who try to impose their perspective on the entire nation.
Thankfully, the country did not fall into the abyss last July. Having said that, we must admit that defeating the coup did not put an end to the country's political polarization. As a result, international media has seen the commemoration of the July 15 only as the celebration of the governing party and its supporters. We already felt that the opposition was seeing the events this way, too, and it appears the foreign world has accepted their point of view.
Even though the main target of the plotters was the person of the president, and then the governing party, they were, in fact, attacking the entire country. No political party can ever accept that the military would supposedly have the right to overthrow an elected president. Unfortunately, the opposition parties did not emphasize this fact enough, as they did not want to be seen as they were defending the current president. This is not, however, the best policy line to adopt, because if we want to avoid the risk of having another military coup in the future, all parties must act together.
The opposition nevertheless prefers to accuse the government and the president of exploiting the celebrations for their own political purposes. They seem to forget that it was this government that has been attacked, so of course it will benefit politically from the success of defeating this plot. If the opposition does not want the government to use this event, the only thing to do would be to participate massively in the celebrations and embrace the issue as a national cause, not only as the governing party's business.
The night our Parliament was bombed, the members of the National Assembly, from all political parties, indeed displayed a united front. Unfortunately, this sense of unity has disappeared quickly. As of today, while the government seems to focus on what happened before the coup and during the coup, the opposition is talking only about what has happened since the coup.
Military coups are always the result of a process, and they all benefit from political polarization. Maybe this process is still in motion. The fact that the putschists were stopped last year does not mean that all efforts to divert Turkey's political life has come to an end. We still observe many attempts to prevent Turkey of becoming a solid democracy and that's why the government keeps fighting and resisting.
We acknowledge that the political situation in Turkey is too complex for Westerners to understand. Therefore, we must always remind them that the coup process has not ended completely and the struggle for Turkey's future continues on a daily basis.