Turkey, master of its own destiny

Published 19.04.2017 01:20
Updated 19.04.2017 01:59

I think hundreds of pages can be written on the results of the April 16 referendum in one breath, as well as a significant number of books and PhD dissertations. However, we just need figures to see the legal results - which have disclosed a political certainty. Turkey witnessed a record high voter turnout in the referendum, with 85.46 percent of eligible voters casting ballots. Despite such a high turnout and a long and tense campaign, the voting process and the referendum process were almost uneventful. The fact that the number of votes for and votes against were close to each other proves that the process was run in a healthy way and gives information about the electorate profile in the new era. The electorate in the new era is an individual who follows current affairs and politics through mobile means of communication and who is under the bombardment of information. Bearing this in mind, let us note that the voting rates of mainstream political movements are very close to each other in developed countries.

There are some criticisms that the opposition, namely the "no" bloc, did not compete under equal terms. Those who raise such criticisms either do not know in what age they live or regard the Turkish electorate as idiots. We live in an era in which social media instruments are used more efficiently than widespread and traditional media tools, the means of communication can reach the hind end of creation and mobile devices, including smartphones, can reach all walks of life. Turkey is one of the most developed countries in the world in terms of the prevalence of mobile phones and the internet. Therefore, the effectiveness of political propaganda is not measured by cloth banners, posters or open-air meetings. The political efficiency becomes powerful to the extent of the weight of the coherence and authenticity of the parties' arguments and promises.

Moreover, the Republican People's Party (CHP), the main party of the "no" bloc, receives millions of Turkish liras from the Turkish Treasury and has opportunities and cash as much as a global company that is a monopoly in its sector. The CHP did not use these opportunities, as it does not have the motivation to gather crowds to hold a rally. It is no secret that the CHP and its leader have a problem of credibility and respectability in the eyes of the Turkish people. One of the biggest problems of Turkey today is that the main opposition party does not have a political line that is effective enough to convince people. The CHP, which declares itself a left-wing social democratic party, is in fact an heir to a tradition resembling the statist Ba'ath regimes. It does not have a proper economic and political argument and program. It comes from a statist tradition, but if need be, it defends neoliberal economic policies against President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. It claims to be leftist, but defends Bashar Assad, who uses chemical weapons, and has a racist and neo-fascist approach toward Syrian refugees. CHP Chairman Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu proved that he is not different from fascist European leaders, saying that the Syrian youth in Turkey does not have to do military service and are living in Turkey as if they are on holiday. He suggests Syrians must return to their country and join the war, arguing that they must be deported. Therefore, the inadequacy of the opposition in Turkey is not due to the lack of democracy, but because of the lack of political vision of the CHP and its leader and its fascist nature.

In fact, the CHP defended the fascist Constitution of 1982, which was established after the military coup of Sept. 12, 1980, in this Constitutional change process and failed to understand and explain this historical transformation in Turkey. Let us put this transformation, which the CHP cannot understand and explain, in a nutshell as follows: Turkey is leaving behind a tutelary military and bureaucratic system that is a parody of 20th century democracy, and is establishing a strong democratic executive body that ensures the direct participation of people in politics, and a legislative body that will legislate the needs of people and will work hand in hand with the executive body. The election of the executive and legislative bodies directly by the public through democratic elections will build an independent administration and judicial bureaucracy where the separation of powers is at the highest level. Thus, Turkey will put forward a new constitutional economic regime in which investments are safe and market entries and exits are at the highest level.

Certainly, this historic transformation highlights a new democratic government model that is independent of big states and the capital power behind them in the vast territory spanning from Eastern Europe to the Middle East. The sovereign economic and political global powers have imposed two basic government models in this entire region for nearly two centuries. The first one is the tutelary parliamentary system, which is vulnerable to inducements, while the second is direct military or quasi-military regimes. The former prevailed in Turkey and in post-1989 Eastern Europe, while the latter was structured as direct military or quasi-military dictatorships such as the Ba'ath regimes in the Middle East. This period is coming to an end now, as Turkey has democratically ended this historic imposition through the popular will. The Ba'ath regimes in the Middle East are going out of existence by legating a civil war behind. On the other hand, Eastern Europe has failed to put forward a holistic democratic system that can help overcome the economic crisis. The fragmented political structure in this region will inevitably turn the government problem first into a deep economic crisis and then into popular uprisings. Turkey has begun passing this threshold with a new political and economic model. This is the greatest fear of powers which survived through two big world wars in the previous century.

They will use all institutions and instruments to defame this democratic transformation. I must note that it would be useless to distort a voting process, which was clear of terror and chaos, and which witnessed a record high voter turnout, by abusing the reports of institutions such as the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and using them as an instrument for smear campaigns. This attitude would harm these institutions and EU values more than Turkey. The Helsinki Accords, which was signed in 1975 and is considered to be OSCE the Constitution, accepts respect for sovereignty, avoidance of intervening in states' internal affairs and people's self-determination as its basic principles.

The Turkish public voted for a new path and system change in the April 16 referendum which saw a high voter turnout in an uneventful environment. If the OSCE is really committed to the Helsinki Accords, which constitutes its foundations, it should give up publishing reports which can be considered as an act of interfering in Turkey's internal affairs. We know that the OSCE team, which supposedly came to Turkey to supervise the election, also went to the countries that have nothing to do with democracy and reported their elections as "democratic" elections through collusions. As such, it seems the OSCE team wrote these reports either with oppression or bribery. In response to those who say that the Constitutional amendment was voted by a razor-thin majority, I must say that the U.K. started its process of secession from the EU as a result of a slight difference in favor of yes votes. As I mentioned above, a slight difference between votes for and votes against is a sociological case in our age.

Consequently, Turkey, as part of Europe, laid the foundations of a new union and a new Europe in this referendum. Certainly, Turkey will not break away from Europe, but nothing will be the way they used to be.

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