Prime Minister and the presidential candidate Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's "vision document" that he announced for the the upcoming election, was not something unexpected. The text declared that the things that have been done so far will be continued on a wider and more strategic scale. The document was based on the principle of pluralism and it pointed out that the will of the people would be pursued. The improvement of the reconciliation process on the Kurdish problem, making a new constitution and neutralizing the bureaucracy – beginning with jurisdictions – were the points that stood out. The other issues were continuity of reforms and services that support the middle class, maintaining a serious economic administration and the dream of becoming a well-esteemed country in the world.
It cannot be said that these are huge breakthroughs. Yet this time, Erdoğan's style was more comprehensive and he invited everybody, without discrimination, to the process of establishing a new Turkey. The West interpreted the vision document a little different as usual. Akın Özçer, who has worked in foreign affairs for many years, talked about this difference on his website serbestiyet.com.
"The headlines of Le Monde and El País overlap with each other within the frame of strengthening the presidency, but the Spanish newspaper wrote it in a more open manner: 'Erdoğan wants to change the Constitution in order to put the presidential system into practice.' " (Erdogan pide reformar la Constitución para crear un sistema presidencialista).
The statement, "deepening the democracy," is present in the opening sentence of the article by José Miguel Calatayud from El País, yet it is not of first priority. According to the article, the vision document envisions the new Constitution as "giving more power to the head of state and deepening the democracy." Unlike Le Monde's article, El País does not speak of the democratic and emancipatory elements of the new Constitution. The article mentions Erdoğan's words on the new Constitution as a new future in the following lines, yet it further says that the new Constitution will give executive power to the new head of state since presidential power is symbolic at the moment. I am surprised that the newspaper is talking nonsense about the new constitution. I remember that Juan Carlos Sanz, whom I have known for 20 years, and I talked about these matters in detail on his last trip to Turkey. The nonsenses of El País' article is not limited to this. The article says that after the elections, Erdoğan' leadership has become very arbitrary and authoritarian. Moreover, the article claims that Erdoğan creates polarization in the public and it is emphasized that he should answer to the public about the corruption allegations about him and his family before he is elected president.
I spoke to Calatayud after he wrote this opinion article. I do not know if it is true or not, but he said that his original headline was "If he is elected president, Erdoğan promises peace with Kurds and new Constitution" (Erdogan promete paz con los kurdos y cambiar la Constitución si es elegido president). He said that the headline was changed in Madrid.
The example I have given in my article does not include all the Western media of course. Yet even a social democratic Spanish newspaper that is close to Turkey, gives priority to Erdoğan's opposition instead of the new Constitution and reconciliation process – we must accept that there are abnormal things.
These abnormalities have been happening for a very long time. The West does not only look at things just from one aspect, but also deliberately gives childish answers to the question: "Why is this happening?" Maybe these are normal things, maybe this is the normalization of the West.