Our foreign companions may not have closely followed, but Turkey will soon have a historical presidential election. Let us itemize the reasons why it is of such historical importance:
1 . Tensions rise in Turkey ahead of every presidential election, because this position exists to keep power from the people Since 1946, elections have been held in a relatively free way, thus the public has had the chance to elect the government. This alone does not make any sense, as until the AK Party rule, being in government in Turkey did not necessarily mean holding the power. The body that decided on the delicate issues of the government was not the government which was legitimated by public, but an appointed elite oligarchy. This oligarchy comprised the judiciary, military and individuals from certain business circles to universities. Due to totalitarian secularism and a discourse of groundless modernity, this oligarchic structure has seemed like a democratic coalition to our Western companions and was considered as something functional.
2. Therefore, for the privileged oligarchy, the presidential office is an instrument that will prevent Turkey's religious sections and people of diverse ethnicities from changing the regime and from taking the country back to the dark periods through the ballot box. Adnan Menderes, who came to power through public vote, was toppled in 1960 and executed along with two ministers on weak charges. A constitution was imposed after the Sept. 12, 1980 military coup, before transferring management to civilians. In this constitution, presidential authorities were extended to such a large degree that the presidential office was entitled to dissolve the parliament.
3. Formerly, the president was elected by the national assembly. However, as civilian politics was always dominated by the privileged hegemony, if somebody who was not consented by the military tutelage came to power , it was regarded as a cause of staging a coup. When the AK Party insisted on its own candidate during the 2007 presidential elections, supporters of military and civilian tutelage took action against him, while rectors, higher judicial bodies and various associations incited the public in the hope of a coup. The Turkish Armed Forces also issued a memorandum. In this same period, a number of unsolved murders were conducted in addition to the assassination of Hrant Dink.
4. Previously, a quorum of 276 votes, which was equal to one more than half of the entire votes in the parliament, was required to elect the president. However, the Constitutional Court unlawfully annulled this and stipulated a quorum of 376 votes, which corresponded to more than two-thirds of the votes to prevent the AK Party's candidate from winning who had high possibility of winning. This was a bureaucratic coup. In order to clear this hurdle, the AK Party made amendments to the constitution and it was settled that the president would be elected by the public for a maximum of two terms, each of which lasts five years.
5. For the first time in the history of Turkey, people will directly elect their own president on Aug. 10. This actually accounts for the expulsion of tutelage from the top of the state in a symbolic sense.
6. In addition to the right to veto all passed bills, presidential authorities were largely expanded through the constitution which was the product of pro-coup mindset and gave the president further powers such as appointing the members of higher judiciary and universities. In the past, these two institutions were unfortunately in the grip of tutelage. Before and after May 27, 1960 coup, and throughout the last 12 years, the judiciary and most of the universities attempted to create a coup atmosphere. The energy of university students were abused by academics to incite them into taking to the streets against the government which was elected by the public. They violated the law and left no room for the existence of political power. They outlawed political parties and shut down the parliament many times. Lastly, we saw how they misused their authority to maintain the same political engineering endeavor during the Gezi crisis and Dec. 17 and Dec. 25 operations, which were conducted under the mask of corruption. An autonomous structure, which turned out to be affiliated with the Gülen Movement, seized control of tutelage in the institutions and launched a political struggle against the government, by hiding behind the democratization initiatives of the last 12 years. In order to break this bad habit, the election of a president directly by the public will be an example of democratic revolution, as it leaves no room for clandestine negotiations behind closed doors.
7. It is not an easy task for our Western companions to understand how an autonomous structure infiltrated into the judiciary and bureaucracy and how this same structure utilized the law to design politics. It is impossible to view a similar case in any European country or in the U.S. That is why Europeans and Americans regard the legal regulations of government on the higher judiciary, which intrigued against the state , as an intervention in the judiciary. Turkish democracy is still in process of being constructed and a majority of the institutions have not been adapted to democracy yet. The government, on the other hand, only has legislative power and popular support against the bureaucratic coups. In other words, civilian politics are quite weak in the face of an oligarchic structure that does not abide by the rules and does not feel an obligation to receive legitimacy from the public.
8. The alliance, which complained about Erdoğan to the West and accused him of authoritarianism and imposing pressure over the media during the Dec. 17 and Dec. 25 operations, carried out the perception operation of an obvious coup process. Newspapers and writers, who cared about democratic gains rather than the government, withstood this perception operation and therefore they were labeled as proponents of the government and were lynched heavily. Being a true opposition in Turkey is to defend the civilian politics against pro-tutelage powers while criticizing it. These people were always targeted and demonized through social media and influential media instruments. The freedom of expression and thought was not true in the case of these sections.
The Westerner fellows had better understand the essence of what is happening in Turkey as there is an ongoing power struggle between public will and privileged oligarchy.