On the matter of resolving the Alevi issue

Published 13.11.2014 23:02

Turkey is now facing the massive problems created by the homogenizing and totalitarian mindset prevalent during the foundation of the Republic and the long tragic decline of the Ottoman Empire.

This confrontation has actually been in our lives in a general form for the last 12 years. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is politically in charge of this process. Its achievement to maintain popular votes with a rate of 50 percent in the last nine elections by increasing the votes each time is the strongest evidence that the public also supports the process.

It is not easy to make reforms in a problematic state structure. One is constantly against a crisis or a coup threat and has to tackle plots by non-political factions in such a structure. The deeply rooted problems that have persisted for about a century were developed with reciprocally provoking prejudices and hatred. Because of this, persuading society has become the primary concern of politicians. The strongest support for the government, which is facing opposition by civil and military bureaucracy, is realized with the right to conduct reforms legitimized by the public.

Taking steps without compromising the prejudices and public wounds of the Kurdish, Alevi, Armenian and Cyprus issues would mean giving opportunity to the pro-coup mindset. The groups forming the grassroots of the government have both religious and nationalist tendencies. A strange form of nationalism that is not actually found in Islam has flourished in the Republican period.

At this phase, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's exceptional skills have been injected into the process. While persuading his own base for the need for change, he displayed his recognizance. The love and trust felt toward Erdoğan was so strong that the base supported his views, thinking he must definitely have a point.

This does not mean that the base is unreasonable or open to manipulation. Society had already begun to suspect the official Republican history in the democratization process and started to research the past from ever-growing sources. They gradually realized that the realities of many issues were not actually what they were told and the prejudices were triggered as part of the divide-and-rule tactic of the military and bureaucratic dominance.

The AK Party approached the Kurdish reconciliation process, the change in the Cyprus issue and the steps for condolences for the 1915 Armenian incidents from this point. Our Western friends can comprehend it more by looking at the country's media, dominant discourse and state practices only 12 years ago.

The government, now led by Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu, is preparing to implement a radical reform for the Alevi issue. Workshops have been organized on this matter before and Erdoğan, while prime minister, apologized on behalf of the state for the Dersim Massacre in which 13,000 Alevis were killed.

Although there is disinformation suggesting the contrary in international arena, Turkey is taking radical steps toward democratization and normalization. Most importantly, these steps are not taken despite the public, but with its support and approval.

A new package on liberties will be announced soon. The shortcomings in freedom of thought and expression will be met according to EU standards.

As a Muslim country rapidly advancing toward a stable democracy, Turkey constitutes a unique opportunity to repair the broken relations between the Middle East and the West. Discrediting the value of Turkey with cyclical estimations will not favor anyone.

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