Every democratic state could opt for the leviathan over the behemoth if it encounters great risks. This could be deemed normal as long as the state is democratic, whereas if it is not, the leviathan does not remain as an exception and turns into a rule.
For Turkey, 2014 was a year in which important fractures were experienced and the country underwent significant tests. The Dec. 17 and Dec. 25 operations, which were political operations despite having a judiciary outlook and launched by the Gülen Movement's members in the judiciary, police and media, took the lead in these fractures. Of course, these fractures cost Turkey a lot, causing the country to enter an extraordinary period. The concerns for protecting the state's functionality, public order and safety prevailed in this period. The public took a position in line with it. This was perceived as a problem by nongovernmental organizations, which came into existence with the rhetoric of freedom and other intellectuals.
In order to take up this challenge, Parliament quickly embarked on urgent legislative work within the constitutional framework. The legislative process went beyond becoming a process determined by social needs to gain an operational nature. Laws were enacted to prevent the destruction caused by Gülenists in the judiciary and to overcome their obstruction. The Constitutional Court disapproved of the perception of the extraordinary period and annulled some of these laws, finding them to be unconstitutional. However, the court went beyond this and took the Parliament's endeavors to enact "exceptional" legislation against the Gülen Movement as a threat against itself and annulled them. There were fair suspicions that at least some verdicts relied on political motives. The whole process, of course, undermined faith in the law and postponed attempts for democratization.
Furthermore, it whipped up the psychology of an extraordinary period in relations with the West. Some Western political actors were ill-informed about the Gülen Movement and its parallel structure, thus they failed to understand why Turkey entered an extraordinary political process. Some others turned these challenges experienced by Turkey in this period into a means of tiring the legitimate government. It is indisputable that the Gülen Movement made significant contributions to the formation of both segments' perceptions.
We can say that the attacks that were attempted by the Gülen Movement against Turkey crippled the democratization process in the country, or at least, decelerated it.
What we experienced in 2014 showed us there are large and active dynamics and groups that can come together simply to topple the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government. This became visible during the Gezi Park protests in 2013. The same unity was formed by the Gülen Movement in 2014. Franz Leopold Neumann's work, "Behemoth: The Structure and Practice of National Socialism," could explain such structures without any political agenda, program or objectives. Neumann described the combination of such structures as "totalitarian pluralism." Such structures can only give way to chaos and can never bring order. Political constructions can never arise from such structures, so it is impossible to think that society approves of them. This is why the Gezi Park protests failed and the interest unity formed around the Gülen Movement was doomed to fail.
In any case of a "security risk," society has always opted for the leviathan over the behemoth. I think 2014 was a year in which this preference was tested as well. It also produced the risk that the leviathan might gain continuity. 2015 has to be a year in which the leviathan can become visible only in crisis situations and democracy becomes institutionalized. An exceptional preference should not gain continuity. It is time for Turkey, which passed significant stress tests, to remove this.
About the author
Osman Can is a Law Professor and Reporting Judge at the Turkish Constitutional Court. He holds a PhD from the University of Cologne, Germany.