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Manipulation from the West

Tuesday 18 May 2010, by Etyen Mahçupyan

Turkey’s struggle for democratization has a major external component. It seems as though, as a country that categorically obtained the approval of the West, and particularly of the United States for all its coup attempts, Turkey feels the need to do so for establishing a truly democratic system today.

Actually, Turkey’s internal dynamic forces have grown strong enough not to need this support, but evidently many Westerners have difficulty comprehending this fact. It seems that the uneasiness they developed regarding Islam that has acquired a political meaning in the post-Sept. 11 world has stupefied the minds seeking to perceive the change in Turkey because of the identity of the Justice and Development Party (AK Party). Though it may sound ridiculous to us, many Westerners talk about the danger of the reintroduction of Shariah in Turkey. Wider groups mention the government trying to control the entire state apparatus or its intention to create a sort of party dictatorship by enervating the judiciary.

Ignorance from the West

And this ignorance is largely understandable. Thus, the prejudices that are reminiscent of Orientalism still apply, and effective propaganda is also being conducted to prop up these views in the West. Part of this propaganda was Gareth Jenkins’ report on the Ergenekon case, and it was primarily intended to prove that there is no network called Ergenekon. However, all the information and evidence in Jenkins’ report consisted of half truths. In other words, it emphasized the points that suited its purpose while leaving out the points that weakened its position. If you believe this report, you can continue to assume, for example, that the Council of State shooting was committed with Islamic motives, and you can never become aware of how the perpetrators of this murder are connected to the Ergenekon network. However, what we see is a neo-nationalist murder that has been attempted to be portrayed as Islamic. During the trials, it was revealed that the suspects were also the same people who bombed the Cumhuriyet newspaper and that they are in close contact with the senior executives of the Ergenekon network. Moreover, a recent Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK) report found that the security cameras that were believed to not have been functioning during the attack were actually operational but their recordings had been erased. A reminder that the security company that did this was owned by the military may serve to clarify minds to some extent.

Also, it should be realized that many “expert” opinions recently published in the West serve the same manipulation. Thus, what emerges is a dramatic difference in terms of knowledge: Westerners think that there is a struggle between the AK Party and the military and judiciary and believe that they should remain neutral in this contention between “two evils.” In Turkey, on the other hand, the issue is simple for the great majority of society: There is a regime that has established tutelage over all political activity and which suppresses social demands and freedoms in this way, and regardless of who is in office, this regime should change. As for what sort of a regime the AK Party seeks, the clear answer to this must be “democracy” because this is what AK Party supporters demand.

Indeed, recent surveys indicate that the amount of people supporting the constitutional reforms and the judicial reforms is about 70 percent, a rate that far exceeds the number of AK Party supporters. More interestingly, 65 percent of people say “yes” to the question of whether these reforms should be performed by the current Parliament. These results prove that there is a different debate and tension in the country. The true conflict is not between the AK Party and the bureaucracy but within the bureaucracy itself. Otherwise, we cannot explain why the minutes of the meetings that constituted the skeleton of the Sledgehammer (Balyoz) coup plan and the related audio recordings had been kept for eight years by someone who attended those meetings and why they were released recently. Also, we would hardly understand why the Ergenekon prosecutors should act with determination and capacity. One thing is obvious: If it were not for this internal division within the military and the judiciary, the AK Party government would never have the courage to tackle the coups.

Actually, what is happening is quite simple. We are going through a process similar to those seen in Eastern European countries some time ago and currently in Argentina. The only difference is that in Turkey these reforms are implemented while the old system survives and resists. It is for this reason that manipulative efforts may still be seen and “expert” reports that hide the truth can be published. Nevertheless, the true value of these reports can be easily substantiated: For instance, the only person who makes constant referrals to the Jenkins text is Deniz Baykal, and he does this only when he is abroad.

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Source : 30 April 2010, Friday

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