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Unconditional support for the AKP ?

Monday 1 October 2007, by Ertuğrul Özkök

For a week now, I’ve been scanning Turkish newspapers and internet sites. With the exception of very few columnists, most writers have been blaming the Hurriyet for its stance and reporting on the new Constitution.

Whether through bald insults or allegations that we are behind trying to get a coup going, or simply making fun of us, clearly, these writers feel we are guilty.
Our crime is having the audacity to go against current “civilian” framework of the new Constitution.
You know how they (the AKP) won the July 22 elections, how despite promises of searching for compromise they brought Gul to the presidency.....

And now, next in line is for them to force us to accept the Constitution they have in mind.
Of course, it was the military that had made the right rule: “Let the victorious determine the Constitution.”

And we are opposing this. Will we meet with one more defeat here?

Let’s meet with that defeat. It doesn’t matter.

We will continue to speak our minds.

And likewise, let them (the columnists who continue to lambast us) keep on doing what they do best.

In other words, insulting, blaming, creating terror, mocking.

We have no right to expect the same mentality, the same understanding of democracy from everyone during these “Constitution debates.”

* *

Last week in the Referans newspaper, editor Cengiz Çandar put together a national team made up of “Second Republicans.”
I’ve glanced at the “team,” and here are some of its names:
“Cengiz Çandar, Mehmet Barlas, Hasan Cemal, Murat Belge, Etyen Mahçupyan, Orhan Pamuk, Mehmet Altan, Eser Karakas, Sahin Alpay, Mehmet Ali Birand, Ali Bayramoglu.”
I know almost all of these people personally, and many of them are still my close friends.

Their statuses as intellectuals, enlightened people is not up for debate.

What I mean is, I can separate them from the “other” columnists I mentioned above.
But coincidentally, one day after Candar wrote his important column for Referans, Haluk Sahin wrote for the Radikal newspaper what I think was one of the most important columns of recent days.

I recommend it as reading for everyone who is thinking hard about the future of our country.

* *

Sahin begins his column with the following question:

“When will the support being evinced by liberals for the AKP come to an end? Or is this support unconditional?”

Here is his thesis:
“The Islamically based AKP could not have come to the position it enjoys today without the support (in terms of both polemics and general thoughts) of the liberals in Turkey.”
He continues:
“The intellectuals clumped together as a group of ’liberals’ have seen the AKP’s duty as a bridge stretching to the West and the European Union. They have taken the difficult-to-understand-in-the-West local concepts from Turkey, and translated them into the liberal terminology of the West, vaccinating them with universality and modernity in doing so. In this way, these perspectives and those who defend them have gained legitimacy.”
He goes on:

“In addition, the ideological struggle into which those in Turkey who are ultra sensitive on secularity have entered, has damaged this sector of people. And from this, the Islamicists and the AKP have benefitted much, and are continuing to benefit. For this reason, there can be no doubt that an AKP which had lost the support of liberals, or started to be questioned by liberals, would have a very difficult time defending itself in Europe.”

* *

I have no objections to the support for the AKP.

I myself have voiced my own support for many of the positive acts I have seen carried out by the AKP.

But I would love to ask the group of 11 intellectuals I have listed above the following question:
Is your support for the AKP limitless?

Here is my worry:

If you lend the AKP your unconditional support, you are not acting in the benefit of the AKP.

Of course, if you have absolutely no worries, no doubts, I guess there is nothing I can say.

But if you have even one of the worries we have, it is the right time right now to express them: in other words, to speak while the foundation for the new Constitution is being built.

If you want to help Turkey out, please speak now.
Otherwise, you will wind up carrying part of the responsibility for destruction which just may follow.

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Source : Hürriyet, 26/09/2007

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