Critical voices concerned about further government pressure after election

Journalists, columnists and academics who have been critical of the government raised concerns about a possible increase in government pressure on dissenting voices after snap election results showed that the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) had regained the majority in a repeat parliamentary election on Sunday by winning 49 percent of the vote.
Evaluating the results of the Nov. 1 snap election in their columns, a number of columnists for critical dailies and news portals voiced their concerns about potential upcoming changes in the policies of the AK Party, which used divisive language and showed authoritarian tendencies, using repressive policies directed at those who expressed any disagreement during the election campaign.
After a failure in the June general election, the AK Party has now managed to secure 315 seats in Parliament, more than the number necessary to continue its single-party rule for another term.
The AK Party lost the majority in Juneand’s election it received 41 percent of the total vote and the pro-Kurdish Peoplesand’ Democratic Party (HDP) managed to cross the countryand’s 10 percent election threshold for the first time, ending the 13-year, single-party rule of the AK Party. The HDP gain cost the AK Party seats in Parliament and the AK Party then blamed the HDP, claiming that the HDP and the terrorist Kurdistan Workersand’ Party (PKK) had deceived the government during the Kurdish settlement process launched in 2012 with the aim of solving the decades-old Kurdish problem by granting more social and cultural rights to Kurds. The AK Party government then ceased negotiations and re-launched a war in the Southeast against the PKK.
In addition to Kurds, the AK Party also targeted a large section of society that had criticized President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the AK Party for ending investigations of graft that were revealed to the public on Dec. 17, 2013 and which implicated the inner circles of Erdogan and the AK Party.
According to veteran journalist Hasan Cemal, who writes a column for the T24 news portal, Turkey cannot be a democracy and will not have a state of law unless it resolves its problems with its Kurdish citizens as well as Kurds in Syria and Iraq.
Underlining that Erdogan became the winner of the Nov. 1 election by blocking democracy and peace in the country, Cemal said in his column on Monday, and”It may well be that we didnand’t hit bottom yet.and” Cemal expressed concern that the crisis in Turkey will deepen, as Erdogan survives on policies that polarize society. He also said that stability will not come back to Turkey while the and”Erdogan problemand” remains unsolved.
Cemal said that the and”Erdogan problemand” might be resolved if he acts as an impartial president within the limits of the Constitution, does not act as a party leader, does not interfere in governing, with the police or with the media, and if he respects the independence of the judiciary.
Taha Akyol, one of Turkeyand’s most distinguished intellectuals, columnists and legal experts, wrote in his column in the Handurriyet daily on Monday that it is vital for Turkey whether or not the AK Party chooses to behave responsibly toward all citizens of the country or sinks into arrogance and repression after the absolute victory in the Nov. 1 election.
According to Akyol, the AK Party government, which has legitimized its power in the election, has to tackle serious problems related to such things as a dangerously polarized society, terrorism, the Kurdish problem, foreign policy and the economy. and”It now depends on their foresight [to solve the problems],and” he added.
h2 andlsquoDissident voices must realize that government will increase its pressure on themand’h2 According to Can Dandundar, editor-in-chief of the Cumhuriyet daily, dissenting voices must realize that the government will increase its pressure on them if it can find an opportunity to change the Constitution in Parliament.
Dandundar also underlined in his column on Monday that it was the brinksmanship policies used on society by Erdogan and the AK Party since the June 7 election that brought them an absolute majority in Parliament allowing them to form a single-party government.
Underlining that those who love Erdogan to death and those who criticize him are driven away from each other, Dandundar said, and”We are now facing a society divided in two and Erdogan is at the heart of it.and”
Ertuirul andOzkandOk, a columnist and former editor-in-chief of the Handurriyet daily, also wrote on Monday that people on both sides are tired of exchanging hatred. He underlined that the hatred among people must end and noted that those who promote hatred must be silenced in order to bring peace to society for the upcoming four years of AK Party rule.
Drawing an optimistic portrait of Turkey under AK Party rule after the Nov. 1 election, Cumhuriyet columnist Orhan Bursali wrote on Monday that the AK Party may soften its and”war politicsand” after the election in order to tackle the problems in the economy.
According to Bursali, the AK Party satisfied public expectations in the fight against the PKK and took votes from the MHP despite the high number of martyrs after the June general election. and”The problems in the economy will not let the AK Party continue its authoritarian policies as it is no longer scared of losing the government,and” he added.
Zaman Editor-in-Chief Abdandulhamit Bilici wrote in his column on Monday that people who belong to different ideologies and lifestyles who have been critical of the government came together for the first time in a strong way in order to defend democracy.
Bilici recounted how politicians from different opposition parties, journalists of different ideologies, press organizations and academics have united in solidarity to show their support with journalists from the ipek Media Group, whose media outlets were seized on Oct. 28.
Police raided the headquarters of a number of media outlets on Oct. 28 after the Ankara 5th Criminal Court of Peace ruled on Oct. 25 for the takeover of the administration of Koza ipek Holding companies, which includes critical media outlets, in a government-backed move. The trustees took over the management of the Bugandun and Millet dailies, as well as Bugandun TV and Kanaltandurk, following the police intervention in which many journalists and protesters were subjected to excessive police force.

SOURCE: TODAY’S ZAMAN

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