SUAT – This republic will survive ErdoIan

This republic will survive ErdoIanTurkey is celebrating another somber Republic Day this year While the blood of the three young soldiers ruthlessly killed in Hakkari is still on the minds of our citizens, we are now being confronted with yet another mine disaster in Karaman. However, even without these two tragic events there is enough to be concerned about with our republic.

In fact, the president and government of this country are in the business of undoing the many gains of the republic under the disguise of establishing a andldquonew Turkey.andrdquo And this social engineering campaign has in no way been limited to domestic affairs.

Recep Tayyip ErdoIanand#39s andldquonew Turkeyandrdquo has been stubbornly following an ideologically driven foreign policy, subjecting our country to a multitude of threats on its southern borders. It has been alienating friends and allies across the board.

Not surprisingly, the international standing of the andldquonew Turkeyandrdquo is at an all-time low.Many Turks are worried that the fundamental elements of the Turkish Republic are being eroded on a daily basis.

The secular republic that the founders established is being eaten up, piece by piece. The principle of the separation of powers — a key principle for a functioning democracy — has been compromised.

Our Constitution is effectively on hold. Key components of the judiciary have become outrageously partisan and have been whitewashing the governmentand#39s embarrassing files.

The rule of law is no more. Consequently, Turks have very little confidence in the judiciary.

Our societyand#39s fragile sense of belonging has been sacrificed by an extremely polarizing political discourse driven by President ErdoIan.In Ankara ErdoIan has made clear he wants to move out of ankaya palace — an important source of symbolism — and move into a large, Ceausescu-style palace ominously named andldquoAk Sarayandrdquo (white palace).

Given the Dec. 17-25 graft scandals, it takes some nerve to name it andldquoAk Saray,andrdquo but that is beyond the scope of this weekand#39s column.

A good many of us are longing for the old days when there was at least considerable consensus on what Turkeyand#39s fundamental orientation should be. The andldquonew Turkeyandrdquo that the conservativeIslamist government is claiming to establish has steered Turkey away from Europe.

Worse, it continues to exhaust Turkeyand#39s energy on the Middle East. On the domestic front many Turks are angered by the gradual intrusion of conservativeIslamist politics into their daily lives.

Fundamental values such as human rights, gender equality, the rule of law and pluralism are besieged by the curse of majoritarian authoritarianism While we see an increasing awareness among larger segments of society in terms of identifying the problem, we see little movement among the political elite to redress the situation.Perhaps we need to experience all this in order to appreciate the important gains of our republic.

Sooner or later we shall return to normality from this anomaly called andldquonew Turkey.andrdquo Despite the extremely aerse conditions at hand, rest assured the republic will survive ErdoIan and his authoritarianismLong live the Turkish Republic.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman

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