CAFER – A test in the new year

A test in the new yearThe start of a new year is a meaningful occasion, mostly because it allows people to renew their hopes and dreams as they leave the old year behind and sail into a new one. But as Turkey leaves 2014 behind and heads into 2015, the actual state of the country — as well as its psychological standing — is quite chaotic and confused.

Perhaps not surprisingly, it was President Recep Tayyip ErdoIan who most starkly highlighted both the andldquochaoticandrdquo psychological state of the country as well as the conditions in place throughout the land with which Turkey was to enter the new yearIn his New Year message, President ErdoIan not only did not give andldquohopeandrdquo to anyone or wish for peace and serenity, but rather wound up overshadowing any optimistic feelings people may have had with a dark cloud.He did however express praise for the andldquonational willandrdquo that elected him, underscoring what a vital development for democracy it was that the president of Turkey could now be elected by the people of the country.

He then finished up by threatening all those various factions of the country that he does not count as being a part of the andldquonational willandrdquo he had mentioned earlierFor example, he talked about both the andldquotraitors among usandrdquo and the andldquofocal points of darkness both domestically and internationally,andrdquo insisting that he would carry on the struggle against these and delivering thus a message of staunch resoluteness.If we were to maintain that the political history of Turkey is one in which those with power have always declared that they would struggle against both andldquodomestic and foreign enemiesandrdquo (depending on their particular priorities), we would probably not be exaggerating.

We are always engaged in a struggle. We always need to be vigilant.

We are always on alarm, always filled with suspicion. And we always need to be worried.

Because after all, our country is surrounded — both on the inside and the outside — by enemies. And if we relax, even for a moment, making the fatal mistake of continuing on with our normal lives — and expecting the state to do the same — our enemies will seize the chance to rip us apart, to divide us and ultimately to devour us.

In this sense, there is nothing new about the andldquoNew Turkeyandrdquo about which we hear so much these days. All we really have is an enemy now that appears to be andldquonew,andquot one called a andldquoparallel state,andrdquo but one that is never brought before a court.

It is an enemy that cannot be exposed and that, because it has not been charged in any court, cannot be interrogated either Yes, this is the only andldquonewandrdquo thing Turkey really has. After all, those leading our government now are quite determined not to leave our society bereft of andldquoenemies.

andrdquoAnd while the president offered up in his new yearand#39s speech remarks that swept over a broad spectrum — including thanks to his supporters and threats for the andldquotraitors amongst usandrdquo (people were left to conclude on their own just who these andquottraitorsandquot might be) — he failed to touch at all upon the subjects of the bribery and corruption allegations that have dogged himAnd I had to wonder why he didnand#39t include remarks on these topics. Perhaps he felt no need to since the justice system has screeched to a halt on those fronts.

But at the same time, the allegations about the four notorious government ministers involved in corruption and bribery incidents have maintained their place on the national agenda Will he wind up sending these four men to the stateand#39s high court — the Yuce Divan — to seek their acquittal of all charges? After all, if he does, the whole andldquoparallel stateandrdquo strategy will collapse. But if he doesnand#39t, everyone will ask, andldquoDid they try to escape the Yuce Divan?andquot The situation involving these four ministers is a very serious topic on the countryand#39s agenda But for whatever reason, the topic never seems to make its way into speeches by the president, whether these speeches are to mark the new year, or something else.

This, despite the fact that our president apparently loves to talk about just about everything else.One possibility is this: The army of consultants that surrounds the president has not yet developed a new andldquostrategyandrdquo for how the president should approach this topic.

I guess those consultants arenand#39t really earning their salaries?At the same time, I do believe that the speech we heard from the president is full to bursting with clues about what sort of year 2015 will really be. Clearly, it will be a year when Turkey tops its own charts in terms of its fight for democracy.

Also, the state has shown us quite clearly that it can and will do everything possible to institutionalize the arbitrary and authoritarian manner of rule we have seen these last few years. Clearly, we can expect only more of this in 2015.

It is also clear that those labeled as andldquotraitorsandrdquo now bear the responsibility to show that they are at least as courageous as the tyrants who label themBut the real test in this all will be faced by those Justice and Development Party (AKP) voters who have supported ErdoIan up until now. Being the target of praise from ErdoIan comes, after all, with a steep price tag these days.

After all, what sits now before Turkey is a turn in the road, one that will determine whether we head straight into democracy, or tyranny.May this new year before us be one that holds peace, serenity, democracy, and freedoms, not only for our country but all of humanity.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman