The system is paralyzed

When someone tells you that the system is paralyzed, you may easily think that your interlocutor is speaking about the current state of the Turkish political system. It is true that there are quite a number of problems in Turkish political life, as our Constitution has been amended several times instead of being entirely changed once and for all.

For many years, reforms have been undertaken concerning administrative, legislative and judiciary details of the 1982 Constitution, but these reforms can’t be fully implemented because the essential structure of the Constitution remains intact. The right thing to do, however, would be to first establish a new system, to adopt a brand new Constitution and then to work on the details.

The international system is paralyzed as well. It is enough to take a quick look at Syria and Ukraine to see how badly the system is paralyzed.

Can anyone say, without any hesitation, that the ongoing armed conflict in Syria is a civil war? If it is, and if the belligerents have decided to keep fighting until their enemy is completely destroyed, then can one assume crimes against humanity are being committed in this country? If yes, is the international community capable of using the tools of humanitarian law to stop those crimes? Is it as easy to intervene in Syria as it is to intervene in a country in Africa?

Let’s think about Ukraine, for instance. An autonomous republic that depends on Ukraine easily changed its political status, and it is now attached to Russia. A number of administrative regions of the country seem to be willing to do the same. So, have we arrived at a time when political maps can easily be modified? Or maybe different rules will be applied when it is about Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia or Cyprus. When a neighboring country’s tanks penetrate into the territory of our country, will we accept this as a normal action? If Israel or Turkey decide to do the same and send their tanks into Syria, will people there react as eastern Ukrainians did? What about the world at large, how will it react?

The international system is changing gradually, but the very structure of the old system is still in place. That is why one has the impression that this is only about double standards, and the world is nothing but an arena where the most powerful ones do what they want, as they want it.

When the system is paralyzed and turmoil begins, some people start saying that “above all, we need stability.” Nonetheless, what they describe as “stability” is a mechanism whose purpose is to make everyone accept the present conditions as they are. That is why stability very seldom refers to democracy or pluralism. Many people will easily tell you that authoritarian regimes are the most stable ones. We remember that in the wake of each coup d’état, Turkey has been described as a very stable country.

International stability can be preserved even when some countries occupy a number of territories, and some others support coups d’état in third countries. They can always find arguments to convince the peoples about the benefits of this “stability” anyway.

The two most frequent instruments used to convince people of something are security and development. In other words, people can forget about their personal freedoms when it comes to preserving their own lives, and they follow the leader who promises them long-term economic stability. The game is based on creating fears about these two issues and then easing those fears.

It appears that Russia and the US have found common ground to enable the system. The rules of the new order are not known yet; they will be forged later, according to the situation in the field. It is of critical importance, however, that the system’s efficient powers are still able to compromise.