Towards the elections

Has Turkeyand’s military tutelage regime completely disappeared? Most people answer yes without hesitation, with some of them praising the Justice and Development Partyand’s (AK Party) efforts to achieve that, while others accuse it of only replacing the military while maintaining the system. But in the end, they all agree that the military no longer plays its traditional political role. A few people, however, still believe that the military tutelage regime hasnand’t been completely dismantled and that the army has only changed its tactics, waiting for the right moment.
We are living in a changing world where politics and political tactics change very quickly. Therefore, it is not particularly interesting that all political players, which include the army in Turkeyand’s case, may change their tactics and instruments all the time. So one mustnand’t only look at the traditional indicators to conclude whether the army still wants to play a political role or not. Iand’m one of those who believe that most institutions and the mentality of the military tutelage regime are intact. They may not seem to be very active nowadays, but this doesnand’t mean they no longer exist.
For those who represent the military tutelage regime, and for those citizens who support their mentality, the main threat to the nation comes from conservative and pious people, so they try to figure out a way to get rid of them. They are probably aware that the main opposition Republican Peopleand’s Party (CHP) doesnand’t stand a chance of winning the elections. Therefore, supporters of the military tutelage regime have no reason to back the CHP. Their decision regarding the Kurdish issue is more important. For many years the essential reason for people to support the military tutelage regime was the terrorism problem. As long as the army fought against the Kurdistan Workersand’ Party (PKK), people never really complained about the armyand’s political clout. Today, however, Kurds have decided to participate in the elections as a party in the hope of entering Parliament. The government, by the way, is sending the public the message that it may resume the fight against the PKK, so if terrorist activities begin once again, the government will not really suffer from it.
Those within the military tutelage regime are probably aware of that, and they seem to be extra careful not to provoke the Kurds and create tension, or they do it in a way that would harm the AK Partyand’s image.
Another new tactic they use is trying to divide the AK Partyand’s electoral base. The impression is that the partyand’s voters have been divided into two groups, and the bureaucracy into three groups. Voters have been divided between those who are in favor of the Hizmet movement, also known as the Gandulen movement, and who arenand’t. The internal division of the bureaucracy is divided between those who are close to this or that personality and a third group with its own agenda. The latter, actually a remnant of the old regime, is quite dangerous, as these people are capable of manipulating the social and political atmosphere to influence the outcome of the elections. Besides, the military tutelage systemand’s representatives know they can use this groupand’s actions for their own purposes.
Nevertheless, it is never enough to look at events from inside the country. One has to try to understand what the world thinks of all this, as well. Unfortunately, the divisions within the AK Partyand’s voters and the first two groups inside the bureaucracy have nothing to do with divergent foreign policy lines. As far as the andquotthird groupandquot is concerned, however, they have a message to the world: they insist they want to keep Turkey within the Western alliance. What they forget is that Turkeyand’s direction depends largely on the international system, and not on the countryand’s individual choices. Anyway, if there are people who believe that in order to remain a andquotWesternandquot country, Turkey has to live under the military tutelage regime, these people definitely lack faith in democratic institutions.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman