St. Petersburg IPU Assembly to beat several records

Conference Hall. Tauride Palace, St. Petersburg

The 137th IPU Assembly that will be held in Russia’s Saint Petersburg from October 14 to 18, raises high expectations among the world’s leaders as it hits the record high number of its participants and the wide range of issues to be discussed.

The chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Russian parliament’s upper chamber, the IPU Vice-President Konstantin Kosachev, said “that 152 national delegations out of 173 plan to take part in the assembly, which is a record high”. He also added that “the maximum number of speakers who personally participated in the work of IPU Assemblies is 51. As of today, 99 speakers have expressed a desire to participate in the 137th Assembly, including participants from France, Germany and other European countries”.

The Assembly members will also carry a remarkable vote for adoption of the signing of the resolution “Sharing our diversity: The 20th anniversary of the Universal Declaration on Democracy” suggested at the 136th IPU in Dhakka.

While the IPU Assembly’s major issues of the discussion will be the ongoing conflict in Syria, the possible paths to dealing with North Korea and the Ukraine crisis, it will also highlight the plight of the Muslim Rohyngia as followed by the request from Marzouq Ali Al-Ghanim, the IPU speaker representing Kuwait.

The IPU could also become a platform for a dialogue between North Korea and South Korea should their MPs come to St. Petersburg.

According to political analysts, the current dynamics of international issues demonstrates the trends of spreading democracy and its values around the globe regardless national identities which by no means causes more local and regional conflicts. The recent events in Tunisia, Libya and Syria are the best examples of this trend. In this regard, the international community should see the forthcoming IPU Assembly as a tool for following the fundamental principle of the international law – the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of a country, especially when such an important issue is going to be discussed by the record number of the democratic parliamentary representatives from around the globe.

SOMETHING’S COMING

 

Could be!

Who knows?

There’s something due any day;

I will know right away

Soon as it shows.

It’s only just out of reach,

Down the block, on a beach,

Under a tree.

Stephen SondheimWest Side Story

 

More deadly gas is coming. They’re buying those gas bombs again. 1.5 million more. They must have exhausted the 43 tons they bought from America last year at the height of their Gezi violence. Ten million dollars gone with the fascist wind. And the latest news says that the public-space-destroying Gezi Park shopping-center project is alive and quietly ticking. Those treacherous, revolutionary Gezi Park trees, like Carthage, must be totally destroyed!

And then there are the personal antics of you-know-who. Heisting more of the public’s money, he’s adding thousands more rooms to his royal roost. Painfully aware of his public, he has privatized his own Waffen-SS. It’s an especially loyal bunch, a comforting pious blend of Turkish police, the Gendarmes (easily appropriated from his ever-generous Turkish Army) and his ever-popular scimitar-waving street thugs. They will all emerge on call like mushrooms on a rainy day. Surely the blessings of safety and security will loom over the land forever.

And at last Turkish schoolchildren will be freed from all error and will finally learn the truth about just who discovered America. Oh, happy Turkish day! Perhaps they will learn that God is also a Muslim along with Fidel Castro.

Oh, the pope is coming. He is scheduled to meet and greet the new president at his new, illegal palace. How nice. Thus the pope will also be an accomplice-after-the-fact to a crime. This from a man considered by zillions of Catholics to be infallible in matters of faith and morals. But St Peter’s has such a suitable dome… for a mosque…or better, a shopping center. Let’s make a deal. Let’s have a conversion. So many things are coming…

One more thing is coming—the truth. Can you feel it? It’s just out of reach.

The truth is this. The Turkish people are fed up with the Turkish people. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.

These AKP people came to power—with a lot of help from their American friends in high places—following years of coalitional incompetence and corruption. The people were fed up then, too. And so came Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his friends, the self-proclaimed “pious” people. Surely they would clean up things. They sold everything leveraging it into a self-proclaimed “economic miracle.” Then came their true colors—repression, fascism and more corruption, all in the name of piety.

But as Cassius said to Brutus, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves.” And that’s why the Turkish people are fed up, particularly Turkish young people.

Turkey is the youngest country in Europe. 17% of its population is in the 18-24 age group. With a median age of 29.6 years, Turkey is far younger than the U.K. (40.4), France (40.9) and Germany (46.1). More importantly, half of Turkey’s eligible voters are in the 19-35 age group. And that means 26 million “young” voters! And this is why Turkish young people SHOULD be fed up.

They have virtually no political representation, particularly in the fossilized opposition parties. CHP, Turkey’s oldest political party dating from 1923, has only six members of parliament under the age of 40. While the average age of party members is 46.9 years, the average age of its parliamentarians is almost a decade more, 55.5 years. How political parties can ignore half of the voter base is a great mystery and a great shame. And a great tragedy for Turkish young people.

In the twisting and turnings and whims and whines of the opposition parties they have today maneuvered themselves into near irrelevance. The bizarre joint presidential candidacy of a 71-year-old Islamist no one knew named Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu may have been their final curtain. Predictably trounced by Erdoğan at the polls, almost as many voters stayed away (15.4 million) as voted for Ekmeleddin (15.6 million). And for those that did vote for him, how many held their noses and voted out of fast-fading party loyalty? The entire affair was unseemly and CHP continues to struggle with the implications.

Herein resides, in part, the disenfranchised voter base. There are others, women, for example. Workers, for another. Something’s coming. Not surprisingly, recent surveys suggest a large “undecided” category, as high as 25%. Something’s coming.

Turkish youth have seen what the political process has delivered for them. While they filled the streets in protest at Gezi Park, the opposition parties mostly dawdled. When America sold the AKP more tear gas bombs to bomb the kids, the opposition parties mostly watched. And when the opposition parties chose a 71-year-old unknown as a presidential candidate to face the ferocious Erdoğan, well, you know the rest.

This is why the young people are on the move and coming. Not only are they the soldiers of Mustafa Kemal, they are his youth, Atatürk-youth. Like him, unbounded by age, open-minded and open-hearted, holding real opinions and ideals worth fighting for. Falling in love with truth, with science and the modern way, living honorably with care and sensitivity. Upholding the law and defending the human right to live freely. In short, living as a true Turk, a modern Atatürk Turk.

There is also new political party coming, the Anatolia Party (Anadolu Partisi). A party of enlightenment, like the sun rising in its logo. A party for an anti-imperialist, sovereign nation, secular and tolerant, honest and hopeful. A party for Turkish youth of all ages.

Half the voters in Turkey are young people, 26 million of them. Let it begin with them.

James (Cem) Ryan

Istanbul

24 November 2014

http://www.brighteningglance.org/index.html

AMERICAN BOYZ N THE HOOD

Turkish Soldiers Hooded by America Sulaymaniyah, Iraq. 4 July 2003
Turkish Soldiers Hooded by America
Sulaymaniyah, Iraq. 4 July 2003

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Istanbul: 13 November 2014

Yesterday, three sailors from the uncontrollably violent neighborhood called America met the true face of Turkey. Poor boys, they don’t even know what they represent. They don’t even know that their so-called leaders have made them punching bags for its criminal enterprise called American imperialism. They don’t even know how America and its treasonous internal agents, in particular the Turkish government, are attempting to destroy the future of the Turkish youth.

Perhaps these American boys got a quick lesson in the true nature of Turkish-American relations yesterday? But, sadly, probably not. The American boys ran back to the false safety of their warship, re-entering their “safe” world of imperialist propaganda, economic excess and hypocrisy. But there is no safety anywhere any longer. That is the gift of America to Turkey, and to the world. As usual, America authorities and its treacherous collaborating Turkish puppets screamed in outrage. And, as usual, the youth of Turkey, the true defenders of the Republic of Turkey, went to jail for exercising their patriotic duty. Nothing has changed, except one thing. Turkish young people, the nation’s true patriotic voice, will not take American crap anymore. And America should understand that. Listen and learn, America. You owe it to your own youth. Think of it this way, think of it as a symbol.

That’s the way the resident American-imposed agent of destruction, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, thought about his hooding of Turkish women into a grotesque series of Middle Age costumes that squeeze feminine brains into numb submission. So what, declared the then prime minister, if the head scarf is a political symbol? So what, indeed! Erdoğan used his compliant covered women to destroy democracy in his own country. He and his collaborators hid behind their women’s headscarves to do America’s dirty work. And now they cannot safely visit any neighborhood in their own land. No “hood” is safe for the hoodlums. And now the new president hides in a billion-dollar illegal palace, his inadvertent monument to treason. So what if he and his ilk cannot appear in public! So what!

So what if in 1980 the American president celebrated the success of his CIA-engineered military coup by proclaiming “Our boys did it!” Yes, then his gangster BOYZ did it. And yesterday, today’s Turkish youth remembered. And yesterday, our Turkish boys did it to America, symbolically, of course, because Turkish youth is civilized. They can be no other way; they are the current-day “soldiers of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.” This is something that the treacherous opposition political polities can neither say nor understand. Yes, Turkish young people are civilized and enlightened by the patriotic principles of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. That’s why, yesterday, no one, neither American boy nor Turkish boy was hurt. No one was tortured. No one was hung. No one was shot, exploded, beaten, gassed, or otherwise maimed. And that’s a lot more than America can ever say about their overt and covert interventions in Turkey’s affairs.

So what if America and its craven ambassador, Francis Ricciardone, aided and abetted the Turkish government in its beating, gassing, maiming and murdering of democratically assembled Gezi Park protestors. “The Turkish government is having a conversation with its people,” said the deceitful ambassador, as he arranged to have more poisonous gas sold to Erdoğan and his hoodlum police. A “conversation?” So what!

So what if the same ambassador conspired with the main opposition party leader to assure the election of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to the presidency!

So what if yesterday the American boys’ heads momentarily felt the experience of being symbolically hooded! Symbolically hooded, not actually hung like so many patriotic Turkish young people have been. And by their own government! The Turkish people have been strangled and hooded by America, by its CIA meddlers and by its corrupt politicians for decades. And in the past decade of Erdoğan’s treacherous rule, America’s CIA “boys” have done it again. Or tried to.

So what if America has used its youth to kill hundreds of thousands of Iraqis in its deceitful, illegal war of aggression!

So what if America has humiliated the Turkish military by hooding its soldiers in Iraq in July 2003!

So what if America has conspired with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Jordan to kill hundreds of thousands of Syrians in its deceitful pretext of bringing democracy!

So what if America has supported the treasonous, under-educated, Islamic zealot, CIA-asset, Fethullah Gulen for decades in the Pennsylvania countryside!

So what if Gulen and Erdoğan have collaborated for decades in treacherous union to do America’s bidding in the subversion of the Turkish Republic! So what if the Turkish Army has been destroyed! So what if the independence of the Turkish judiciary has collapsed! So what if rivers have been stopped, farmers’ fields uprooted, forests felled, eternal olive trees murdered, lakes polluted, mountains plundered, the air made poisonous, all in pursuit of private profit, all indicative of massive governmental corruption! So what if the government has looted public funds! So what if the Turkish mass media slithers like a reptile on its overstuffed belly doing the bidding of its governmental master! So what if Turkey stinks from America’s subversion like a rotting corpse in the noonday sun!

Yes, SO WHAT?

Yesterday, clearly, directly, in a street-theater performance, Turkish “boyz” encountered American “boyz” in the Turkish “hood.” The US embassy in Turkey called the incident “appalling.” What is appalling is the embassy’s ignorance and arrogance. What is appalling is the criminal behavior of its criminal boss, the president of the United States. It is he and Erdoğan and all their co-conspirators, all the ones who need protection by regiments of armed-to-the-teeth goons, who deserve to be hooded. And now they can never step foot in our hood, ever again. Not ever! That’s the message from yesterday. Take your warships and your political puppets and go!

James C. Ryan

Istanbul

13 November 2014

http://www.brighteningglance.org/

http://www.aydinlikdaily.com/

WHAT IS TO BE DONE?

The burning questions of these times in Turkey

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What to do? A presidential election, the first of its kind, is soon coming to Turkey. There are three candidates. One is the prime minister, about whom the less said the better. Another is Selahattin Demirtaş, the Kurdish parliamentary representative, affiliated with the PKK, a separatist, armed terrorist organization. The third is a life-long, Islamist now tricked out as a secularist. He, Ekmelledin İhsanoğlu, characterized himself politically as a loaf of bread. (“Ekmek için Ekmelledin”) While perhaps appropriate, it was not meant to be funny.

Think of it this way, the presidential race is a Turkish-American trifecta. Usually one must pick the exact order of finish, 1-2-3, to win. But not in Turkey’s three-horse run-for-Çankaya. America wins regardless. Erdoğan, who America tried to dump last December, is the odds-on favorite. Demirtaş is the long-shot Kurdish candidate to uphold Joe Biden’s pipedream of a Kurdistan from his days on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. And İhsanoğlu, America’s new boy, a smiling loaf of plain, white bread who will make a race of it for awhile. He will be run into the ground by the Erdoğan machine and opposition party voter apathy (and anger). Unless America pushes some magic election buttons at the finish line.

Nevertheless, all three America-bred candidates will win. Erdoğan gets his last gasp of glory until America figures a way to excuse him permanently. İhsanoğlu, entering his first race, is not likely to win (break his maiden) in this one. But he gains experience and will earn a place in America’s stable in case Erdoğan breaks down in a future outing. And Demirtaş gains credibility and track-time as an American entry for the next political operation in Kurdistan. So you see, America wins! The American-bred candidates win! And as usual, those swindled into believing that the presidential race matters, that is, the Turkish people, lose, again. Such is life at Imperial Downs, the American home of rigged elections, puppet shows and broken dreams.

Such are the dire electoral conditions in Turkey today. After a decade of Islamic fascist rule, and opposition party collaboration, its secular democracy is in ruins. This hapless trio of candidates puts the final nail in the coffin of Atatürk’s secular, anti-imperialist republic. This slate was selected by the political parties seated in parliament not the people. The domineering Erdoğan, finishing his third and final term, wants to move into the presidential chair. He will also change the power structure so that his steel-handed, brutish reign will continue. He should win easily. The Kurdish candidate is there to keep his separatist constituency happily dreaming of autonomy and oil revenues. The third candidate, the political opposition’s answer to the religious fascist government, is Ekmelledin İhsanoğlu. He is running because… because… well, because… perhaps because he was born and educated in Egypt, is a career Islamist, has been mute for years about the continuing dangers of shariah being imposed on secular Turkey and has an unconvincing commitment to the principles of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. All this irrelevance somehow fused into a bewildering symbol of a loaf of bread. And, accordingly, his equally bewildering sponsors concluded that he will surely defeat the undefeated and undefeatable Erdoğan. This so-called thinking is called the “Alice-in-Nightmareland Syndrome.”

So how did a loaf of bread come to represent the adherents of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk? The two major opposition parties, cooperating for the first time, swept the countryside seeking a suitable secular, democratic, Atatürk-loving candidate to face the imperialist-puppet Erdoğan. Amazingly, they could find none. Why? Because the opposition parties are deficient in their knowledge of secularity, democracy and Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. The truth is that they have both collaborated in the destruction of Atatürk’s republic. They have enabled the religious fascists to come to power and remain in power. One need not be a genius to see this. Being marginally alive in Turkey is enough. And Kemal Kiliçdaroğlu’s secretive selection, even to his own party members, of an Islamist bread loaf is first-hand evidence of his treachery.

 

IF ONLY…

So what is to be done? Oh, if only Mustafa Kemal Atatürk were here to save us. He’d know what to do. Yes, he would. Falih Rıfkı Atay, Atatürk’s close friend, biographer and confidant, told us in 1968. “What would Atatürk do if he were alive today? Shall I tell you? He would curse the lot of us.”

On Sunday 13 July 2014, Ümit Zileli wrote a compelling column in Aydınlık entitled “To Think Like Atatürk” (Mustafa Kemal gibi düşünmek!).  It is well worth reading.  Briefly put, Zileli says it is now fight time!  I agree. So fight. Here’s why.

First, the coming election. American self-interest, ignorance and criminal negligence prevails. And their puppet government loves to see elections. It validates their crimes. Winning recent local elections allowed Erdoğan to feel vindicated of massive theft and bribery allegations. It allows them to lie to their ignorant constituency, shower them with bribes and become more beloved. And America claps hands and showers their pet fascists with praise and good wishes.

Remember the elation a few years ago when the Iraqis “embraced democracy” and voted for candidates they didn’t even know, a puppet slate installed by the occupying power? Suddenly, thanks to America’s brave men and women, Iraq had become democratic. All it took was purple ink for the index fingers. Some democracy. A deception. Examine Iraq today.

The coming election in Turkey is another deception. It is, as Atatürk said in earlier, similar times, “the work emanating from the brains of traitors.” Turkey is now a totalitarian, de facto one-party police state. And the Turkish people are worrying about whether to vote in a phony election? Vote for what?  To be a loaf of bread or not to be a loaf of bread? Hardly a burning question, it’s an empty and insulting exercise.

 

DEMOCRATIC ELECTIONS REQUIRE A DEMOCRACY

Democracy requires a sovereign nation not controlled by outside imperialist powers and its agents, be it CIA or, as the prime minister claims, Fethullah Gülen Gang operators. It would also be nice to not have a criminal government, one that lies, cheats, steals, maims, gasses and murders its own people. Citizens of a democracy have certain specific human rights not to be abused. Vibrant, aggressive, honest opposition parties are also essential. The Turkish nation lacks sovereignty, its borders eroded by its own government. Its destiny is controlled by the needs of foreign powers as implemented by its puppet government. By the prime minister’s own admission, a foreign gang, CIA-supported, operated with impunity to deceitfully destroy the nation’s security forces, that is, the Turkish Army. This same government conspires with various terrorist groups to overthrow the governments of neighboring countries, acting under orders from imperialist powers. It is clear that Turkish democracy is a deception and dysfunctional.

Turkish political representation is a deception and dysfunctional. The party leaders select the candidates that we, the people, vote for. The party that professes to be “revolutionary,” the CHP, as of now the largest opposition party, failed miserably to support the Gezi Park movement. It perceived the movement, mostly consisting of young people, to be against the party’s interests. For once the party was correct. The CHP is primarily a fossilized bunch of status quo parliamentary seat-warmers, completely unrepresentative of Turkish young people. Hence came Ekmelledin İhsanoğlu to yet again prove that point. How insulting is CHP to the youth of Turkey!

The Turkish judiciary system is a deception and dysfunctional. Enormous fascist-style justice buildings everywhere, justice nowhere. The courts are in the hands of the ruling party fascists.

The Turkish media slavishly serves the interests of the political ruling party. Freedom of the press is nonexistent. The wolf-pack media fails to understand its democratic rights and responsibilities.

The Turkish people lack constitutionally guaranteed rights to freely assemble and protest. They live under the constant fear of reprisals, both physical and judicial.

The Turkish police, aided by organized street thugs, assault the Turkish population with fiendish brutality. This is applauded by the prime minister.  ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) and other government-supported terrorists have a free pass into and out of Turkey. There is no personal security in the Turkish police state.

Democracy is dead in Turkey. If you vote, you will be voting for a rotting corpse.

 

KNOW YOUR ENEMY

The enemy is the system imposed on the Turkish people by insiders and outsiders, the same people Atatürk identified in Nutuk (The Great Speech) over one hundred years ago. They are the “fools and traitors” of the government who “identify their personal interests with the enemy’s political goals.” The enemy is clearly identified. It is the state and the government. It is the treacherous opposition parties. It is America, its ambassadors, its agents and its CIA and NSA operators, here and abroad. The enemy is imperialism and its operators. We all know this. There are no longer any mysteries.

Examine what passes for Turkish foreign policy and weep for the nation. “Peace at home peace in the world?” Atatürk’s motto and Atatürk’s republic are in the hands of criminals and collaborators. And the same tired experts fill the already polluted airwaves with their stale ideas about the responsibility of citizens to vote. Citizens of what? A puppet state of America?  Vote for whom? Another imperialistic puppet? Vote for what? More of the same? Or worse?

 

GETTING STARTED

First, remember that the true objective is often not the field in plain sight but the sea beyond the mountains.

Second, say NO to this false election. If you feel you must vote, carry a pen with you and write the name, MUSTAFA KEMAL ATATÜRK, on your ballot. Sure, it invalidates your vote. But the election itself is invalid.

Third, say NO to these fraudulent and deceitful opposition parties. Surely they will collapse after this fiasco. This is good news and a first step towards solution.

Fourth, say NO to this state that so severely mistreats and insults over half the nation.

Fifth, immediately prepare to fight to save Atatürk’s republic, that is, prepare the field of engagement. Please note that there should be no violence nor will it be necessary to engage the enemy, that is, the imperialist powers and their agents, in any physical manner. We, like Atatürk, should choose where and how we fight.

 

ACTION PLAN

No religious designations on public documents, particularly identification cards. Immediately demonstrate to the enemy that religious designations will no longer be used for political purposes. Accordingly, and in conformance with European Union standards, immediately apply to have the religious designation removed from all Turkish ID cards. This is easily done. One visit to the population (Nüfus) office starts the process. The objective? To neutralize the enemy’s ability to divide Turkey into religious sects. To tell the wider world that the removal of religious designations by millions of Turks is a profound and dramatic step in the people’s battle against internal religious fascism and external imperialist ambitions. Suddenly, Turkey goes from being 99% Islamic in the eyes of the CIA to something dramatically less. Thus, notice is served that we want no part in a government or its supportive agencies and collaborators that use religion to support its own criminal behavior or the criminal behavior of foreign powers.

 No military service in support of imperialism or sectarian war crimes.Immediately file a petition with the European Commission of Human Rights that claims conscientious objection (C.O.) status for all young people of age for conscription into military service. The fact that conscientious objection is not legally recognized in Turkey is irrelevant to our purpose. Resistance to the imperialist powers and their puppets will be on all fronts and at all depths. A government that conspires with the Gülen Gang to destroy the Turkish military and then claims that a parallel state, that is, the same Gülen Gang, did it alone is not competent to claim the lives of Turkish young people to serve its dark designs. A government that allows, either wittingly or unwittingly, the catastrophic destruction of the state’s primary security force is either treasonous or incompetent. In either case, Turkish youth should not be cannon fodder for use by a government that has proven to be an enemy of the Turkish people.

 Boycott all mainstream propagandizing media. Avoid viewing all television programs and films that support the enemy. Avoid purchasing newspapers or journals that support the enemy.

 Boycott enemy products. Boycott all American product. Its role in the destruction of Turkish democracy and security is profound. Boycott the products of all manufacturers and distributors that deny advertising to media opposed to the government. This is prejudicial and undemocratic marketing behavior, driven solely to gain political favor. It has nothing to do with economics and is purely punitive.

 Do not engage in mass public protest. Are we angry? Yes! Are we at war? Yes! Are we stupid? No. So we don’t go into the streets. There is a better way. Let the enemy buy more TOMA monsters from that treacherous Turkish enterprise, Nurol Holding. And let imperialist America and cowardly Brazil sell more and more pepper gas to the Turkish police. Let it all rot in their bloody hands.

 Watch the political opposition parties collapse. Revealed by this phony presidential election to be non-representative and fraudulent to the people it claims to represent, the opposition parties will again try to re-invent themselves. This, too, will be a disaster. They have proven, once again, that they no longer represent a huge segment of the population, that is, the young people. And for that failure they will proceed, at last, to destroy themselves. From this collapse comes hope.

 Watch a new system emerge. The world is heading there whether the current ruling class likes it or not. Representational democracy represents one thing, money. Wealth is politics. Poverty, local and global, can never be solved by a political system that is a slave of business.  In a period of economic crisis, that is, 2008 to today, both the number and net worth of billionaires rose by almost 50%. At whose expense? Everyone else, in particular the poor. People are driven from their land. Resources are controlled by a small group of political and corporate elite. Politics is not representative of real people. How many people determined that Ekmelledin İhsanoğlu would be the candidate to represent the interests of those supporting the secular, democratic republic founded by Atatürk? One. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu. He knew best. A new system must come. But first the old one must self-destruct.

 Join hands.Who knows when this will happen? But we see the cracks appearing everywhere. The overwhelming arrogance that presented the Turkish people with a rigged, phony election should be the inciting incident that leads on to victory over the imperial powers now besieging Turkey. And remember, the enemy remains without a clue about the origin of and reasons for the Gezi Park movement, as do the opposition parties. A new generation of Turks must lead. Help them!

 

CONCLUSION

We are passing from the sphere of that historical time of Atatürk’s revolution against the forces of backwardness and imperialism. It’s youthful vigor while he lived gave great hope to the people. But it’s long-term, continuing debilitation after his death left the revolution incomplete and vulnerable. Dangerous flirtations with imperialist powers led to disastrous military coups. Hence now the current state of siege by imperial powers, aided by a treasonous government that has destroyed most aspects of secular democracy. This counter revolution will culminate with the rise to full presidential power of an obvious enemy of secular democracy, aided by the naïve treachery of the incompetent political opposition.

All of the democratic institutions of government have been spoiled by the religious-fascist meddling of the ruling party. The Turkish Army appears lost. Its generals bow their heads to political hacks. There are no longer secure borders. Vast regions in the east operate independently and with impunity. The government actively supports terrorist organizations inside and outside Turkey. The Turkish government lacks independent sovereignty. Foreign imperialist powers control the destiny of the Turkish people. All seems lost.

Still, there is a chance that this catastrophe will lead to the consolidation of a massive source of intelligent, patriotic political power long-ignored and long-suppressed. In a word, the relentless power of YOUTH. Impatient, honest, courageous, vigorous, this is the genuine vanguard of the fight to save secular Turkey. It is the future. The full flower of young manhood and young womanhood will sweep aside the political debris that so contaminated the legacy of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. We have seen the young people in action. And they were splendid.

Now is the time to show again how a great people, whose national course was considered finished, regained its independence. Now is the time to show how it recreated a national and modern State founded on the latest results of science. Now is the time to rid the land of imperialists and their agents.

Now is the time to engage the enemy on all fronts, domestic and foreign.

Enough is enough! Now is the time to fight!

Let it begin!

 

Cem Ryan

Istanbul

18 July 2014

http://www.brighteningglance.org/on-turkey.html

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REFERENCES:

Atatürk, The Great Speech (Nutuk), Atatürk Research Center, Ankara, 2005.

Atay, Falih Rıfkı. The Atatürk I Knew, Yapi ve Kredi Bankasi, Istanbul, 1973, p. 252.

Zileli, Ümit. Mustafa Kemal gibi düşünmek! (http://aydinlikgazete.com/yazarlar/umit-zileli/45846-umit-zileli-mustafa-kemal-gibi-dusunmek.html)

 

mka1

“There was never a man like Ataturk. He was a mighty torrent that flowed over barren soil and was lost.”

Falih Rıfkı Atay, The Atatürk I Knew, p. 252

 

But the Turk is both dignified and proud: he is also capable and talented. Such a nation would prefer to perish rather than subject itself to the life of a slave.

Therefore, Independence or Death!

This was the rallying cry of all those who honestly desired to save their country.

Let us suppose for a moment that in trying to accomplish this we had failed. What would have been the result?—why, slavery!

 In that case, would not the consequence have been the same if we had submitted to the other proposals? Undoubtedly, it would; but with this difference, that a nation that defies death in its struggle for independence derives comfort from the thought that it had resolved to make every sacrifice compatible with human dignity. There is no doubt its position is more respected than would be that of a craven and degraded nation capable of surrendering itself to the yoke of slavery.

 Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, The Great Speech (Nutuk) p. 10

 

 

 

The Failed Autocrat

Despite Erdogan’s Ruthlessness, Turkey’s Democracy Is Still on Track

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Turkey’s Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan attends a meeting in Ankara on May 19, 2014. (Courtesy Reuters)

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan was once the darling of the international community, but no more. He is still sometimes praised for stewarding Turkey through impressive economic growth, defanging a Turkish military establishment with a long history of meddling in national politics, and initiating a promising peace process with the country’s restive Kurdish population. But Erdogan’s achievements are now shadowed by his undeniable lurch toward autocracy. Over the last year, he has initiated a harsh crackdown against peaceful protesters, political opponents, and independent media outlets. (According to the Committee to Protect Journalists, at one point, the number of journalists jailed in Turkey even exceeded the number in Iran and China.)

The worst developments of all began last December. That was when, in order to quell a perceived threat from an erstwhile ally, the U.S.-based Muslim cleric Fethullah Gülen, Erdogan fired thousands of prosecutors, judges, and policemen, imposed bans on Twitter and YouTube, intensified the government’s already stifling control over the judiciary, and gave the intelligence services more latitude to monitor Turkish citizens. That the Turkish electorate didn’t seem to care much about the heavy-handed repression and the wholesale gutting of judicial institutions added a degree of farce to the tragedy. The Justice and Development Party (AKP), Erdogan’s party, won 43 percent of the vote in the March 28 municipal election, exceeding the 39 percent it received in the previous municipal election, though falling short of the almost 50 percent it won in the last national elections. It all seemed to confirm that, contrary to what many international observers once believed, Turkey was headed away from, not toward, democracy and the rule of law.

But that that would be the wrong way to read this latest chapter of Turkish history. Turkey is in the middle of a difficult process of institutional rebalancing, in which key political and social institutions have been shifting their allegiances away from the military and the large urban-based economic interests that have long dominated Turkish politics. In the absence of independent judicial organizations and an organized civil society, the risk has always been great that any politicians who took power during this turbulent time would abuse it. In other words, Erdogan’s drift from democracy is a lamentable, but almost predictable, stage of Turkey’s democratic transition. If Turkey is to eventually become a democracy, there is no way to avoid the occasionally painful process of making the country’s institutions more inclusive — a process that the country has shown no signs of abandoning.

FROM THE OTTOMANS TO ATATURK

To understand the need for institutional rebalancing, one needs to first understand how the roots of Turkey’s present institutions began in the Ottoman Empire. The reach of the Ottoman state was limited in many ways, but the effective political power that did exist — organized mainly around military conquest and expansion — was concentrated in the hands of a narrow bureaucratic and military elite.

Apart from the elite stood the reaya, meaning “the flock.” As economic actors, these Ottoman subjects had few rights and even fewer options for political participation. Limited private-property rights prevented the emergence of economically independent landholders and merchants. And social institutions were structured so as to minimize constraints on the sultan’s and the central state’s power. Islamic law is supposed to allow for a religious-legal establishment, the ulema, that would constrain rulers. But the Ottoman Empire integrated the ulema into the state bureaucracy. The sultan, then, was also the most powerful representative of religious power.

Despite many attempts at reform during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Turkish rulers’ hold on the bureaucracy and the judiciary never truly relaxed. The reason was simple: the reforms weren’t intended to have that effect. The Ottoman reformers, hailing mostly from the military, were interested not in sharing power with non-elites but in strengthening the state’s existing institutions, domestically and internationally, in the face of financial, economic, and military crises. It is telling that the would-be reformers, from the later infamous Committee for Union and Progress, who organized a watershed uprising against the sultan in 1908, didn’t make a serious attempt to co-opt an existing grassroots movement opposed to the government, but instead relied on backers in the military. Once in power, these “revolutionaries” immediately turned against anyone who they thought opposed them.

The Turkish Republic was officially founded in 1923, by another group of young military officers, with Mustafa Kemal (later called Atatürk, “the great Turk”) at the helm. The Turkish Republic marked a more radical departure from the Ottoman Empire. The new rulers abolished the monarchy, modernized state bureaucracy, regulated religion, which they saw as an obstacle to their plans, and intended to industrialize Turkey. But one aspect of the Ottoman order was never challenged: state institutions and the bureaucracy remained under the command of the ruling elite, now the upper cadre of Atatürk’s Republican People’s Party (CHP). Once again, the elite felt that there was little need for broad-based support. In fact, Atatürk’s reforms were intended to be imposed forcefully on a population that was presumed, rightly, to be opposed to many of them.

The military and political dominance of the CHP, and the party’s willingness to use robust force if necessary, allowed the Kemalist project to succeed under one-party rule until the end of World War II. But cracks were appearing. In 1946, the Democratic Party (DP) was founded by former members of the CHP, who hoped to benefit from public discontent over the CHP’s heavy-handed rule. In 1950, when the DP swept to power with a landslide election victory, many of its deputies, and certainly its supporters, hailed from provincial cities and rural areas and had backgrounds in small-scale commerce outside the purview of the state. (This contrasted with the bureaucratic or military background of the majority of the CHP deputies.)

THE AKP REVOLUTION

On May 27, 1960, Turkey woke up to the first of many military coups, putting an end to its nascent experiment with democracy. The military swiftly moved to hang Adnan Menderes, the leader of the DP.

The next 40 years brought many new political actors to the Turkish scene, including a panoply of leftist groups bent on the overthrow of the state. But the divide between the more statist CHP and the more religious parties (which picked up the DP’s mantle) remained a constant, even as the latter agreed to work with the military and generally refrained from challenging the core precepts of the Kemalist state (and, in some instances, forged even better ties with existing business elites).

It was the AKP that most faithfully, and effectively, copied the DP’s formula of religious populism mixed with free-market economics. When the AKP emerged victorious in the 2002 parliamentary elections, the battle lines with the Kemalist elite were already drawn. In April 2007, after the party gained control of the presidency, the military — which had moved against three other elected governments between 1960 and 2002 — posted a memorandum on its website threatening a coup against the AKP government. Ominously, the Constitutional Court started proceedings to shut down the AKP, because its religious outlook was allegedly in violation of Atatürk’s constitution.

But 2007 was not 1960. It wasn’t just that the AKP had deeper social networks, especially in municipalities run by its predecessor, the Welfare Party. It had also taken control of large parts of the bureaucracy and the police. Meanwhile, the military’s status within Turkish society was at an all-time low. This time, the Kemalists lost, in part because the Turkish public refused to abide the generals’ meddling. Power had successfully shifted away from Kemalist elite to a party with support from the majority of Turks, including much of the population of provincial cities and the rural heartland.

But in terms of building a true democracy, it was never going to be enough to simply loosen the Kemalist elite’s grip on existing state institutions. The institutions themselves needed to become more inclusive. Unfortunately, the AKP — in the absence of any concerted pressure from Turkey’s still feeble civil society — concentrated instead on building a political monopoly of its own. Rather than strengthening independent institutions, AKP elites set out to seize control of the state bureaucracy, the police, and the judiciary, and then tried to use those institutions for the party’s own ends. This mimicked the pattern of political development in many postcolonial societies, where new political leaders swiftly seized decisive control of the state after the colonial powers departed in a hurry. And, like those predecessors, Erdogan has not shied from flaunting his power.

Far from trying to overcome the polarization of the Kemalist era, Erdogan has cleverly decided to tap into it. He has declared that Turkey is still in the midst of an existential struggle between Black Turks (the disempowered, less educated, more conservative masses) and White Turks (the Kemalist, educated, Westernized elites). “Your brother Tayyip,” he has declared, “belongs to the Black Turks.”

The problem with this rhetoric is that, because it is half true, it resonates with the public and polarizes it further. This became quite clear last summer, when Erdogan successfully masked his repression of peaceful protests as a necessary step in the struggle of Black Turks against White Turks, and then again during this year’s municipal elections. In each instance, the strategy paid off for the AKP, not only because it cemented Erdogan’s popularity among his core supporters but also because the rhetoric became self-fulfilling. The outcome is that Turkey’s state and civil institutions, caught in this seemingly existential standoff, have failed to become any more inclusive.

NO TURNING BACK

Despite creeping authoritarianism and polarization in Turkish politics, one shouldn’t despair. From a democratic perspective, things were worse under the Kemalist elite (especially after the 1980 military coup), when Turkish society was largely depoliticized. Facing military rule allied with big business, most potential opposition forces offered no resistance. The AKP is in the midst of a very different situation today. Indeed, the party planted the seeds of its own undoing when it mobilized Turkish civil society in its initial rise to power. Even Erdogan, in his early years in government, encouraged open dialogue in society, if only to obliterate some of the red lines (on Kurds, minorities, the role of the military in society, and religious freedom, at least for his Sunni supporters) previously imposed by the Kemalist elite.

The AKP can try to mimic its Kemalist predecessors, but Turkish society is unlikely to be as pliant as it was in earlier years. Not only is the country’s urban youth more liberal, more independent, and more informed than ever before — Turkey is among the top users of both Facebook and Twitter — but also, the protests last summer made clear, it is thirstier for political participation and democracy. The judiciary, taking its cues from Turkey’s newly awakening civil society, is also no longer content to be a pushover. The Constitutional Court has struck down some of the AKP’s more repressive laws and decrees. It is important to note that, in making these interventions, the Constitutional Court has not been speaking on behalf of the military-bureaucratic elite (as was its role under the CHP), but for a broader segment of the population, and thus for the rule of law and inclusive political institutions.

Although Erdogan’s support among the urban and rural poor and large segments of the middle class seems solid today, it is predicated on continued economic growth and the delivery of public services to the underprivileged. Erdogan’s joy ride is over if the economy heads south (and it could — Turkey’s growth over the past six years has depended on unsustainable levels of domestic consumption and trade deficits). In that case, the opposition is likely to broaden and, having learned from experience with the AKP, will eventually begin to demand institutions that fairly represent the country as a whole.

This is not to suggest that the recent slide in Turkish governance should be viewed through rose-colored glasses. The AKP continues to repress any opposition and will surely try to gag the Constitutional Court. But the party’s efforts to monopolize power should not surprise in historical context. More than 50 years on, the process of building inclusive political institutions in many postcolonial societies is still ongoing. And it took France more than 80 years to build the Third Republic after the collapse of the monarchy in 1789.

Institutional rebalancing was never going to be a painless, easy process. For the AKP to eventually fail in its attempts to monopolize power, ordinary people and civil society will have to protest loudly. Politics has long been an elite sport in Turkey, and the elite — whether military, bureaucratic, big business, or the AKP — have looked after their own interests, not the people’s. This will change only when politics encompasses a broader segment of society. The silver lining to the current trouble is that Turkey has already taken some important steps toward doing just that.