In one of these camps was a group that believed everything represented by the Justice and Development Party (AKP) was fundamentalism and its activities were a threat to the gains of the republican regime. Opposed to this group, which describe itself as “Atatürkist” and neo-nationalist (secular nationalist), the other camp included democrats who stressed that what is called the gains of the republican regime represent a top-down government (state-controlled) model, that this reserves little room for freedom and initiative of the individual and society, and that this sphere is not sufficient for the consolidation of democracy.
Democrats and others
The second camp extended support to the AKP, which managed to receive enough votes to pass legislation on its own and form a single-party government, in its struggle against the first group of actors, who have up until recently interfered with the legislation and the judiciary and placed the state before the will of the nation.
The only concern of the democrats has been to save the country from authoritarian and repressive central rule, maintain the rule of law and prevent the domination of bureaucracy over science, culture and economy. They will support the AKP government as long as it takes steps towards this end. They believe that the goal frequently cited by the first group of actors for the achievement of contemporary standards of civilization will actually materialize. Despite the fact that the AKP has sometimes been reluctant to introduce further reforms, they have raised their voices in the name of democracy, justice and freedom.
Maybe the democrats outnumber the others, but only a few of them have always made their voices heard. We understand from the number of those who raised their demands for equality and justice with regard to the most recent match-rigging controversy that we have a lot to do before becoming a state governed by the rule of law. Who should take the lead in this respect? First are the politicians. Politics is not done to maximize the interests and benefits of the party hierarchy alone. Why then were we opposed to the rule of the military relying on the order and chain of command? Without such noble concepts and notions as equality, justice and the rule of law, politics is all about harmony and conflict of interest.
The match-rigging bill is a poison ivy that converts sports from being about competition into being about gambling. It prevents the sporting world from making progress and the country from gaining respect in the international arena. It also prevents the youth from embracing the principles of sportsmanship. It makes them pawns on a chessboard. Football and other collective sports have fallen under the control of illegal enterprises. The money in circulation can buy officials and decision makers and further corrupts the whole system.
Political harmony and coherence?
Changing the bill that was introduced to address these problems after seven months is not a politically correct attitude to take. If the punishments are disproportional, and they are, this should have been considered at the beginning. The public will ask, “Where were you?” The fact that the president’s request for Parliament to reconsider the case was not taken into account is another mistake. Some changes that would bring relief to the people’s conscience and make the politicians seem respectable could have been drafted.
More importantly, why did the democrats support this government? They did so because they believed it would introduce structural changes that would prevent the intervention of the judiciary and politics in their respective fields and spheres by offering new arrangements consistent with the principle of the separation of powers. However, with the recent initiative, the legislation has interfered with the judiciary, displaying an unfortunate example of how judicial criteria are determined by politics.
How about the opposition? The opposition parties that have seen no problem in preventing many beneficial initiatives have agreed on the decision which makes match rigging an ordinary part of our social life. Will they display the same attitude of harmony when drafting a democratic constitution that will consolidate the rule of law? We will be happy if they surprise us.