Turkey is going through a big operation called change. Phrases such as settling accounts, confronting the past or seeking revenge are not enough to explain this operation.
Prejudicial approaches or efforts to discredit the heart of the matter will also be futile.
This is a decisive moment in history. It is enough to peer through the news stories of just one day. The developments concerning Syria, with which we have the longest common border, are like the calm before the storm. There is a talk about a new era in counter-terrorism. The cases against the efforts to manipulate several judicial processes, as well as against Ergenekon, a clandestine organization nested within the state trying to overthrow or manipulate the democratically elected government, the Sledgehammer (Balyoz) coup plan, and the anti-government Internet campaign spearheaded by the military are underway. A former Chief of General Staff is standing trial. There are dozens of generals and admirals in jail. People are still working for the new constitution amid ongoing uncertainties and concerns. In the field of education, the government and the opposition are fighting fiercely concerning the recent government effort to change the education system, commonly referred to as the “4+4+4” system. All of these developments are truly indicative of the throes for change.
Change is bothering the status quo, its owners and guards. This should be expected since they are losing their power, statuses and positions. Therefore, their urge to resist change should not be surprising.
There are a number of parties involved in the change. The first party is the status quo. It is the military regime. Supporters of this regime have unexpectedly found themselves on different grounds. They thought that no one could call them to account for their deeds. They came to believe their actions were unquestionable. Now, they cannot accept the change and they want to believe it is transient. They have their rages, sentiments, reactions, surprises and recklessness. All of these are visible in the media organs which can be considered to be under the tutelage of the military, and in fact the politicians too are under the tutelage of the same regime.
The other party to the change is the large segment of society that seeks democracy in place of tutelage. It is enough to have a look at the results of the referendum held on September 12, 2010 to determine if their demands are concrete and how determined they are to promote those demands. The approval of the constitutional amendments with 58 percent of the nation saying “yes” to them can be considered as the most significant event in the country’s democratic progress. The hero of this victory is the sensible majority of Turkey. The ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is one of the major actors that show the political willpower to act in accordance to the demands of this majority. The alternative media organizations including Zaman represent another major actor.
These two major actors have important responsibilities particularly at a time when the tide of change is rising quickly. The first is about using proper style, wording, and procedure. The second is about being determined not to deviate from the target. By using proper style and procedure, I mean: The media under the tutelage of the military have been resorting to ingenious methods and making moves one after another to discredit the cases against coup attempts. They are trying to confuse people’s minds. They use every opportunity, and everything available to them. Their intention is to perplex the minds of 40 percent of the public in order to carve up additional support.
At this point, we should use proper language to remind these people of the facts of the case. When they try to cover up the role of the military in the Sivas massacre, we should remind them of the position of politicians and the responsibilities of the military, the police and the governor at that time. And this was done this year. When they try to confuse the minds of people, saying, “The CDs are fabricated,” in the case against the Sledgehammer coup plan, we should provide the evidence for how they were “updated.” This is what Mehmet Baransu has been doing for several days in Taraf newspaper.
As for the determination to pursue our targets: The supporters of the military have many tricks up to their sleeves. They also garner professional support from some international powers. We should never forget that Turkey’s internal issues are also its external issues. Moreover, if Turkey becomes stronger as a result of democratization, this will bother many powers. Accordingly, their primary goal is to weaken the pro-democratization camp from inside. Beware: it is a plot within a plot. Our target is evident: to live peacefully with all ethnicities in a democratic and stable Turkey.