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April 18, 2012, Wednesday

Why is the CHP a hopeless case? (1)

We are experiencing a historic time wherein the actors behind the Feb. 28 and Sept. 12 coups are being brought to court. Because almost all of the people of Turkey are either directly affected or victims of these coups, they have supported the nation’s shaking off of the deep state over the last decade. It cannot be forgotten that these historic lawsuits could be opened only thanks to the critical Ergenekon and the Sledgehammer (Balyoz) cases.

The democratic spirit that was consistently against the coups in Turkey, which allied with the direction confronting the deep state, is making history. Developments that would have been described as frightening for the average Turks five years ago have today become normal occurrences. Today’s trial of the generals behind Feb. 28 is possible thanks to the efforts exerted by a democratic ally. I would like to engage in a little bit of positive discrimination here by making a special note of my editor-in-chief at the Taraf daily, Ahmet Altan, and my friend Mehmet Baransu, who wrote about the coup plans that constitute most of the content of today’s case topic. Many people put their own lives on the line and began a rebellion against this base system.

Since there is information that there was serious capital and media support behind the military tutelage system, we had envisaged that this period would be tumultuous. The dragon had been caught by its tail; however, there was a deep-rooted tradition behind it dating back to the Jacobean establishment of the republic and even the bloody coup ideology of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP) in 1913. They were still as influential in politics, capital and the media as they were in the military. As recently as Feb. 28, 1997, it was evident how a combination of the military-media and the business world in collaboration with statist, corrupt politics was able to topple a government. The Justice and Development Party (AK Party), through a powerful reaction of the people, won power in 2002, and even though the divide between the government and those in actual power was increasingly narrowing, it was sure to be a tough struggle.

Due to the portion of society that voted for this party, the Republican People’s Party (CHP) finds itself in a troubled period. We are now in a reform period under the leadership of a religious party (AK Party). Here it is necessary to not lump together the CHP leadership and those that voted for the party. Since the CHP, during its history -- excluding the 1970s under the leadership of the late Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit -- always sees itself as a coup-producing Enverist-Kemalist party, it did not bother to achieve power through winning the support of the people because it was already in power. Elections took place, everyone played their part, but like the governments that were elected by each municipality, they went further and sustained a reactionary regime by kowtowing to the military. The CHP’s Kemalist bureaucracy and the privileged group that was created by it and represented by it in Parliament was enough; there was no need to try and reach other types of citizens.

The CHP never wavered from this line. While constantly taking a beating in the battle with the AK Party in 2003-2004 when the coup plans failed to work, they thought to focus on politics. But they did not want to come face-to-face with their dark past, and to be disingenuous they tried to be “political” by provoking class fears, drawing on its urban base’s fears of the AK Party. Of course because of the Ergenekon case’s attempt at purging the deep state, the Balyoz case and the Sept. 12 and Feb. 28 coup cases must be attacked head on. In fact a substantial portion of its own base wishes for this confrontation with the past, but with the CHP reawakening the fears of its supporters and muddying its essence as a party, it cannot help but remain at odds with the people.

The deep-state powers decided -- all the while explaining that there would not be an economic crisis -- that there are a number of things they desire; in addition to destabilizing Turkey and a coup, the only way to shake the AK Party from power is to strengthen the CHP. They snared CHP leader Deniz Baykal, the star of the status quo, with a sex tape, instead giving their support to Kemal Kılıçaroğlu. With the Kılıçaroğlu operation -- there was no better candidate available -- the party’s tutelage supporters, coup planners and totalitarians acted as if they had changed, but it was only cosmetic. They plan to take power through opportunities presented by economic crises, earthquakes or violent war with the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

But there is much left to say. Let us continue on Saturday.

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