Centers and circles of power that fail to understand or accept the transition from guardianship to democracy, from old Turkey to new Turkey -- in other words, the great transformation -- are now trying new methods of stalling the process. There are signs they want to make football an arena for assault, aggression or enmity.
What is the reason for such attempts? They are doing this because they want to appeal to millions of fans. Their only requirement is that their team wins. Paradigms and emotions are fairly different in this arena. Most of these fans tend to hear remarks and convictions in support of their teams rather than the truth. I have a friend who falls into this category. Even though he is known for his insightful analyses of serious matters and issues, he becomes a different man when it comes to his team. While he is fair and just in general, he takes on a whole different attitude when it comes to the team he supports. In that case, he forgets all noble notions, including justice and the law.
I attempted to criticize him one day. He told me this is how it is to be the fan of a team. He gave me an example: “For instance, our player made an illegal goal and the referee did not see it. I would not object to this. I would even argue that it was perfectly legal because it was our goal.” I am talking about such an arena where even the wisest men can become quite different. The pro-guardianship actors who are trying to shape society have decided to use this arena.
There have been three phases in the practices of this mentality and approach that have sought to assault this nation and its values and sustain the guardianship regime by presenting them as threats. Until the 1950s, the people had suffered from the brutal practices of the single-party administration. The people of this mentality did not like the transition to democracy, which was imposed by external actors in 1950, as it could be detrimental to their goals. And, actually, this has been the case. When the Democrat Party (DP) came to power in 1950, they were displeased. They were particularly upset when the azan, the call to prayer, was changed to Arabic, its original language. Did not former Chief of General Staff Gen. İsmail Hakkı Karadayı, the mighty general of the Feb. 28, 1997 postmodern coup process, say recently in a statement to the parliamentary commission of inquiry into the coups that former Prime Minister Adnan Menderes’ biggest mistake was to change the azan into its original language?
Karadayı’s close relatives observe their daily religious practices and they are pleased with the current language of the azan. Karadayı actually did not make this criticism to imply that if the azan was changed to Turkish they would attend mosques to observe their religious rituals. He meant that Menderes defied their rule and paid heed to Islam.
Out of rage, the pro-guardianship actors declared Islam a threat and called those who defended religious rights fundamentalists and enemies of the republican regime. They promoted a fear of Islam and fundamentalism by reliance on the media, universities and judiciary. They viewed and labeled people who gathered around to discuss religious matters traitors and criminals. Article 163 of the Turkish Penal Code (TCK) was used as a sort of guillotine. Nationalists who paid heed to religious values were declared dangerous.
Most recently, in the Feb. 28 process, they transformed this fear of fundamentalism into enmity towards the headscarf. They publicly stated: “There are so many of religious schools. In a decade, the party supported by the graduates of these schools will come to power.”
And they started to mess with the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) when it came to power. They feared economic chaos; for this reason, rather than dissolving it completely, they declared the party a circle of anti-secularist activity. When the people extended huge support to the expansion of the sphere of democratization and freedoms in the Sept. 12, 2010 referendum, and when the AK Party received 50 percent of the vote in the elections, they decided to carry out a social engineering project of enmity towards the Gülen movement. They first drafted a plan to undermine the AK Party and Gülen movement. When it failed, they relied on other tactics. Now, they may create enmity towards the Gülen movement through the arena of football.
This plan will not work, however, because there the old Turkey is no longer. The actors relying on guardianship are taking the field, but there is a new Turkey, equipped with a new political approach, new economic, cultural and social layers and new potential.