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November 25, 2012, Sunday

How will Sept. 12 trial end?

Turkey is trying to hold the Sept. 12 trials. The public is preoccupied by what the two major actors of the coup, retired Gen. Kenan Evren and former Turkish Air Force commander Tahsin Şahinkaya, might say.

It was important to get to this phase, no matter what. The Sept. 12 constitutional amendment referendum in 2010 enabled Turkey to confront a history of coups and initiate a trial to do so. In fact, the problem goes beyond whether the two prominent figures of the coup give their statements in the court or forward the statements through teleconferencing. While we discuss the civilian constitution or presidential system, a number of laws and statutes made by the military administration in the aftermath of the Sept. 12 coup, as well as the constitution that promotes military guardianship, are still in effect. Turkey is still being governed by laws and statutes drafted in line with references to this guardianship.

All political parties, including the Justice and Development Party (AK Party) in government, have to show some sensitivity and activity on finding how to get rid of the specter of this Sept. 12. The Republican People’s Party (CHP), which asks for amendments to the Sept. 12 laws, but also extends frequent support to the pro-guardianship and pro-junta regulations and designs, has to review its overall stance. It is also not possible that the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is strongly opposed to revoking the Sept. 12 laws, which have visibly harmed nationalist groups in the past.

While the AK Party is aware that it is in power and no longer a victim -- an understanding it implies in some of its political actions -- the party has failed to make a substantial and serious move when it comes to Sept. 12. The Law on Political Parties, a product of the Sept. 12 mindset, which renders ineffective internal regulating mechanisms within political parties, does not bother the AK Party at all. The people had the right to expect the party’s disposition in favor of the “powerful” -- as has been shown in respect to the MİT Law, the Law of the Court of Accounts and the bill on match-rigging -- in the matter of amending the Sept. 12 laws as well. It may seem beneficial and proper to carry out politics in favor of powerful actors and institutions without dealing with the laws and statutes that are the spirit of Sept. 12. But it is not sufficient for the AK Party to simply administer the course of change and use the social benefits and gains for a more powerful administration in place of a more democratic political approach. Rather, more powerful politics entail greater democratic governance and a more pluralistic system of representation.

Legitimizing and justifying the “steel cage” that has been indirectly imposed upon the people and state by Sept. 12 and misleading the people by superficial reforms that don’t deal with the true substance does nothing but waste energy on politics. Speaking on the recent state of affairs in an interview, Professor Nilüfer Göle, a sociologist, says: “In order to live together, plots should be aborted. The tension, doubts, hatred and enmity between different groups I noticed in my recent travels to Turkey over the last two years terrified me. I see great degeneration in public codes of behavior and the relations between the people. Fear and lack of love undermines democracy,” (Milliyet, Nov. 19, 2012).

The Sept. 12 coup was a power game staged by those who wanted to design a society of fear by relying on authority alone and referring to power as the main motivation. If you internalize and overlook the Sept. 12 laws, the state of lovelessness will undermine democracy and the possibility of representation. Do not be played by the Sept. 12 specter; be the one who aborts this plot.

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