May 20, 2011, Friday

Why is this government not getting frazzled? (2)

It appears that recent violent events have managed to completely paralyze the government. It also appears that military operations are not being framed within a system functioning under government control.

The lower ranks of the military are carrying out commands from above in a notably “relaxed” and somewhat “elasticized” manner. At the helm of these lower units of the military is someone who is known for his allegiances not only to certain Ergenekon suspects, but also to the “plan to finish off the AK Party and Gülen,” which was revealed over the course of the Ergenekon investigation.

What’s more, there are completely unpersuasive official statements concerning the actions being taken by both the military and the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), as well as signals that both sides were aware in advance before these actions even took place. It is not hard at all to imagine that these are some sort of election strategy and that they took place with the implicit permission of the PKK. Because ultimately, an atmosphere of violence and clashes will work to increase votes for the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the pro-Kurdish Peace and Democracy Party (BDP), but will work against the AK Party. And in the meantime, this is precisely what the MHP needs these days. To wit, Bahçeli’s speech in which he targeted Gülen, placing him, Erdoğan and Öcalan all in the same category, indicated that the MHP has lost its classic bedrock of voters to the AK Party already. This being the situation, if the MHP actually wants to transcend the voting threshold, it has no other choice than to try and pick up more votes from serious nationalists as well as to whip up more anti-Kurdish feelings.

The above-mentioned are all signs that various wings of the opposition will continue to try to corner and pressure the ruling party as we head towards general elections. In short, all political parties and nationalist organizations are united in a front against the current government. No doubt this is, for them, some sort of life-or-death struggle. Because if the AK Party, despite everything going against it, manages to grab nearly 50 percent of the nation’s vote, it will become truly difficult for various factions to stop short or try to manipulate the quest for a civilian constitution. And what this will bring about from the AK Party is an alternative to Kemalist ideology, with a legitimate foundation for the state that is universally accepted. In the wake of the civilian constitution, during the period when the other parties have the need to gather their wits and their ideas, the AK Party will gain many more points and there can be little doubt that it will go on to take at least one more election victory. So the new constitution really is of vital importance for the AK Party, and it is also of a critical nature when it comes to a strategy for the party’s future.

There is probably nowhere else in the world that a political party can stay in power for two terms, and, despite the failure to solve a number of issues, actually manage to increase the number of votes it gets. But this is the situation in Turkey, because the AK Party is still not the real power. It still represents societal opposition and continues to be the carrier of demands for change and freedom.

Previous articles of the columnist