[email protected]

April 03, 2007, Tuesday


When it comes to defining problems in the Turkish political structure, we can say many things: half democratic, partly “hypocritical” mostly “nepocratic” and to a certain extent “corruptic” and “always-me-ocratic.”I would like to add one also: “machocratic.”

Before going further, I must note that I believe that generalizations and stereotyping of events and ideas cannot lead us anywhere. So, dear reader, while reading this article you should know that even the author is putting some reserves knowing that when it comes to generalizing the behaviors of men and women, there are always be exceptions. There might be huge differences according to cultures, but still here in Turkey and also in the “civilized world,” there is a problem of “macho-ocracy” in the political structure, but with some variations.

It is easy to recognize machocratic regimes: they lack the ability to compromise but they instead make others accept their ideas, this way or that way, sometimes using force. They tend to insult everyone who doesn’t think exactly the same way they do; they concentrate solely on the visible situation, neglecting the reasons behind it; they run after power of all kinds but despise pluralism; they are human-oriented, but they favor some invisible and not clearly definable “ideologies” and they think and act for short-term, not long-term, improvements.

Instead of listening, they shout methodically. They avoid mentioning their emotions as they are ashamed of having them, especially those feelings or expressions that are considered soft, like crying, affiliation, tenderness and so on. They also think that everything has clear and well-defined borders, neglecting the fact that public and private spheres are actually interwoven, but not totally separate.

I don’t mean that these habits belong to men. What I mean is that these are products of a male-dominated culture. I know also a lot of women who fit very well into this definition and many men who don’t.

This macho-ocracy that I am talking about is applicable not only to politics, but also to other platforms: working life, schools or in any organization.

There are many reasons for the virtual invisibility of women in Turkish politics. The political structure is designed by men and for men. Like in any other profession, female politicians have to fulfill the requirements of politics, take care of their families and develop policies for women all at the same time. So when we compare their jobs as politicians to their male counterparts they have to handle three times the work.

There is also another reason: it is very difficult to exist as a female or with a female culture within this machocratic infrastructure. If you look at the “successful” women in politics, you will notice that their “success” is as big as their adaptation to these machocratic values.

This macho-ocracy will not lead us anywhere but into further problems.

Almost everyone agrees on one thing: 2007 will be a difficult and decisive year. The situation in Kirkuk and its domino effect will be clear this year, and the presidential and parliamentary elections will be held. Tough days are awaiting us.

Keeping machoism will not be beneficial under these circumstances -- actually under any circumstances. So there needs to be a change for the good.

And this goodness is called “female-ocracy.”

Previous articles of the columnist