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May 23, 2007, Wednesday

New political design and July 22 elections

When we look at what has happened in the recent weeks in Turkey’s political scene, its becoming clear that the July 22 elections will be much different than the previous ones.We can even liken these elections, and what has recently happened, to the process that takes place after coups, where politics is uprooted and redesigned.  

What makes July 22 important is the deep curiosity as to what this new political design will result in. This curiosity is shared by the people and those who put their signatures on the new design. Whether this design, which totally disregards the people, will produce any result in favor of the designers will be decided on July 22 by the people. This makes the elections even more interesting.

The importance attributed to the elections, which will play a critical role in determining the next president, is far bigger than what would be normally attributed to a parliamentary election. This must be why some are trying to steer politics in a new direction, both through the means of the past (direct military interventions) and through new and advanced instruments. These efforts revealed themselves in the e-memo, the Constitutional Court’s decision on the 367 quorum and the Republic Rallies, which had been claimed to be spontaneous but were found to have been carefully orchestrated.  

Although the method employed this time has some differences, it has not escaped our notice that the people behind it are the same. Those who took the presidential elections to the Constitutional Court, those who influenced the court with a midnight e-memo and those who arranged for hundreds of thousands to take to the streets and who marketed them as if they represented 72 million are all from the same background and have the same mindset.

These groups organize mass meetings under the pretense of a democratic reaction, while functioning as “midwives” in mergers on both the right and the left. The only thing they aspire to is being able to form an alliance of “others” against the AK Party before or after the elections at any cost. And to this end, the mergers that once seemed impossible are being realized at a great and artificial speed.

The True Path Party (DYP) and the Motherland Party (ANAVATAN), which were on bad terms with each other, merged on the right, and the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Democratic Left Party (DSP), which were also on bad terms with each other, merged on the left. Both mergers were the results of a “miracle.” These merged parties are now trying to take other small parties on board, such as the Grand Unity Party (BBP) and the Youth Party (GP).

While politics is being redesigned at the party level, there are also developments that will change established practice at the politicians’ level. It must again be due to its fear of the AK Party that the CHP is using figures from the center right, such as İlhan Kesici from Demirel’s large family, who was never mentioned as a leftist in his past. On the other hand, long-time leftist Ertuğrul Günay is joining the AK Party, which he declares to be the new center of the left.

CHP leader Baykal previously nominated similar people from CHP lists, and even developed a motto respectful toward national values that would embrace those candidates. He received the votes he had targeted with the help of these people, and the moment he entered Parliament he sought ways of purging them. It is clear that Baykal, who is unsuccessful in nearly all fields but sparking crises, has found another skill: wasting people. Let’s look at these names that joined the CHP and then left because of Baykal’s egocentrism:

Kemal Derviş, who is the current president of the UN Development Program (UNDP); Zülfü Livaneli, who left the CHP and is now independent; Yaşar Nuri Öztürk, who left the CHP and founded the People’s Ascent Party (HYP); Şişli Mayor Mustafa Sarıgül, who was expelled because he ran for the CHP’s presidency against Baykal; former CHP Secretary-General Ertuğrul Günay, who was also expelled by Baykal because he tried to unite the left under Ecevit’s presidency; Murat Karayalçın, who is now the leader of the Social Democratic People’s Party (SHP); former CHP leader Aydın Güven Gürkan, who was viewed by Baykal as a rival; Ercan Karakaş and finally former diplomat İnal Batu, who was no longer able to put up with Baykal’s repressive mindset.

Baykal sidelined or expelled many important figures such as Karayalçın, Karakaş, Gürkan and Günay and is now embracing the trump card of Kesici to no avail. But what he doesn’t know is that he is further wounding both himself and Kesici.

In addition, the General Staff cancelled the annual leave of its 100,000 officers scheduled for the week that includes July 22 to be able to make all of them vote (assuming that all of the officers and their families will vote for the CHP). Also, the closing of all the military holiday camps and the suspension of all appointments to be made on that date gives us an idea as to what underlies the new political design.

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