This meeting was between Turkish NGO leaders and the secretary-general. Like everyone at the table, I myself made an analysis of the current situation in Turkey. Since I have already shared this analysis in some other places as well, I do not think reiterating here my remarks to Mr. Secretary-General would be against the spirit of the meeting.
My analysis was as follows. In Turkey, one of the biggest problems we have in political life is the lack of a democratic opposition. We have a conservative government which has carried out the most advanced reforms that Turkey has ever seen. When they were doing so, they never got any help or support from the opposition. On the contrary, the opposition parties have always dragged their feet to stop whatever the government was doing in the positive direction. Therefore, there is a desperate need for a democratic opposition which pressures this government to undertake more reforms and to widen the scope of reforms. This gap of democratic opposition so far has only been filled by the European Union and European countries. They were the ones which pressured this government to undertake further reforms. However, this outside pressure has been in significant slowdown in recent years. So here we come to a dead end, the only reformist power in the country has almost completely stopped and the EU and European institutions have stopped exerting pressure for further reforms. We have lost momentum all together. As I have done in my other meetings with European authorities, I also requested that the secretary-general exert pressure on the government to urge them to continue reforms for further democratization and advancing human rights.
Having talked to the secretary-general about the lack of democratic opposition, the following day I read news coverage about an interesting “attempt” by the opposition party’s local politicians. You may have heard about it, during the last meeting to commemorate the anniversary of the murder of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrant Dink, some demonstrators changed the name of a street to Hrant Dink Street. It was quite a nice gesture by the demonstrators, who covered a street sign with the word “Ergenekon” written on it with a sign with “Hrant Dink” written on it. It was probably this act which inspired some members of the İstanbul Municipal Assembly to propose changing the name of Ergenekon Street to Hrant Dink Street. The proposal was put forward by members of the Republican People’s Party (CHP), which, at the national level and in Parliament, is the most fervent supporter of the status quo and antidemocratic structures.
The proposal was put forward by Özgen Nama, who is a member of the İstanbul Municipal Assembly. He is from the CHP. Mr. Nama’s proposal was supported by 112 other members of the assembly who are also from the CHP. But the majority of the members of the assembly are from the Justice and Development Party (AKP). They voted against the proposal and the proposal has been rejected. I do not know if any delegate from the AKP voted in favor of the proposal, but it is understood that the majority voted “No.”
For those of you who are not too familiar with what is going on in Turkey, this event may not seem very significant, and you may not understand the gravity of the situation.
A peaceful voice
Let us start with Hrant Dink. He was fighting against the collective amnesia which ruined this country from within. His very existence, his peaceful voice, his sincerity was a reminder of the injustice this country did to its Armenian citizens in the past, and he gave us a glimpse of what we lost by losing our Armenians. His peaceful soul and voice created too much of a burden for the dark side of this country. He was finally killed. Who killed him? According to some, the murderer was a 17-year-old minor, but for us, the “history” that this country has never attempted to confront was the actual killer and the shadow of the Ergenekon (deep state) gang was lurking behind the crime scene. All connections in the trial of Hrant Dink murder have pointed to this shadowy deep state structure, Ergenekon.
The Ergenekon gang has developed many plans to bring down the AKP government; they prepared many different plans for military coups to throw the AKP government out of power because Ergenekon is not only an enemy of non-Muslims but also of the devout Muslims of this country. Ergenekon is the successor of İttihat ve Terakki (Committee of Union and Progress), which was the mastermind behind the atrocities against the Armenians. Since we have never confronted this dark history, we all turned a blind eye to the transformation of İttihat ve Terakki into our deep state, which has continued its bloody activities for the entire modern history of this country.
There are so many victims of their crimes in this country. Alevis, Kurds and leftists should be cited along with non-Muslims and devout Muslims. Whenever this İttihatist mentality targeted one of those groups, it always created an alliance with one of the other victim groups. It crushed one victim group with the help of another victim group in Turkey. They owe their success to the fragmented structure of the “victims.”
Just look at the Ergenekon case carefully, and you will see how the gang targeted all these groups one by one. It is very unfortunate; however, everyone continues to see only their own victimization. Everyone has turned into an İttihatist when dealing with another group. It has always happened like that in our history.
If the AKP really wants to fight against the Ergenekon gang, it should start fighting its own members who support this mentality. I condemn all AKP members behind this shameful act, who preferred the name Ergenekon to Hrant Dink’s name and all other AKP members who do not condemn these AKP members in the İstanbul Metropolitan Municipality. Shame on them!