The views expressed in this op-ed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of SyriacPress.
By Suphi Aksoy
As the spectrum of democratic politics in Turkey and throughout the Middle East continues to dangerously narrow, the whirlwind of chaos, crisis, marginalization, hostility, and conflict swells. And, because of the crackdown on critics, democrats, and liberals to publicly speak out, political positions and fronts are becoming radicalized.
The efforts of status quo rulers to expand and create new spheres of influence through violence plunges the entire region into a climate of war. Their use of intimidation of all segments of society through fascist slogans is the basis of great fear.
Where Iran is interfering geopolitically and forcing itself on the whole Middle East and beyond through its paramilitary proxy forces, Turkey’s AKP-MHP government has taken the same path. From Libya to Central Asia, Turkey is conducting military operations in many countries. At the same time status quo powers advance towards dictatorship, they contradict the social values and global movements of our time. Internal problems have become external problems, reciprocally affecting and activating the interior of each country with global developments and policies abroad.
While dictators and their status quoists try to instill fear in the people under their rule with a show of power, it is the dictators and the status quoists themselves who are actually caught in fear; it is the very fear of those who use intimidation and spread fear to protect their own power and interests that is growing. This convulsive fear of losing power is evident in Turkey, where the Cumhur-alliance formed by the ultra-nationalist MHP and AKP is constantly fueling chaos and creating new problems for fear of losing power.
Since all doors to democratic solutions, the strengthening of human rights, and freedoms are shut, only means of oppression, violence, and prohibition remain. The one-man regime was created for this purpose – to oppress society more. Whoever leads such a dictatorial regime cannot do or want anything other than oppression.
The methods of oppression and pressure used in Turkey over the past twenty years, aimed at stopping social developments and paving the way for dictatorship, are anachronistic. It is therefore of the utmost importance that all peoples and segments of society who believe in democracy and want to change the current system, come together around a strong pluralistic and participatory democratic solution.
Turkey’s policies of denial, which flatly ignore any form of pluralism and categorically deny the country’s non-Turkish ethnicities and identities, have become a major threat to everyone. Not seeing this reality, not being aware of the bad course the country has taken, and not taking the necessary precautionary measures to alter this course, means surrendering yourself to the mounting pressures on individual and social freedoms. While the AKP-MHP government is making enemies with the opposition – a significant part of society – Turkey is doing tremendous harm to the peoples of Mesopotamia and Anatolia. This real process is also seen by the whole world.
It will not be easy to destroy the different peoples of Turkey again. Global (geo-)political dimensions and regional conditions have changed. Cultural, environmental, and human rights issues have become common issues of the world.
The government of Turkey can no longer say “I will suppress the different ethnicities, social groups, women, and children in my country, and nobody can interfere with it.” Today, up to half of the Turkish population has relatives in the diaspora. And many deeply feel that it is their duty to raise awareness about their issues everywhere. They are trying to get the support of the international community because they want Turkey to become democratic.
The world’s great powers also intervene, when it is in their interest, to fuel chaos in Turkey or to divide or weaken status quo powers. But it is important here to realize that the unrest, polarization, and (possible) external interference in Turkey is primarily caused by the implementation by the Turkish government of its policies of racism and denial. It is because of these racist and denialist policies that political parties are closed, elected MPs are removed, and Turkish prisons are filled with opposition members, activists, and critical journalists.
A long-debated and anticipated step in internal repression and external operations is also the regime’s shutdown of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP). The Turkish chief prosecutor filed for the closure of the HDP on March 17, 2021. This case shows again how different identities in Turkey are not accepted by the current regime. The denial strategy that successive governments have implemented for over a century has once again been revealed to the world in its full light. Thus everyone, in Turkey and internationally, is forced to take a stance now. It is either chaos or a political solution for democracy and inclusiveness. We are heading for a major referendum.
With the establishment of a one-man regime, a two-party system was created. It is not expected that the AKP and MHP will be the two parties who make up this system in the future. It raises the question for alternative parties. After thorough investigation, it will be clear that there will not be two but three parties.
The line represented by the CHP and IYI Party, along with the HDP, will play a big role in the future of Turkey. A new common ground was formed. This common political ground points us to the transition process towards democracy as an alternative to chaos and dictatorship. When those who favor the democratic solution come together, they will relieve Turkey and save it from a major disaster. They will be the carriers and forerunners in a process of liberalization. The interests of people and individuals lie in a democratic solution, not in chaos.
Disclaimer: translated from the original Turkish as published by Gazete Sabro.