State Council Murder Targets Role Change
Human Rights Foundation chair Onen says Turkish-Islamic synthesis reviving in different shape with State Council attack and notes nationalist atmosphere in lack of leftist movement brings economic benefit to politics. The compromise is about an economy o
Onen says the ongoing political struggle staged in an atmosphere of increased nationalism in Turkey is a reflecting of the sharing of roles in an established regime based on an economy of corruption. "The principle equation has not changed" adds the TIHV chairman predicting greater efforts in the coming days to restrict freedoms in the country. "I would like to point out that serious duties fall on the leftwing. My hopes are placed there" he says.
Bianet interviewed Onen, one of Turkey's most leading human rights and political activists who has fulfilled this role even in the most demanding times in the country, on his views of the attitude of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the status quo in Turkey.
How should one interpret the attack on the State Council and developments afterwards?
It is a mistake so see this attack as an isolated, stand-alone, accident like incident.
In a way we have come to this point out of a historical process. Turkey has become based on a social structure and political history where there is an established culture to end problems through violent methods. We have a political life that rejects pluralism and does not allow freedom to different views, a democratic life that is handicapped. Because of this it is a field that is at all times open to plots and political assassinations.
This incident should be evaluated as result of an intervention made in an attempt to reproduce the hegemony of the Turkish-Islamic synthesis according to changing conditions. It is result of conditions which in political life do not allow for any existence other than the official concept.
One of the reasons of this is the lack of an atmosphere in Turkey where the labour-capital conflict can be organised freely. I am talking about a democracy that does not have a left. This has been the case for years. This field of political imbalance has always been filled by armed forced.
Did the recent developments not strengthen the hand of the military?
Before anything this is of course an act that cannot be approved. It is a murder. And the bullet has actually been shot at democracy.
With an example from the recent past, just as the social reaction before Susurluk came to en end on February 28, the reaction that is escalating against this incident should not lead to a similar situation. Because political instability always strengthens the hand of the military.
The field of freedom should be expanded against this. Duties fall on the democracy forces in this area. There is the need for leftist forces in favour of labour, a dynamic that is based on social powers that are within social democracy and genuinely want and assimilate democracy. This dynamic should stand up. There is the need for a social civilian force. Only this way can repetitions of February 28'ths be prevented.
Because this attack is not a stand-alone fundamentalist [act] not an act of Islamic violence. This is the medium that is being fed by nationalism, the official concept.
"What secularism is needs to be discussed"
How should the manner of the AKP be evaluated?
The AKP has lost the oppostunity of a democratisation in its real sense. Because it could not enforce such a program in the EU period and because it lost it, it dug its own grave with false steps portrayed as democratisation.
AKP promised a democracy program but did not do this. Now they are portraying themselves as if they are discussing with armed forces. In reality there is no social root to this situation.
In the past days all ministers are saying how secular they are. One could conclude they are looking for a footing in the secular forces but this is false, It is clear this is not what they defend. There is no real secularism in Turkey anyway.
Turkey is under the hegemony of Sunni and Hanefi Islam. This hegemony exists in all state institutions. The intervention of the state in religion is continuous.
It is time enough to have a real debate on secularism and democracy. Without emptying out the concepts, a debate is required while truly understanding what secularism is. Is secularism a field of freedom or is it a field of restriction? This is what needs to be debated.
Slogans that "Turkey is secular, it will stay secular" shouted on the streets after the State Council attack do not represent the reality.
On the other hand early elections are being discussed. Political parties have started to prepare for early elections. Scenarios are based on the ascent of the DYP (True Path Party) and MHP (Nationalist Action Party).
This is what the recreation of political hegemony means. Look at the picture. In the coming period Devlet Bahceli and Mehmet Agar or Deniz Baykal can be seen. They have no difference when it comes to politics. With program, language and analysis they all say the same thing. This is the scenario of the system recreating itself.
What is the important of the role the USA sees for Turkey here?
It is of course important but I believe the USA -AKP relations have more priority than this. It is definite that there is a breakdown there. AKP's talks with the Hamas, its following of a diplomacy similar to [former Turkish PM] Erbakan have disturbed the USA. The USA is not at peace with the AKP administration.
Is there not a nationalist deliverance in the AKP's language in recent times?
Of course there is. Because the strongest argument in taking over political power is nationalism. This is also valid for the CHP, DYP and MHP. That is what is marketable..
There is a stage of politics based on escalating nationalist feelings. Whoever comes to power nothing will change. They will all defend the status quo and exploit at the same time. Because there is an economic benefit of continuing the power of administration on nationalism. To share the resources.
This situation can clearly be seen over the past 20-25 years. The economy based on the organisation created by Ozal has always been the primary motivator of politics. Politics feeds on economy.
In the coalition where Ecevit was prime minister, the banks were shared. In relation to the period of nationalism that escalated after [outlawed PKK leader] Abdullah Ocalan was brought to Turkey, ministers of the MHP have been put on many trials for corruption.
AKP's main program is corruption economy
I foresee that in the coming period corruption will increase its pace. The largest privatisation projects have taken place at times nationalism was on the rise and the effect of leftist powers had declined. In the new period this means a new distribution.
The AKP has not carried out any plan that can be called radical whether for its own grassroots or in the field of democracy. Its main program has been the sales of public areas, preparations for nuclear energy investments, privatisation of forests, coats and public assets. AKP expanded its administration on a program to gain economic profit. It happened within an economic activity that had either open or indirect economic benefit.
The economy of corruption continued in the AKP era too, What we mean by status quo is the continuation of this economy. The fact that security policies are at such high a level should be seen within this program. The budget is going to arms and security. This is where all the sides are in compromise.
The Anti-Terror Law (TMY) draft should also be seen in this equation. In any event the main equation is the same and what changes is who shares it.
So what can be done in view of this picture?
The labour forces should rescue themselves from the righting path they have diverted to. The unions are also being effected by this nationalist atmosphere. They should prioritise programs related to labour for themselves.
They need to organise. I don't just mean organising of industrial workers. From agricultural workers to the intellectuals all sections should organise. Everyone who is conducting opposition politics.
There is the need for a political leadership, to get the cadres together, to unite these forces politically. Leadership has gained extreme importance. Existing socialist parties should put this issue on their agenda. They are not powerful but they can work towards the targets of the future by preparing. What I mean by preparing through work is that they should not just stick to the squares but go to the production areas.
You are not drawing a positive picture for the coming period?
I want to point out that there is a great deal of things to do for the left. That is where I have hope. (TK/EK/II/YE)
Ankara - BÄ°A News Center
24 May 2006, Wednesday