Murat Belge in Birikim notes that Tayyip Erdoğan has made an alliance with the military, but he asks if this also means that there’s an agreement between the president and the generals. An agreement means that those who have made it decide to abandon defending at least some of the things they respectively believe in. It doesn’t mean that two sides have come to share the same views, only that they have created a basis that allows for them to co-exist side by side. I’m of the opinion that Tayyip Erdoğan believes that he has reached such an “agreement” with the Armed Forces, or more correctly with its current high command. At the same time, I’m of the opinion that this is not an “agreement.” Above all, Tayyip Erdoğan himself hasn’t changed his mind about anything. But there can still be “common goals,” as for instance the present Kurdish policy. On this point they have met. Moreover, the stance toward Europe also seems to present a potential point of convergence. If the stance of the military is still the same as it was during the 1990’s, then this means that the military is against the EU. And Tayyip Erdoğan has no sympathy toward the EU. To sum, my opinion is that there is no “agreement” between the Armed forces and Tayyip Erdoğan regarding certain principles, but that there is a “cease-fire.” Every cease-fire has the potential of evolve into an agreement, and that can very well happen. However, this is not going to be an agreement about respecting the principles of democracy and on paving the way for democratization. That much can be predicted today.
The Islamists had dreams, writes Levent Gültekin in Diken. Islamism grew as a reaction against a secular republic that anti-democratically excluded pious people from commercial and political networks. When they came to power, the Islamists were going to abolish the discrimination against the pious, and stand for freedom and equality. Yet, the hubris of power made them forget about being democratic. And unfortunately, they lacked a democratic culture in the first place. They replaced it with the worship of the leader. The leader has now purged all of his companions who had their origins in the Islamist ideology. The Islamists’ last hope, to whom they clung, was Ahmet Davutoğlu. Now, the vast majority of the Islamists in media, in the bureaucracy and in the party have been purged. Today, Islamist writers, journalists, intellectuals and politicians are in a state of great shock. It has now dawned on them that there’s no place left to them in the Turkey that they helped bring about.
By Halil Karaveli
May 13, 2016
The dynamics of capitalist development have played a much more central role for Turkey’s journey from secularism to religious conservatism – and before that for the Kemalist break with Islam – than what is generally recognized. During the context of the Cold War, capitalist development and Islamization went hand in hand, as religious conservatism neutralized the challenge of the left and labor. Today, neoliberal globalization provides impetus for Islamization. Raising “pious generations” – who are “traditional,” not rebellious – is essential for sustaining neo-liberalism. An explicitly “religious” constitution, in which reference is made to God, will serve to mask that it is capital that reigns supreme. Ultimately, the survival of secularism requires that the economic order that depends on continued Islamization is called into question.
Soli Özel in Habertürk writes that secularism is a crucial concept in the upcoming discussion about what kind of fundamental principles that are going to shape Turkey’s politics in the future. Recently, people in the governing circles have more frequently started to state that societal arrangements in Turkey should be religiously based. However, the stance in society is different. According to a recent poll, 47 percent of people have a faith, but they are at the same time non-pious. The pious are 40,5 percent. Those who want “Sharia” are 16,6 percent. However, a majority of 76 percent does not want to bring back the khalifat. These numbers don’t mean that the public in Turkey has resolved the identity issue. While 70 percent wants to remain in NATO and 64 percent favors EU membership, 64 percent believes that there is a confrontation between Islamic and Western civilizations.
Etyen Mahçupyan in Karar asks if the new constitution that is going to be drafted is going to be the expression of a societal compact or the expression of the will of the side that is politically strongest. In Turkey it has so far always been the latter that has prevailed. A societal compact has eluded us for a very fundamental reason: we have yet not become a “society.” Since the days of Byzantium, we are a people of different cemaat -- fraternities -- who exclusively value their own identities, desires, choices and victimhood. Even though our experience to live alongside the “others” is age-old, our will to live “together” is weak. We have almost no habit of being curious about those who are different, of building relations, of listening and of understanding. Yet the historical dynamic in this geography has been conducive to creating and sustaining differences. Today we are not only facing different ethnicities and sects. There are also different life styles, value systems and mentalities. A societal compact must have a base that includes all of these differences.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.