On the 8th anniversary of the assassination of Armenian-Turkish editor Hrant Dink, Rober Koptaş in Agos notes that the AKP government has recently started to emphasize that police officers close to the Gülenist fraternity were implicated in the 2007 assassination. Pro-government media is attempting to create the impression that the ongoing investigation is going to disclose the responsibility of the “parallel structure” for the assassination. From all quarters, the perception is being imposed that the assassination was committed by the Gülen fraternity, with the purpose of providing a pretext for starting the Ergenekon case and in order to undermine the respectability of the Turkish Armed Forces. As Agos, we are fully aware that the assassination of Hrant Dink was committed by police officers, close or not close to the fraternity, together with the military, the bureaucracy, the National Intelligence Agency and their collaborators in different institutions and sections. We are thus not prepared to acquiesce to blaming the murder of Hrant Dink solely on a supposed “parallel structure.” This does not mean that we are saying that “Police officers who are linked to the Gülen fraternity are innocent.”
Aydın Engin in Cumhuriyet writes that Erdoğan has to be defeated at the ballot box. He called on the opponents of his regime not to put their faith in dissensions within the AKP leading to the fall of the regime. Can the pro-Kurdish HDP, which has declared that it is going to enter the elections as a party (instead of fielding independent candidates) change the parliamentary mathematics? If the HDP overcomes the 10 percent threshold, it will get at minimum 56, and at most 69 deputies. It could even reach 70 deputies. If the HDP fails to get over the threshold, the AKP is almost certainly going to acquire the necessary majority to single-handedly change the constitution and introduce a presidential system. Kurdish voters who have so far not voted for parties that represent the Kurdish political movement, not to speak of Turkish voters who resent that movement, may face the following choice in the election in June: “Should I vote to make it possible for the AKP to single-handedly change the constitution, or should I prefer a parliamentarian makeup that does not even allow the AKP to form a government on its own?”
Kadri Gürsel in Milliyet writes that Erdoğan’s purpose in presiding over the cabinet was to diminish the standing and power of Davutoğlu. Davutoğlu is going to leave the palace as a prime minister with reduced powers. The source of “power” has already changed in Turkey. In practice, the constitution has long been suspended and having exited from the rule of law, Turkey is continuing its journey in dark waters. And no one should expect any crisis or duality arising from within the AKP. A figure (Davutoğlu) who owns his position to a leader who has not hesitated to sacrifice the founding fathers of the party can only submit to the “strong power.” This is not a crisis of the AKP – it’s a crisis of the regime of Turkey. This is a constitutional and regime crisis, but the seriousness of the situation is not grasped.
Hasan Bülent Kahraman in Sabah relates the results of the recent survey of social and political attitudes that has been conducted by the Kadir Has University of Istanbul. First, our people are happy. 20 percent say that they are neither happy nor unhappy, which means that they are not unhappy. 20 percent profess to be unhappy. The rest, 60 percent, say that they are happy. People recognize that there are certain facts, but they don’t make them an issue. Thus, while 60 percent state that the judiciary has become politicized, 3 percent identify the judiciary as a problem. Those who say that there is a parallel structure amount to 50 percent, with 3.5 percent identifying this fact as constituting a problem. The society admits the existence of certain realities, but does not see them as concerns. Or if it does, it trusts the government to mend them. Second, we can conclude that staking out a leftist, social democratic political position is all but impossible in a society that does concern itself with high living costs and income inequality. 37 percent identify as conservative, 16.5 percent as republicans/Kemalists and 20 percent as nationalists. Those who call themselves social democrats are 12.5 percent and 4 percent say they are socialists. 13 percent of the people say that there is no democracy. 87 percent says democracy is either restricted, fully developed or developing. In one respect Erdoğan is unable to persuade his base and society. 80 percent of the people prefer a parliamentarian regime. What is sad is the view taken of the press. Only 25 percent state that the press is free. 55 say that it is definitely not free.
The election of Cansen Başaran-Symes to the presidency of the Association of Turkish Industrialists and Businessmen (TÜSİAD) makes Güngör Mengi in Vatan wonder why TÜSİAD has once again – for the third time – chosen a woman to its helm. In its healthy days, TÜSİAD was not only concerned with the economic problems of industrialists and businessmen, it was also a well-organized, respected organization of representation and a provider of solutions to societal issues. But actions and discourses that run counter to the government brought problems on the owners. TÜSİAD’s identity, its search for change, was replaced with quietism. Policies opposed to the preferences of the government were not to be propagated. This had an adverse impact on TÜSİAD’s ability to continue to uphold its mission as the most experienced and capable NGO of the country. In his farewell speech, Halûk Dinçer, the former president of TÜSİAD, delivered messages that recalled the old days of the organization, saying that “Politics does not interfere with peoples’ private life and their spiritual worlds. It serves as the guarantor of these and of their liberties. I believe that we also today need to muster all our force in the defense of the principles of equal citizenship, gender equality and secularism.” TÜSİAD has once again elected a female president. Like everyone else I also wonder why. A female president is the key to create a dialogue, for overcoming tensions, for accommodation without fighting. However rude a man may be, when a woman arrives he becomes forgiving.