Ertuğrul Özkök in Hürrriyet writes that the speech that the new Chief of the General Staff Hulusi Akar delivered on Victory Day August 30 is the most interesting one in recent years. Reading the speech, I noted many interesting things – the rise of the references to being “Turkish.” The expression “Turk” is mentioned in fourteen different places. The definition of the “Turkish hearth” is made in especially stark terms: The speech states that the battle at Manzikert in 1071 confirmed “Anatolia as the Turkish hearth.” And the most notable expression is the way General Akar refers to our state, as “Turkish Republic.”. I looked up the constitution at the official site of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey: There, the official expression reads “The constitution of the Republic of Turkey…” In our system, in two very important places, the expression “Turkey,” and not “Turkish” is employed: “The Grand National Assembly of Turkey” and “The Republic of Turkey…” And that is indeed very right.
Ali Bulaç in Zaman asks what Turkey stands to gain from joining the United States in its war against the terrorist group that calls itself the Islamic State (ISIS). Turkey will gain nothing! Let us imagine that northern Syria is cleared from ISIS. What is the U.S. going to deploy there in its place? It is of course not going to hand the place to al-Nusra, the Muslim Brotherhood or any other Islamic organization. It is very clear that Kurdish PYD is going to be deployed in the place of ISIS. And does not the PYD equal the PKK? The war against ISIS is not only fought against an organization, but it is a war against a Sunni Arab population that Turkey has committed itself to fight alongside and for the sake of the West! No one is approving what ISIS is doing. If ISIS is harming Islam and the Muslims, then the way to stop this is not to shoulder the role of the gendarme of the U.S. There are other ways to do it, in accordance with the codes and dynamics of the region. But there is right now no reasonable ground for declaring war against IS. The massacre in Suruç, that the ISIS has not taken responsibility for, is a very murky operation! ISIS has established authority over an area which is inhabited by millions of Muslims. That Turkey wageals war against a Muslim population represents a first in the history of the Republic. This has no Islamic legitimacy, and it is politically and militarily wrong.
Şahin Alpay in Zaman writes that Turkey has certainly entered a period of instability that is not going to be short-lived. No doubt, President Erdoğan is the chief responsible for this. Yet this fact should not lead us to overlook the main reasons for why calm and stability continue to elude Turkey. A multicultural country like Turkey, with its multiple identities, can only become calm and stable when freedom and a pluralistic democracy has been put in place. Unfortunately, the genetic code of the republic does not allow for this. Erdoğan is faithful to the founding tradition of the republic when he views every kind of opposition as treason and when he does not tolerate that civil society becomes stronger. The second founding stipulation of the republic was that a modern society could only be constructed if the whole of society was made Muslim and if Islam was controlled by the state through the State Directorate of Religious Affairs. Indeed, the AKP, which stands for Turkish nationalism mixed with a sauce of Islamism, does not recognize the freedom of belief and continues to impose the religion of the State Directorate of Religious Affairs.
Kemal Öztürk in Yeni Şafak warns that the AKP is losing the public relation battle. The PKK/KCK/HDP coalition and the municipalities, associations, foundations, newspapers, radios and internet sites that it controls in the southeast have started a massive campaign, blaming all the deaths on the president and the AKP. This campaign is having a devastating effect on public opinion. Just as happened before the election, the public is turning against the AKP and the government. We also need to face the bitter truth: the discourse of the PKK is receiving much more attention in international media than the arguments of the government. I did not expect that the operations that are being undertaken to secure law and order in the cities would have a negative impact on the Kurdish people. But the PKK’s communication tactics and sustained efforts could undermine this expectation. The AKP needs to assure the people that the fight against terrorism is one thing and the solution process is something different. If the AKP fails to explain why it is fighting terror, what it is doing for the solution process, what it plans to do for the Kurdish people, it risks yet another election disaster.
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.