For One Democratic State
in the whole of Palestine (Israel)

FOR FULL EQUALITY OF NATIVE AND ADOPTIVE PALESTINIANS

FOR One Man, One Vote

Home


Search

Dramatic developments in Turkey, where the constitutional court judges (the most reactionary part of establishment) in union with Kemalists allied with the pro-American generals supported by Zionists and the neo-cons staged a coup against Erdogan, a popularly elected moderate friend to Russia and Iran. The article is by the wise Indian pundit, Bhadrakumar. The enemies of democracy and our enemies are godless - and it makes us think twice about plans of "a secular state", medina chilonit of Jewish anti-zionists. Our friend Paul Eisen of London succinctly stated it: a "secular state" is another form of Judaic rule. We observe it in Europe as well the most secular states, France and England, are the most heavily influenced by their Jewish communities. The country heavily influenced by the Church, Greece, is the freest from Judeo-American influence. Russia and Iran are non-secular. In Turkey, secularism is another form of submission to Zion. Read more: 

Alarm spreads over Turkey's troubles
By M K Bhadrakumar


The Turkish constitutional court's verdict last Thursday overturning the attempt by the government in Ankara to create a legal basis to lift the ban on women wearing headscarves from attending universities, sets the stage for a battle royal between the ruling party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Turkey's secular elite comprising the judiciary, military and the "Kemalists".

Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP) is fighting a last-ditch battle for survival within a year of its dramatic victory in last July's parliamentary elections in which it secured an unprecedented 40% of the votes polled. According to top political commentator Ilnur Cevik, "What we see in Turkey is a coup attempt spearheaded by the judiciary and supported by the elite

secularist groups." Cevik forewarned a few weeks ago, "In recent times [in Turkey] military coups have been replaced by post-modern interventions where certain elite civilian groups are encouraged to challenge the elected government and parliament and impose their will on the nation."

But what is unfolding cannot be viewed merely as political skullduggery. Profound issues are involved. The heart of the matter is whether the brand of political Islam practiced by the AKP will be allowed to function within the four walls of democratic principles and transform gradually, incrementally, as a progressive force rather than being forced into the entrapment of radicalism.

The outcome of the struggle will be keenly watched in the Middle East and wherever observant Muslims agonize over the state and religion. Needless to say, growing political instability in Turkey will have massive international repercussions at a time when the standoff between the US and Israel on one side and Iran is nearing a fateful climax in the coming months.

It seemed for a fleeting moment that last year's elections in Turkey would lead to engendering a balance between Islam, democracy, secularism and modernity. The AKP secured its mandate as a party of religiously observant people and as a party of the "average Turk" (to quote Erdogan), rather than as a party rooted in Islam.

The AKP insisted that its principal mission lay in integrating different sections of society as a movement dedicated to "socializing" secularism. The AKP challenged Turkey's brand of militant secularism as a one-dimensional concept, which the Kemalists in Turkey uphold as the final stage of their society's intellectual and organizational evolution. The AKP maintained that Turkey should not remain transfixed and must instead move in consonance with modern democratic societies' understanding of libertarian secularism, which provides scope for the cohabitation of individuals with different beliefs and lifestyles in society.

The AKP's contention is that secularism cannot be projected as an alternative to religion, as it is not the individual but the state that is secular. Arguably, this approach is not quite at odds with the European-inspired secular nationalism that provided the ideological underpinning for the Anglo-French system of states in the Middle East that came about after the fall of the Ottoman Empire in 1918.

But what is at issue is the reality that the nationalist regimes in the region - including in Turkey - have increasingly lost their political legitimacy in the past few decades, which in turn created a vacuum that Islamism increasingly strove to fill in. The discredited secularist camp is unable to meet the challenge of Islamism, which has shown tremendous skill in integrating socio-economic grievances, couching it in appealing revolutionary idiom and giving it the coloring of anti-Western nationalism that is widespread in the region.

To be sure, the post-September 11, 2001, world politics and the "Islamo-fascism" that the US and Britain insisted be at the core of the "war on terror", provided much boost to the platform of political Islam. Simply put, the Islamist forces are frontally challenging the established currency of political power.

By resorting to populist methods such as forming neighborhood groups and by their sheer ability to master the media, especially television, they have reached out to large audiences to mobilize Muslim masses. In principle, political systems, in order to be secular, need not ban religious parties. Countries such as India, Israel and Germany have allowed an inclusive political system that allows participation by religion or sect-based parties. The yardstick ought to be that parties such as the AKP ought to abide by strong norms of non-violent resolution of political differences. And as long as parties exist, such as the AKP, which are committed to democratic principles and which secure a mandate from the people to rule, they must be allowed to rule - and to integrate into the system.

Thus, there can be no two opinions that the AKP passes the litmus test of being a political party functioning in accordance with democratic norms. But the catch lies elsewhere. Recent opinion polls have shown that the AKP continues to ride a wave of popularity. In January, its rating rose to 54%. (In comparison, the main "Kemalist" party, the Republican People's Party, or CHP, has a rating of about 20%.)

The economy and political stability have been key factors of the AKP's continuing popularity. Clearly, as Turkish columnist Tahya Akyol of the liberal Milliyet newspaper wrote recently, "CHP isn't greatly influenced by social developments. It moves around a stable and constant vote basis ... The AKP's high but unsteady support shows its sensitivity to social trends. The fact that CHP support is low but stable shows that it isn't so affected. So, millions of small businesses, farmers and unemployed people have problems, and calls for democratization in society are rising, but these millions of people don't see an alternative [to AKP] in the CHP ... It [CHP] isn't a party of social needs, but an elitist and ideological one.

"The CHP's elitist and ideological structure, inflexible and insensitive to social requests, keeps it from being a mass party of average Turks ... An average Turk rejects a theocratic state, but wants respect for religion; believes in democratic secularism, but wants the headscarf ban to be lifted; and places importance on a non-problematic course of things. Obviously, this Turk usually votes for the AKP, to which there is no alternative because unfortunately we lack a social democratic party supported by millions of average citizens from the whole of Turkey."

Significantly, the Turkish military leadership has lost no time in endorsing last Thursday's ruling by the constitutional court. The military leadership has kept a low profile since the AKP's massive electoral showing in last July's polls.

Last week, it lifted its head above the parapet. The military supremo, Chief of Staff General Mehmet Yasar Buyukanit, has regained his lost elan. He thundered, "The Turkish republic is the only country in the Islamic world with a secular structure. There are those who want to destroy Turkey's secular structure or attach epithets to the country's name. The judicial bodies will never allow this to happen. There is no power strong enough to overthrow the republic and its fundamental principles."

The general was condemning any foreigner who would dare visualize Turkey as a "moderate Islamic" country. He added, "Turkey is a secular, democratic, social state ruled by law. It is impossible to change these characteristics. This is not a comment; it is statement of the obvious."

Last Thursday's ruling is bad news for Erdogan. A separate case filed by the public prosecutor is pending, which brands the AKP for its anti-secular behavior and forbids 71 of its prominent leaders - including Erdogan and President Abdullah Gul - to be members of any political party for a five-year period. Most Turkish observers visualize that Thursday's verdict makes the court's closure of the AKP a foregone conclusion. (The court's verdict is expected by September or October.) Turkish authorities have a long tradition of banning political parties. There have been more than 20 such instances in the past.

But the AKP's closure would have serious implications. The fact remains that the AKP is the only truly national party in Turkish politics. And, despite whatever aberrations of political conduct in recent months, Erdogan still remains an immensely charismatic politician. His only "fault" has been that he has led a movement that poses a serious threat to the entrenched elites who pass as "Kemalists" and self-styled torchbearers of Kemal Ataturk's legacy as the founder of the modern Turkish state.

True to past practice by banned political parties, the AKP in all probability could always re-emerge under a different banner. Erdogan, even if banned from active politics, might still remain an influential player on the political chessboard. But that isn't the whole point. Turkey loses heavily. Its image takes a beating internationally. Ankara's claim to European Union membership almost certainly would suffer. The mainstream forces of Islamism that are moderate - be it in the Levant or in Palestine or Egypt - would draw conclusions about the limits to inclusive participation that democratic life offers.

Israel and its neo-conservative supporters in the US might heave a sigh of relief that the AKP government is at long last removed from the region's political landscape. They watched with abhorrence Turkey's re-entry under the AKP's stewardship into the Muslim world. Turkey's growing closeness to Iran, its openness towards Hamas in Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon, its rapport with Syria - all these were anathema to Israel.

The sense of relief in the neo-conservative camp in the US is palpable. Michael Rubin of the American Enterprise Institute sees Erdogan as less an "aggrieved democrat" and more as a "protege" of Russian Prime Minister (and ex-president)Vladimir Putin, who has widened the gap between Islam and the West "by encouraging the most virulent anti-American and anti-Semitic conspiracy theories".

The problem, evidently, has to do with the Erdogan phenomenon. What do you do when someone with extraordinary political acumen like Erdogan appears as the figurehead of Islamism, and you have not even a remote match for him? The despair is apparent in Rubin's words. He offers a useful guideline for the Middle East's democratic charter: "Electoral success should never put politicians above the rule of law. That Mr Erdogan won 47% in the last election heightens the tragedy, but should not buy immunity ... Mr Erdogan may aspire to be Mr Putin, but he should neither have US nor European support for his ambitions."

Israel will invariably agree with Rubin - especially as it ratchets up belligerence toward Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah. Yet, the million-dollar question is what Democratic Senator Barack Obama, if elected US president, will think of charismatic Muslim statesmen like Turkey's Erdogan.

M K Bhadrakumar served as a career diplomat in the Indian Foreign Service for over 29 years, with postings including India's ambassador to Uzbekistan (1995-1998) and to Turkey (1998-2001).

 

Home