The following is a translation from an Arabic Political Analysis Q&A by
Sheikh Ata Abu Rashta:
Question: What is happening in Turkey? The Presidential elections in the Parliament, then direct election, then parliamentary elections, remarkable activities in the ranks of government and army, statements and counter statements, the Constitutional Court’s interference, the President first accepting and then backing off.
What is role of the US and Britain in the matter? Is there a role for the Kurd Party especially since bomb blasts and others activities are being attributed to it during the current turmoil, which we know is being perpetrated by America? And lastly, what are the comparative strengths of the various Turkish parties in the upcoming polls next month?
Answer: To have a clear picture, it is necessary to delve into the history of the birth of secular Turkey.
First: Ever since the traitor Kemal Pasha executed the British designs and thereby destroyed the Khilafah after the First World War, he worked against Islam- his views and emotions and secular way of working, even more than the secularists, his hate of Islam and Muslims, his keenness and that of his followers to reduce Turkey to be a puppet of the British in the region. This was his agenda.
Fighting Islam and being friendly with the British. This continued until the emergence of the US on the world stage at the end of the Second World War, when it harnessed its victories to be the leading hegemony power replacing the earlier colonialists (Britain and France) in its neo colonization. It then convened a conference of its Middle East ambassadors in Istanbul in 1950 C.E.
America attempted to penetrate the Turkish army in order to gain influence in it, which it saw as an effective force holding the country, but it failed because the army was deeply loyal to Kemal Pasha’s line of British subordination. The US therefore saw the only opportunity in coming close to the emotions of the Muslims who were fully entrenched by the army on one hand and the secularists on the other.
This situation prevailed during Adnan Mondries era in the 50’s; Turgat Ã-zal’s era during the 80’s and in between Suleyman Demirel’s rule in the 70’s and again in the 90’s, though Demirel tried to play with both the US and the British towards the end of his tenure. Any how the US maneuvered army coups every time its agents even came close to the forbidden line, let alone cross it.
This is how the army carried out the coups in 1960, 1971, 1980 and 1997 C.E. under the pretext of protecting its (British inspired) secular system. The US always learnt a new lesson from every coup and was content with no chance of penetrating in the army. Therefore during Ã-zal’s era it tried to create a balancing power centre, and Ã-zal heavily armed the police. One must recall that Ã-zal had some clear Islamic sentiments and followed the naqshbandi order and this endeared him to the Muslim masses.
Ã-zal was not content with the Prime Minister’s post of 1983, and he became the president in 1989 C.E, which is a sensitive position for both the secularists as well as the army and they do not desire to have an ‘outsider’ occupy it. What further angered them was that Ã-zal received girls who were studying in universities and protested against being prevented from wearing Khimar, Ã-zal sympathised with them and this infuriated the secularists and the army.
Ã-zal formed the Motherland Party and consolidated public opinion, especially of the rural population, in its favour because he brought them to the forefront of Islam, the deen which they professed and confronted the secularists who were being propped up by the armed forces. He moved deftly with the support of the US. He could have succeeded in weakening the army’s authority by creating a countering force, but he died or was killed in conspiracy of the secularists at the instance of their British masters. These were leaked by the media then.
Secondly: The situation then turned unstable with both the British as well as the Americans working along the political centre-stage. The army on the other hand began to overhaul Turgat Ã-zal’s Motherland Party and placed Mesut Yilmaz as the party chairman who brought the party closer to the British because he was after all their man and he also expelled Ã-zal’s men from the party. These expelled party members who were close to Ã-zal and the Americans, joined to Welfare Party (Refah) because of their Islamic inclinations.
They thus gained a predominant influence in Necmettin Erbakan’s Refah party, though Erbakan himself was closer to the British, yet America gained a decisive hold over it. This resulted in a coalition government being formed during the 90’s- between TÃ¤nsÃ» Ã‡iller’s True Path Party (Dogru Yol Partisi, or DYP), which was loyal to the US and Erbakan’s Refah Party which was influenced by the entry of Ã-zal’s men.
This must have been maneuvered by America, for the army feared America’s rising influence reminding it of the Ã-zal’s days earlier, and moved to take over power by seating the coalition on 28th February, 1997 C.E. this is now a part of history and known as the 28th February coup. One of the first actions in the aftermath of the coup was to dissolve the Welfare Party (Refah) and reshape it as the Virtue Party.
All pro-American elements whether those who were close to Ã-zal or the original ones who had later embraced US loyalty like Erdogan and Abdulla Gul were expelled from it. After the coup, the army asked BUlent Ecevit, who was loyal to the British and had a Jew as his wife, to form government. Ecevit formed government with Mesut Yilmaz who led the Motherland Party and had switched loyalty to the British. This is how the pro-British secularists consolidated their hold on power after the 28th February coup.
Third: The US realised that a direct confrontation with the armed forces was hard and forming a political force to counter it was prone to risks.
Therefore the option in its view was to promote democracy to clip the armed forces wings. It wanted to bring one of its men to head the government through a parliamentary majority who could bring legislations to challenge the army’s authority. Thus the US decided to bring Erdogan and Abdulla Gul who had left the Virtue Party in the aftermath of 28th February coup and began to work with their men. They formed the Justice and Development Party under the leadership of Erdogan, who was inclined similar to Ã-zal and followed a Sufi order, and though he was a secularist, yet he had some apparent Islamic inclinations. The US had cultivated him since his days as the mayor of Istanbul. Despite his being prosecuted for authoring certain poetic verses and political restrictions; however he remained active for his American friendship and worked for it.
Thus the stage was set for his coming to the centre-stage of politics and the US withdrew between 5 to 7 billion US dollars from the Turkish Central Bank in 2001C.E. The decks for such an action were cleared earlier during Ã-zal’s tenure when America was given economic privileges. This caused an economic upheaval as the Turkish Lira tumbled to unprecedented lows resulting in greatly reduced purchasing power of the Lira and the people’s resentment intensified against Ecevit and his government.
In the meanwhile, the US was able to get a hold on a small party (MHP led by Daulat Beheshmali) by aligning it with the parties of Yilmaz and Ecevit. They demanded early elections and threatened to resign en-masse if the elections were not held forthwith. Thus elections were announced on 3rd November 2002 C.E. Having failed to delay the elections, the pro-British secularists used Jim Ã-zan Trading Group which was their financial mainstay, to intensively invest money in a negative election campaign against the Justice and Development Party, during which the Ã-zan Group spent several million dollars in a relatively short period of time. As a result, the Justice and Development Party won a landslide victory. During the elections campaign, they even tempered their message of secularism with a pinch of Islamic appeal.
However, it also received support of those who were anti-secularists opposed to the army and the anti Islamic Kemalists. Thus it won the elections and garnered a majority in the parliament and formed the government on its own. At that time its opposition was the faction carved out from the Bulent Ecevit’s men who formed the Democratic Party, while the rest of his party remained as the Democratic Left Party (DSP). When Erdogan came to power, he dealt a fatal blow to the Ã-zan Group that had carried out the campaign to keep the Justice Party out of power. He charged them of misconduct and had all its assets placed under judicial custody.
Fourth: Erdogan began to implement his policy of cementing ties with America and undermining the British influence especially the army’s. One of his earliest actions was to curtail the jurisdiction of the National Security Council to interfere in government. He also altered the composition of this council to include civilian members in addition to the army men. This upset the armed forces and according certain leaked reports, the Istanbul explosions in late 2003 were attributed to the army so that it can exploit the resulting security concern as an excuse to stage a coup similar the one in February last.
But it was not to be so. In the next step, a ‘Shared Vision Document’ was signed between the Turkish and American government by Abdulla Gul and Condoleezza Rice on 5th July, 2006 C.E. The broad outlines of this agreement were spelled out in a press statement on the same day at the
US State Department. In its opening lines it said: We share common values and perspectives with regard to the regional and global objectives: Promoting peace, democracy, freedoms and welfare.
After these preliminary words, the document continued, we herewith mention the topics listed in the document:
The United States and Turkey are committed to work together in all the following areas:
– Promoting peace and stability in the greater Middle East by encouraging democracies.
– Supporting ongoing international efforts aimed at achieving permanent solution to the Arab- Israeli’ Conflict as well as aiding ongoing international efforts to achieve a permanent solution to the Palestine-‘Israel’ conflict based on two-nation concept.
– Support development of stability, democracy and welfare in a unified Iraq.
– Supporting diplomatic efforts aimed at the Iranian nuclear issue and P5+1.
– Supporting ushering in stability, democracy and welfare in Black Sea region, Caucasus, Central Asia and Afghanistan.
– Supporting a final, ultimate and comprehensive solution under the auspices of the United Nations and acceptable to both parties regarding the Cyprus issue and ending the sanctions and boycott imposed on the Northern Turkish Cyprus.
– Raising the security level of the sources of energy by creating alternate sources and pipelines including those from the Caspian Sea.
– Improving relations in the Atlantic Ocean region (across the Atlantic Ocean) and modifying the NATO.
– Fighting terrorism and terrorists including the Kurdish Workers Party.
– Banning spread of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD).
– Banning Human, arms and drugs smuggling.
– Raising the level of understanding, appreciation and respect between religions and cultures.
– To develop and support consistent, effective and joint efforts aimed at solving problems detrimental to both sides and those that pose global challenge.
Fifth: As for the Kurdish Workers Party and its role with the army and government. This party was formed in 1979 C.E though it came to prominence with the backing of the US in 1984 C.E during the Turgat Ã-zal era (1983-1993) when it carried out its first operation against the army at Siirt, a Kurd town in Eastern Turkey. This act was timed to coincide with Ã-zal’s attempt to restrain the army by forming a heavily armed police force and thus restrict the army. This police force had remained all along Ã-zal’s tenure. In response to this, the army also sourced special heavy ammunition for the security forces.
The Kurdish Workers Party (PKK)’s situation continued until end 1997 or beginning of 1998 C.E wherein security armament lay at the disposal of America posing challenge for the Turkish army, when two things came to the fore:
1: The coup of 28th February 1997 C.E whereby, the old man Bulent Ecevit came to power as prime minister and carried out a decisive campaign to deal a fatal blow to the Kurdish Workers Party.
2: Turkey threatened Syria with war and charged with carrying out an undeclared war against Turkey by aiding the PKK. Turkey announced that it will respond to this undeclared war by Syria, a Turkish General stated: We have the wherewithal to enter Syria from one side and move out from the side. This turned into a serious crisis but America decided that it was her first priority to keep Syria under its influence by protecting it and then comprehend ways to bring Turkey under its influence.
They decided to tackle the Turkish situation as the next step through political means by promoting concepts of democracy, freedoms and human rights in Turkey. It also decided to strike a deal with the Turkish army through the new government, because now the Turkish army and the governments worked on a common agenda.
The US decided to end its relations with the Kurdish Workers Party as a military entity and end the stalemate with Syria. Thus Syria realized the gravity of the situation at hand and began negotiations with Turkey in order to calm the situation, this resulted in a somewhat grudging agreement between them in December 1998 C.E. As per this agreement, Syria agreed to withdraw support from the PKK and expelled Abdullah Ã-calan and handed over other members of the leadership to Turkey.
Ã-calan left Syria for Russia where he was denied asylum, so left for Greece, then Italy and finally arrived in Kenya where a special unit of the Turkish armed forces was dispatched to take his custody with the help of the US intelligence.
After this the US concentrated to work politically to promote democratic concepts in people and succeeded in bringing Erdogan and his party to power in 2002 C.E as been mentioned earlier.
As a result, the PKK split with one faction going the American way following the political path under the leadership of Ãœsman Ã-calan, while the other faction composed mostly of the Jewish origin was usurped by the British and placed under the Turkish army’s wings. This faction led by Zubair Eidar engaged in activities designed to upset the pro- American Erdogan government. At the same time, such a situation was useful to the army to make its presence felt by quelling with such activities whenever it required.
Thus the American policy towards the PKK during the Justice party rule was to project the Kurdish issue as a political one, during the same period, the British tried to portray the Kurdish issue as a security phenomenon, which was a reversal of position since the grudgingly signed
agreement. This explains the current armed actions being undertaken by the British faction of the PKK.
Sixth: The United States encouraged the democratic activities being carried out by the Justice Party to cross the forbidden lines that the secular Kemalists are unable to withstand. The army that regards itself as the guardian of the Kemalist secularism uses the following four means to exercise its complete hold on the state affairs which are not to be infringed upon:
The post of the president of the republic: The president’s position, although has of late become somewhat symbolic, still the army regards it as a legacy of the Ataturk state. The Constitutional Court: Since it is this institution that provides the legitimacy or legal justification for military intervention and annuls laws that it views as unconstitutional or against their interests.
The education establishment: They regard this as vital in order to culture and indoctrinate generations. The National Security Council: They exercise control on this institution through the legitimacy of military intervention.
Now, what happened was that the Justice & Development Party government used democratic means and passed legislations and thus two of its men penetrated the Constitutional Court, thus the total number of judges being 11, and two of them non-supporters of the army, and the Government remains in place. It may be mentioned that the Constitutional Court can take an equal number of members from the military and civilian side.
The government tried and is still making attempts to infiltrate the higher educational establishment (YOK), but has not been able to make any substantial headway in its efforts. The Justice Party government was hitherto content with concentrating on the above three areas, but has now extended its interest in the presidentship of the republic which is a very vital and sensitive post for the army which considers itself as its guardian. Hence the government opted for the democratic route through its majority in the parliament to bring Abdulla Gul to the presidency.
But the army considered it as a major flagrant violation of the forbidden territory and hence confronted the government with threats and other consequences, while at the same time it also worked to thwart the government plan by working on democratic lines. They mobilized people everywhere to drum up support for secular public opinion. The Turkish parliament was meeting in its first session to elect Abdulla Gul as president in the absence of two-thirds of the members. This prompted the Peoples’ Democratic Party to lodge a protest with the Constitutional Court.
Late in the night at 11:15 pm on Friday, 27th April, 2007 C.E a statement was issued by the army chief of staff’s office on its official website on the internet. This statement was unprecedented and surprising, which sent all the media rushing to the website. The statement, among other things said: The crisis regarding the president’s post that has surfaced in the recent days seeks to taint secularism, and the armed forces view this development with deep regret. It must not be forgotten that the Turkish armed forces are the guardians of secularism and are firmly against this development and negative remarks.
Hence the Turkish armed forces will firmly put its stand clear at an opportune time. Let no one have any doubts and misgivings about the resolve of the armed forces. The statement concluded with a hint of indirect threat of military intervention and said: Any one who is opposed to the slogan How cherished is one who says: “I am Turkish”, which was given to us by the respected
Ataturk, the founder of the republic, is an enemy of the republic and shall remain as such. The Turkish armed forces are the protectors of this resolve and shall unflinchingly execute their declared mission which has been entrusted to them by a legal mandate which has cut out its role of protecting the fundamental attributes of the republic.
This statement was issued by the secularists who were not happy with Justice Party at the helm of ruling, but all they could do was observe. What prevented the armed forces from certain military coup, as they had done in the past, was that the United States and the Turkish government had charged the atmosphere with talks of democracy. And rejection of military interventions. , and there were negotiations with the European Union on human rights and freedoms. But for these, the military would have most certainly intervened.
Realising the implications of the statement of the armed forces the previous night, the government on 28th April, 2007 C.E issued a press statement at 3.00pm that tersely rejected the statement of the army.
There were certain remarkable portions in the retaliatory statement of the government: The chief of armed forces of Turkey is legally obliged to take orders from the Prime Minister. etc. The government was clearly decided in rejecting the rather arrogant remarks in the army’s statement; it wanted the army to know that the threat was nominal and not real and that the army was no longer in a position to intervene militarily as had been its practice hitherto. At the same time, the government’s statement was meant to lift the spirits of the party cadre who were shaken by the army’s statement; the government wanted to demonstrate to them that it was still capable of executing its writ.
The government felt that the Constitution court will rule in favour of the army by asking it to prevent the parliament’s session because all but two members of the court were pro-British. That’s what happened; the court decided on the petition of the Democratic People’s Party on 1st May, 2007 C.E annulling the first phase proceedings in the presidential elections and ruled that the presence of a two-thirds quo-rum was essential in each of the three phases of election.
Erdogan and his people had already clarified that they will abide by the ruling of the court. But as they studied the situation in its aftermath, they were enraged at the slap that the ruling had meted out to them. He termed the court ruling as bullet fired upon democracy.
His volte-face and later clarification that it was not directed at the court but at the party chief Denis Baikal who was trying to provoke the court, didn’t help much is softening of his remark.
However, Erdogan was not unfazed; he issued a statement on 1st May, after the court ruling that he will propose to the parliament that the president’s election be held directly by the people as detailed:
– To propose to the parliament to make suitable amendments to the constitution to allow president’s election directly by the people and not by the parliament as is the practice now.
– To modify the tenure of presidency from one term of seven years to two terms each of five years.
– To modify election procedure from the present practice of holding general elections every five years to every four years.
– To modify election laws to reduce the minimum age for a deputy from 30 years as at present to 25 years.
– To reduce parliament quo-rum for all sessions of parliament including the presidential elections from two-thirds attendance to just a simple majority.
The most important constitutional changes proposed were the empowerment of the people to directly elect their president and to reduce the minimum attendance required in parliament from two thirds to a simple majority.
Erdogan thus proposed the modifications to the parliament, but since passage of these requires acceptance by two thirds of members which is 367, while the Justice party enjoys just a simple majority and not two-thirds majority, so the search began to ensure the minimum number of members required for the proposal. The Justice party approached the Motherland Party which has 20 members and with agreement, a two-thirds majority can be achieved.
The Motherland Party was founded by Turgat Ã-zal, but after his assassination, the army tore apart the party, got rid of pro-Ã-zal elements and foisted Mesut Yilmaz as the new president for his pro-British and pro-army stance. In 2002 C.E when it lost the general elections to the Justice Party, Mesut Yilmaz resigned as party president. The Motherland Party then faced a crisis of leadership. Erakan Momajua, a former member of the party during Yilmaz’s period had resigned from it and contested elections under the Justice Party and had become a member of parliament for the Justice party and later even became tourism minister. When the leadership crisis was brewing in the Motherland Party, he held consultations with the party leadership and resigned from the Justice party to join the ranks of Motherland Party and became its president. Although he had won the last elections from the Justice Party, he was not able to vote for its candidate Gul in the presidential elections because of the pressure brought by Mesut Yilmaz’s group in the Motherland Party.
If he could convince his 20 deputies, it would have paved the way for Gul’s election to presidency. For this reason, the people who had elected him from the Justice Party were upset with him and they termed his abstention from voting as stabbing in the back. Now since the parliamentary elections are on cards (22nd July, 2007 C.E), so he used his position as head of the party and convinced party management to vote for the Justice Party proposal to allow direct presidential elections in order to win the next general elections and to satisfy the Justice Party electorates who had elected him previously.
Thus the proposal of the Justice Party for direct presidential elections was passed by ensuring two-thirds voting on 10th May, 2007 C.E. This was another attempt at embarrassing the armed forces and the pro-British secularists. The secular republic since it was founded in Turkey, has failed to endear itself to the Muslim masses who have not accepted the path it treads. Despite having resorted to all forms of violence, repression and ruling with an iron-fist to force people into accepting the regime wholeheartedly, and despite four coups in the last fifty years since the relative political openness after the Second World War, the Muslims have rejected the regimes in all its forms.
Therefore the armed forces and the pro-British secularists can not accept direct election of the president by the people, nor accept other changes in the constitution. Hence they resorted to their last line of defence, and that is the law passed by the parliament’s two-thirds majority, so they enlisted Ahmet Necdet Sezer to execute their plan. It may be recalled that Sezer was president of the republic in 2000 C.E and before that had headed the constituin court. Therefore they expect him to utilise his skills to the hilt and either stall passage of law altogether or at least incorporate suitable changes. It must be noted that though the president can only reject legislation twice, he has other resources at his disposal to hinder legislations.
He may refer them to the constituin court with legal provisions that lawyers can exploit to find ways and means out of it. And if the armed forces are further pushed into a corner, they may even approach the Kurdish Workers Party’s pro-British faction to create a security scenario which
the army may utilise to justify declaration of emergency to thwart direct presidential elections or to refer back the proposals to the parliament for reconsideration of Ordogan’s proposed reforms. On the other hand, the US and the Turkish government will not remain content with their efforts in handling this legal opportunity thrown open to themâ€¦this conflict is hot and both parties will go to any extent and use all the resources at their disposal.
Seventh: After these, the events unfolded as follows:
1. The parliament’s resolution regarding electoral reforms and election of the president were referred to the president which he rejected and referred back to parliament after 15 days which is the period allowed to him under the law.
2. The parliament met on 29th May, 2007 C.E and voted again on the proposed changes a second time and passed the proposal with 369 votes in favour, which is two-thirds majority for a second time.
3. The proposal was sent back to the president and now after a second time, he can not either reject the proposal or refer it back to the parliament for reconsideration. His options now are either to accept them, or seek legal opinion but in such a warped manner that will ensure its failure or he may approach the constitution court to explore a way out. Another option is to utilise the services of the Kurdish Workers Party’s pro-British faction to create a security crisis and use the excuse to clamp a state of emergency. For this they well use Massoud Barazani who is now in Iraq and has been pro-British.
Preliminary signs of such military activity have already started to surface, there has been news of blasts in eastern Ankara on 22nd May, 2007 resulting in seven deaths and the army has attributed them to the Kurdish Workers Party. Next, some 60,000 heavily armed troops with armoured tanks were mobilised and in a state of alert, were dispatched towards the Iraqi borders (Kurdistan).
Thus the armed forces have begun to characterise the atmosphere for the next elections especially by carrying out military exercises in the province of Serenak on 7th June, 2007 using armoured tank guns while the government was trying to conduct elections in an atmosphere of calm. This simply means that the government and the armed forces are working at cross-purpose: the armed forces trying to charge the atmosphere by raising military activity and blowing the PKK threat to the state to embarrass the government in order to create an excuse for a possible military takeover and thereby delay the parliamentary and presidential elections and the status quo firmly with the armed forces.
On the other hand the government is making attempts to soften the atmosphere caused by military’s over-activity and under playing the PKK threat. At the same time, the government has to be careful enough not to let the impression that it is playing with nation’s security. The US on its part is keen not to let the Turkish army intervene in Kurdistan; in fact it violated Turkish airspace while monitoring the Turkish troop’s mobilisation in the area and thus countered the army’s activities in the region. This prompted the chief of staff of the Turkish armed forces to issue a statement on 31st May, 2007 in which he said: (Certain allies) of our country are providing support to the Kurdish rebels in the Anatolia region. In a seminar in Istanbul he added:
Those who teach us about human rights are aiding “terrorism”. This was reported by the French AFP and also reported on the Turkish TV channel. The US Secretary of Defence indirectly refuted this during his address to a security conference held in Singapore on 3rd June, 2007.
In all probability, it is expected that Sezer will use all his power to ensure that failure of the bill that allows direct presidential election for the reasons cited above.
The conflict is wide open to bargaining by both sides until the presidential elections, if the Justice party manages to get a two-thirds majority, it will be able to get its president elected; otherwise Turkey is poised to remain in a state of instability in so far as the president’s post is concerned. The parties may even opt for a compromise solution to end the stalemate:
The armed forces may not impose a president of their choice. The government may back away from direct presidential elections. But such a solution may only soothe the nerves, because the armed forces will not be satisfied if they are not able to get a president to their liking, but since a coup is a rather difficult preposition, they may use heightened military activity to influence the situation.
On the other hand the government is also not likely to let the current favourable situation pass with out getting anything in bargain. This simply means that should the Justice party fail to muster a two-thirds majority in the elections on 22nd July, 2007, the political crisis will persist.
Eighth: The balance of power in the coming elections will be as follows:
It is likely that the three political parties will muster over 10% votes as required and enter parliament: these parties are, the Justice and Development Party (AKP), the people Democratic Party (CHP) and the Democratic Party (DP) which has announced a coalition with the True Path Party (ANAP) and the Motherland Party (DYP).
The Justice Party will most likely win a majority and may even get a two-thirds majority, if it can get sympathy votes by convincing the people of its victimisation and that the pro-British secularists prevented it from getting its president in the parliament. Also it needs to convince people that Sezer refused to sign the bill for direct presidential elections though it was passed by the parliament with a two-thirds majority. The Justice Party also has to cite the political and economic performance which is being supported by America.
If it can convince the Islamic electorates who elected them earlier that it is not merely pretending to be Islamic and it was because of lack of majority that it could not even remove the ban on Khimar, it could a muster two-thirds majority. But what has been apparent recently is that its candidates are trying to please the secularists, and this can affect its margin of victory.
The People’s Democratic Party will most likely not have any problems in surpassing 10% barrier to enter parliament. But the number of seats it can garner will depend on the coalition that it can muster with the Left Democratic Party (DSP) and other parties of the left, which the army also wants it to. Which means that the Democratic Party returns to the era before Denis Baikal’s split with Bulent Ecevit.
But Rahshan Ecevit, the wife of Bulent Ecevit and titular head of the DSP is hindering such an alliance. Although it is more likely that she is trying to delay rather than stall an alliance with the aim of garnering favourable public opinion and to bargain with the Peoples Democratic Party for the seat sharing after the elections.
Though the Peoples Democratic Party has agreed to give it 20 seats, there are 60 leaders of the left party vying for a seat in parliament. But in any case if the army can weld together these left factions, together their share will be comparatively higher and will be at the cost of the two-thirds majority that the Justice Party is hoping to win.
The new alliance between the True Path Party and the Motherland Party with name of Democratic Party, (which is the name of Adnan Mondreas’s former party that they have selected as a dramatic tactic to exploit people’s emotions), will not succeed. This is an expedient alliance which may garner sufficient votes to enter parliament if it can remain intact. Already fissures have begun to appear in it, and if it breaks apart, its partners’ chances will be substantially affected.
Then there are other parties whose chances are slim:
The Nationalist Movement (MHP) will most likely cross the barrier to enter parliament and occupy fourth place if it can harness the activities of the Kurdistan Workers Party to arouse nationalistic sympathies of people. Otherwise it will not get enough votes to enter parliament.
The Kurd party (DTP) is not likely to get 10 % votes because as per the estimates of the observers, its sympathisers and voters are just about 7%. It realises this and therefore may take the support of independent candidates.
The Big alliance (BBP) and Erbakan’s SP are together appealing for Islamic votes, ut since they have not entered a coalition, it is unlikely that they will get past the minimum votes required. It is pertinent to mention that any political, economic, military or security related development that may surface now, will adversely affect the above scenario.
Whatever is the situation, the pro-British Kemalist secularists and the pro-US secularists who are trying to lace their secularism with an Islamic touch are both undergoing a real crisis. This is intrinsic to nations where power is shared by a military leadership and a political authority who have differing loyalties. Such nations face two types of crises:
1. Crisis of Coalition: Either the crisis is between the alliance partners over their differences or there is misunderstanding between the coalition government and the armed forces. If the crisis is between the coalition partners and it remains unresolved, the government disintegrates and falls. The crisis is solved wither y forming a new alliance or by going for early elections. If the conflict is between the coalition government and the armed forces and remains unresolved, then military intervention occurs as had happened on 28th February, 1997 and earlier in 1960, 1971 and 1980 C.E.
2. Crisis of a single party government: In such a case, either the party may be faction-ridden, or the conflict may be between the party and the armed forces. If the factional infighting can not be resolved, then the negative elements may have to be purged or the largest and most powerful faction forms its government or calls for early elections. But if the conflict is between the party as a whole and the armed forces, then it results in a grave crisis, leading to military take-over. This is how the current crisis is, between a single party government (Justice Party) and the armed forces. This crisis will remain active and hot until either a new power equation develops or the army consolidates its power by military means or by way of creating an emergency scenario.
Alternatively, the government consolidates its grip by harnessing international situation to its advantage and countering the emergency situation that the army is trying to precipitate.
1. The reality is a hot crisis between the pro-British Kemalist secularists led by the armed forces that is bent upon keeping the presidency for its man, trying to hold the National Security council under its influence and trying to prevent infiltration of the constitution court, and the pro-US secularists who are trying to hide their secular agenda with a touch of Islam to appeal to the Muslim masses.
That is because of pro-British secularists’ hate for Islam which the Muslims reject. This is to weaken the army’s hold in Turkey and to expand the government’s penetration of the National Security Council and then to enter the pro-British army’s fort even in a small way. The government also hopes to expand its penetration in the constitution court and clip the wings of the army in having its man as president.
2. The Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) is split into two factions: The pro British faction who is supported by the army to create a security crisis that can be exploited by it to counter the efforts of the government that is trying to push the army in a tight corner. This can be achieved by turning the conflict into a military one as they have done now by despatching troops to the Iraqi borders. The other faction is the pro-US one that is trying to keep the conflict in political terms in order to aid the pro-US government.
3. The issue of the republic’s president will remain pending until after the parliamentary elections scheduled for 22nd July, 2007 and based on its results, the issue will be resolved accordingly.
22nd, Jamada al Ulaa, 1428 A.H
8th June, 2007 C.E.
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