MESOP COMMENTARY – NURAY MERT : Masters of chutzpa & politics of hostage (PKK & AKP)

17-1-2013 – What we are witnessing nowadays deserves to be called a profound “scandal” rather than political crises, or a political scandal which has turned into major political crises in Turkey. There is no need to repeat how it started with corruption charges. What is more important is how the government responded to scandals and crises, since the crises lie at the heart of its response. After all, the government on one hand, responded by obscuring judicial processes, removing police chiefs and prosecutors from office and finally attempting to pass a new law to ensure full executive control over the judiciary.

On the other hand, the government party responded to the crises with invoking a grand narrative of “global attack on Turkey and its native collaborative,” and that it is an attempt of judicial coup against the government by a “parallel state,” i.e. the Gülen movement (cemaat). It sounds like an unbelievable chutzpa, but unfortunately it seems to work. Some of those who have long been skeptical of the Gülen movement seem to be happy about the government’s offensive against the movement and give tacit support to the Justice and Development Party (AKP). They seem to dismiss the fact that the Gülen movement took its power from the current AKP rule. What is more worrying is to see that even some democrats and intellectuals who have been arch critics of AKP, do not bother about the legality and democratic legitimacy of AKP’s methods to eliminate the Gülen movement as long as they see the Gülen movement as more “dangerous” than anything.

What is worse is the attitude of the Kurdish political movement. Despite the fact that they do not spare the government from criticism, it seems that they still think that the governing party is a better evil than Cemaat. It is true that the Cemaat tried hard to obscure the peace process starting from Oslo talks between MIT and the (outlawed) Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK.) That is why the government is using this fact, to survive the crises by once more manipulating the Kurdish movement against Cemaat and reminding that if the government is weakened, it will also mean the end of the so-called ”peace process.”

I think it will be a major miscalculation on behalf of Kurds to respond to the call of AKP’s manipulation, since AKP lost its legitimacy as a political actor to solve the Kurdish problem. Besides, from the beginning of the last peace process which started with talks with (PKK’s jailed leader Abdullah) Öcalan in İmralı, AKP took the Kurdish problem ”hostage.” The government party has long sought and got credit by presenting itself as the sole power to solve the Kurdish problem and managed to use the Kurdish issue as an excuse for all its misdeeds. In fact, the governing party did also take the hope for ”democratization” hostage in a similar way.

Despite the fact that the government backs the last verdict on Roboski which cleans the Army’s responsibility of the massacre and governments’ reluctance for taking a series of measures to improve the peace process, AKP manages to blame Cemaat even for the Roboski incident. In fact, it was the PM who hurried to cherish the Chief Staff right after the Roboski massacre, and it was his supporters who accused those who were killed rather than the killers. Indeed, AKP is a master of chutzpa in every field.
Nevertheless, it is not only AKP’s mastership, but also a grand ”confusion of mind” which paves the way for the governing party to manipulate facts and fictions. After all, this is a country where conspiracy theories are more credited than sober thinking and the Kurds are parts and parcels of this society. The recent statement by the co-president of KCK, indeed proves the point, for she infamously declared that ”the parallel state is in the center of politics and the Israeli lobby, Armenian and
Greek nationalists are all parts of the parallel state”.

Pity the nation! Or perhaps, pity the nations! Unless the democrats in general and Kurds in particular start to question ”the politics of the hostage” by the government and to rescue themselves from it, this country will witness more scandals, more crises, more chaos and further authoritarianism.