By İhsan Yılmaz, Sunday's Zaman
It is obvious that the message to be given by the people in the upcoming elections will for the most part concern democracy in line with the Copenhagen criteria and civilian-military relations. This expression should be carefully analyzed by both domestic and foreign players.
It is, of course, easier to manipulate a non-democratic country -- the only thing you need to do is convince the ruling elite. We saw this in the case of Greece's return to NATO's military wing under the Rogers Plan after simply convincing our military ruler, Gen. Kenan Evren. But the people have tasted democracy, enjoyed it and are now wondering only what a more robust democracy might be like.
It seems that many domestic and foreign players, including the US and many EU countries, are not really aware of the effects of globalization and the information age. For nearly the last two decades every home across Turkey, even in villages, has been connected to the world via television. In the UK there are only five national terrestrial stations but Turkey can boast more than 10 such stations and hundreds of regional stations. Turkish people may not have the money to buy newspapers, but they continue to watch TV. And, unlike the US, these TV stations discuss domestic and international political issues, increasing the politicization of the society and the transparency of Turkish politics. In every coffeehouse politics is the prime issue. This can be easily understood by just looking at the way pre-election psychological warfare was ineffective. Now it is high time to digest it as well.
The US should accept that Turks are no less intelligent than Americans and that they too try to understand and analyze the world as it is. Furthermore, they do not want a second-class democracy. Thus the election message should be enough for the US to understand that impartiality between a democratically elected government and a coup-threatening military is silly and does not benefit US interests.
The same is also true for our terrorist-loving European allies and partners. They need to know that both the world and Turkish society -- particularly the Muslim world, including second and third-generation Muslims in the West -- are closely monitoring their treatment of Turkey. I am not only talking about the double standards applied to Turkey vis-à-vis accession talks. Almost all major European governments have allowed the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and its terrorists to "peacefully coexist" in one form or another in their countries. Even the UK, the champion of Turkey's EU membership, has done almost nothing -- a short trip to North London will explain what I mean. Yet, if the West wants to win the hearts and minds of Muslims all over the world (including their citizens), they should first accept that not only Turks but also all Muslims are closely watching the West's treatment of Turkey. The message given in the elections will demonstrate that Turks are fed up with PKK terrorism's abuse and the attempts at psychological warfare on domestic and foreign players.
A message will also be given to the new government that they should digest and try to implement the Copenhagen criteria as soon as possible. In the next election the military may not be helpful to them. A civil constitution should be put together in less than two years as judicial reform is not only essential but also vital in the struggle against corruption and movement toward a fuller democracy. A reform of government intelligence and expansion is also absolutely necessary to protect our vulnerable democracy and to fight against official and unofficial mafia, corruption, terror gangs and our allies.
Güncelleme Tarihi: 22 Temmuz 2007, 10:04