Turkey’s Wall cracks from its foundations (2) Berlin
Veteran Journalist Hasan Cemal, whose most recent book, “Türkiye’nin Asker Sorunu” (Turkey’s Military Problem), hit the shelves last week, has said that there is a serious struggle for democracy and the rule of law, a struggle for change and a struggle between old and new in Turkey, leading to cracks in its foundations.
“The status quo forces do resist.
here and how do they do that? Look at the high judiciary. Both the
Elaborating on military-civilian relations in
When it comes to military-civilian relations, you give a lot of credit to the Ergenekon investigation, but there are people who say it is nonsense. There is, for example, Gareth Jenkins, who argues in that direction in addition to some Turkish observers. What do you say about them?
The status quo forces are trying to protect themselves in
Would that be enough?
If they read it, and if they still question Ergenekon, I don’t have anything to tell them. We can’t stop people from saying things within the context of freedom of speech in a democracy. But they should also have a look at the recent history of
That’s what I was going to ask.
If all of these were special fabrications, then we wouldn’t even have the “T” of the Taraf daily, they would have razed Taraf to the ground. As the chief of General Staff put it, if some of the documents were just a “piece of paper,” we would not see Taraf anywhere today. Considering the recent past of Turkish political history, nobody should try to water down the Ergenekon trial because that would not be convincing. I should also say that there is justifiable criticism because of absurdities in the Ergenekon trial as far as the judicial processes have been concerned, and as in the examples of Balbay and [Tuncay] Özkan, the detention periods have been transformed into punishment. But just because of those examples, nobody should underestimate the importance of that trial. The Ergenekon process and trial are significant because the activities of supporting juntas and coups have been put on trial for the first time in
Why do you think that way?
‘Prime minister casts too great a shadow over the press’
You write in your book that on the morning of April 28, 2008, the Turkish press, which had given the military’s memorandum big headlines, did not have any signs reminiscent of El Pais. With that you recall the opposition of El Pais to the military and which threatened the military in Feb. 1981 in
It would have a much more democratic attitude. The reaction would be more democratic in both individual columnists and newspapers. A lot of newspapers would have the headline “Hey military, don’t mess with politics.” Compared to 2007, more commentators would speak up on television and present a democratic attitude.
If the military comes under civilian rule, can we call this a complete democracy? Would civilianization mean democratization?
We should always take this into consideration: You can establish a civilian structure, in which [Prime Minister Recep] Tayyip Erdoğan comes with the support of the military, and he might have been elected, but he could end press freedom. I believe Erdoğan has too great a shadow over the press. I criticize Erdoğan, evaluating him from the viewpoint of democracy. And I see that he has authoritarian tendencies that come with the power he has as a single-party government. This is important. Still, his pluses are more than his minuses, but his shadow over the press is too great.
A Wall Street Journal news article was saying recently that there is a bloodless civil war in
Bloody or bloodless civil war is not pleasant. In
Islamophobia, prejudices related to Islam play a big role here. In
‘Prime minister needs to do some delicate balancing’
What do you think about
There is also a part of society in
These are genuine fears. There are uneasy feelings. And there are things that the government needs to do. Therefore, the government needs to open up to the outside world. There need to be some gestures. There are things that seem as though the government’s only criterion for appointments is to have officials whose wives wear headscarves. Is this intentional? Aren’t there people who can do the same job in
What about the