Thoughts following the Catalan Declaration of Independence

Today is a historical day in many aspects. We will test (although a modified version of) the democratic peace theory. We will test if the EU really has values which shape politics, not that politics shape the values (or lead to temporary and changeable values). We will test the clash between legality and legitimacy. And we will see if a developed country can get into armed conflict (i.e. any sort of civil war or large-scale suppression as we see in Turkey, for example).

First let us look at the main hypocrisy. While supporting Kosovo in their declaration of independence from Serbia in 2008, today the big guy of the EU, Jean-Claude Juncker, said that the EU “doesn’t need any more cracks, more splits”1. Why did they support Kosovo, and why are they against Catalonia? In 2008, there was no immediate problem in Kosovo so that independence would be vital or highly necessary, as is not the case today (which is not to say that there was the prospect of a long-lasting peace in Kosovo, as there is not in Bosnia and Herzegovina today). Why having a “value” yesterday which is different than today?

Do Human Rights Actually Exist?

“… one reason why governments found it possible to accept the principle of international concern for human rights [the Universal Declaration of Human Rights] was the expectation that the UN would respect the domestic jurisdiction of states by refraining from intervention in their internal affairs. The declaration, which lacks provisions for implementation and in any event does not have the legal force of a treaty, was compatible with this expectation: it professes to state ‘a common standard of aspiration,’ not a set of enforceable commitments”1.

We like to talk about human rights a lot, but we do not know what should be done when a country does not fulfill its duty and respect the rights of its citizens. The problem, as things stand, and as detailed as I can put, is this:

  1. Every human being has inalienable rights.
  2. Because of the existing world-system, there exists states.
  3. Every human being is FORCED TO have a citizenship, i.e. a legally binding relationship, with (at least) one of these states.
  4. Theoretically we assume that we need states for order and security. Therefore states are assumed to protect (first and foremost) bodily integrity of its citizens.
  5. Yet, as mentioned at #1, human beings have more than only the right to life.
  6. The states are supposed to not only protect but also provide each and every right human beings have.


Couple of days ago I was out in the night. It was, if my memory is correct, around 12:30 past midnight, and I was walking on one of the main streets of Tbilisi, Davit Aghmashenebeli Avenue, behind a girl for around 10 minutes. I was simply following her.

On the corner of the metro station, she turned left. And I followed. She crossed to the other side of the street. I don’t know why exactly, but I could not dare to cross the street with her. But I kept following.

We passed one street. Another. Another. In front of a Russian Orthodox Church, she stopped. Knowing not what to do, I took my mobile out of my pocket and checked as if someone would call me at that hour. She made the sign of the cross to show respect, which apparently is a newly invented Georgian tradition, and went on walking – with me behind.

She, in the end, took one of the streets. I waited there for a minute or two, watching her walking probably to her home, and started walking back to my guesthouse in the end.

I did not say a word to her. I did not touch. I did not try to do anything to her. I was following two other guys, who actually were following her, in case that they would dare to do anything to her. Yes, it was around the center of the city, but who would know?

Why are There so many Terrorists in Turkey?

If you are interested in Turkey or Turkish politics, you might have seen that we have tons of terrorists – including, I believe, even me. But why do we have so many terrorists? Is it normal for a country to have that much terrorists?

Well, of course it is not normal to have a lot of terrorists in a country. The problem is found in Turkish anti-terror law, 3713, article 2. This article reads as follows1:

Those Experts on Turkey…

The more I read analyses about and on Turkey, the more I am convinced that either a) looking from Europe and/or the US, Turkey seems totally different than what it is, or b) those experts and analysts in Europe and/or the US have absolutely no knowledge on at least one of the following: Turkey, political science, sociology, Islam.

The last opinion I read (five minutes ago) is written by Kersten Knipp at DW, and it was no less stupid than the previous ones. Here I want to go over his article, and say a couple of things. The bold parts are from his article, and below are my responses to these parts.

Are Populists Democrat?

According to Takis Pappas, an expert on populism and one of my former professors, populism can be defined simply as illiberal democracy. The populist leaders believe, according to him, in democracy, and are found in democratic systems, yet they defend a form of democracy in which liberal values are not in place.

Can one be democrat if she is not liberal? The answer is a simple and plain no. In this short essay, I aim to briefly show why this is the case.

Was Erdogan’s Seizure of Power Legal?

Carl Schmitt’s Question of Legality starts with a tempting question: why did the German civil service follow Hitler (2001, p. 56)? His answer, which is as short and as tempting, is simple: “because in the eyes of the German civil service, Hitler’s seizure of power was not illegal”. Continuing, he wrote that

“Nor was it so for the large majority of the German people, and equally so for the foreign governments which continued to maintain their diplomatic relations without considering it necessary to proceed to a new recognition, according to international law, which would have been necessary in a case of illegality. Likewise, there was no German government in opposition to Hitler” (p. 57).

From the legal standpoint, Schmitt’s argument is well-defensible. It should be noted that the question does not allow discussing the legitimacy of Hitler’s acts, as it does not allow discussing later events.

Seventy years after Hitler, another person with similar traits seized power — this time in Turkey: Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Keeping the question untouched, can we say the same about Erdogan as Schmitt did about Hitler?

In this essay, I argue that no, we cannot say that Erdogan’s seizure of power was legal but it was forced to be legal by two frauds — which caused illegality.

A Reaction against Illegal and Illegitimate Turkish Government?

On April 16, Turkey held a referendum. Probably the first of its kind, the voters did not receive any questions. As well as approving Sultanate of Tayyip, they could have voted for a more effective global warming or to make America great again. One reaction to this referendum is priceless.

On May 29, Parliamentary Assembly of Council of Europe published the observation report regarding the referendum. 58 articles long, even if not detailed enough, this report covered issues from Turkish election system to referendum day and, overall, could have been a good report if it was not concluded with one of the most hypocritical conclusions I have ever read.

Turkey from 2007 to 2017: An Introduction

In 2007, Turkey elected its new President, Abdullah Gül. He is presented as “the first Muslim President of Turkey”, which meant all of the following, and all at the same time:

  1. The previous presidents were not Muslim.
  2. They were not Muslims because of the system of the country.
  3. This system will be taken down.
  4. The identity of Republic of Turkey will change.
  5. With the new president, Turkey will evolve.
  6. This evolution change will be towards Islamism.
  7. Turkey will not be what it has been so far.

In less than a year, after managing to hold both Presidential and PM offices, the party invented a term, New Turkey (Yeni Türkiye). According to them, in the old Turkey so many bad things happened because of the system and the bad people who were responsible of the system. But this New Turkey was different. It was not the continuation of the old one. It was revolutionary.

Further and Possibly Larger Scale Suppression of the Opposition in Turkey

On the anniversary of the so-called coup attempt and newly invented “day of democracy and national unity“, so-called Turkish President Erdogan said “we lost 250 heroes in the night of 15 July [coup attempt], but saved the future of 50 million Turks“. According to Turkstat, population of Turkey in 2016 was 79.814.871, excluding Syrian refugees and immigrants who are to be given citizenship as long as 5 years have passed since their entry to Turkey, regardless of any other criteria.

Erdogan is famous with making strange comments and arguments. Generally, next day these are followed with corrections by the members of the cabinet or the party. They do not argue that Erdogan was wrong, but we, opponents of him, got him wrong. Yet this time there still is no correction, which makes us believe that we are discarded, or sacrificed, already.

Whenever we the opposition ask for rights, we are constantly warned that we aim to break a civil war up, and we should stop being the puppets or puppies of external powers. Turkey and Turkish society, for a long time, has been divided into two camps: those that want the good of the country and the people (i.e. supporters of Erdogan), and the others (i.e. opponents of him).

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