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?

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).

Forthcoming Turkish Civil War

In March 2016, I wrote that things are not going well in Turkey, and will eventually become worse. It will be to the extent that it will be Turkish migrants, as it was Syrians, that were trying to flee to Europe to make sure of their lives.

The agenda I had in mind back then was like this: there was a proposed change of constitution. It would, I thought, take two years to finish and be ratified at the parliament or referendum. Because the constitutional change was aimed to make Erdogan more powerful than Ottoman sultans, this would be an unpleasant process. Meanwhile, through the end of the process, I expected a civil war to start, and the country to be torn apart.

Past 10 months have proven me wrong. Things became even crazier than I expected. In 20 months, 25 bombs exploded and terrorist attacks were held. There is an economic crisis which, at least in the forthcoming year, will not see any measures taken against. The groups in society are even more separated and alienated from each other due to a number of reasons. There was a so-called unsuccessful coup attempt, which resulted with measures and acts that even I, someone who thinks that knows, more or less, what these guys can do, did not expect. In the so-called fight against an Islamist group, I have seen leftist and anarchist people being kicked out of civil service.

The Forthcoming Turkish Refugees

“The breakdown of the Kurdish peace process and extended security operations in the south east, along with nationwide repression of critics, political opposition and media perceived as hostile to the government, may soon add Turkish nationals to the refugee flows.1

Last summer, when the photograph of the dead body of the little Syrian child, Aylan, hit the front pages of newspapers, I made a comment at a forum, more or less, something like this: I cannot feel sorry for this child because when I saw that little body hit ashore, dead, what I could think of is only that “soon it will be our own children that will replace him. I feel more sorry for them”.

Before last summer, especially since 2011, I am telling people that we are going for a civil war and destruction. If Turkey will be so God damn lucky, it has a life of 15 years most. Now the 5 years of it have passed and we have 10 left. Four things needed urgent solution yet neither of them were solved and a fifth one is added: 1) the earthquake that will hit Istanbul, 2) increasing separatist and discriminating discourse on the Kurdish issue, 3) non-producing economy, 4) increasing discriminating discourse in everyday life between, even, relatives, and, the newly added one, 5) lack of control and integration of the Syrian refugees.

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