and how the west is deep asleep in the matrix.
MHP.s move to protect military seen as dangerous by observers
Nationalist Movement Party leader Devlet Bahçeli addressed deputies at his party.s parliamentary group meeting yesterday, saying it is high time for general elections. As the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) renewed its party program which includes its defense of the Turkish military, it also started a new debate regarding the role of political parties and how far they can go in their efforts to influence public opinion.
Approved in November, the MHP.s program has ambitious plans like making Turkey a leader in the world by 2023. Its program touches upon various controversial issues including changing the Constitution to allow more freedoms. Another issue taken up in the MHP.s program is to be against party closures except the closure of parties which support violence to reach their goals. The party also backs the removal of parliamentary immunity for deputies, bringing in individual responsibility for their acts. It also makes candidacy for the leadership of the party more difficult but being elected as party leader more than five times has been made easier.
But the most discussed issue in the MHP.s new program is its defense of the Turkish military; it stated that the party will .not give an opportunity to efforts to diminish. the Turkish Military Forces (TSK).
.We will not give an opportunity to efforts to diminish the Turkish military, which has a 2,000 year past and has respect in the psyche of the Turkish nation, neither in the domestic or international arena by indiscriminately making it a topic of polemic,. stated the MHP.s party program.
Professor Vedat Bilgin, MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli.s adviser, said that even though the new party program was approved in November, the new developments have shown that the party was right.
.Looking at the recent developments, we can say that the MHP.s foresight was accurate,. he told Ak.am daily which broke the story on Monday regarding the party.s reference to the TSK in its program.
High time for elections, MHP leader says
Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli has said the time to test whether the public support of the ruling Justice and Development Party.s (AK Party) pledges in the 2007 general elections continues or not has come.
Bahçeli addressed deputies at his party.s parliamentary group meeting yesterday, arguing that the problems Turkey faces today stem from the fact that those who are not honest, sincere or qualified to govern the country are in power. .It is no longer possible for Turkey to carry this burden. Now, the only way forward is to appeal to the public will,. he said.
Criticizing the government.s policies adopted in 2009, Bahçeli said the nation would probably experience the adverse results of these policies in 2010. Bahçeli referred to the government.s democratic initiative to settle Turkey.s long-standing Kurdish issue and said the country is heading towards a crossroads for its future. .The dangerous road, upon which the government insists on continuing, is likely to bring outcomes worse than those in the past,. he claimed. Noting that Turkey is passing through a very dangerous period, Bahçeli also referenced a recent alleged assassination plot against Deputy Prime Minsiter Bülent Ar.nç, saying: .The country is under the threat of an assassination. And the target of this assassination is national unity and brotherhood..
Bahçeli, who was pessimistic about 2010, said it will be a repetition of AK Party.s past years of failure and claimed that the AK Party would continue to implement a dangerous model of politics in order to fulfill pet projects of the US and the European Union. He also argued that the government is to take steps to realize .impositions of the terrorist Kurdistan Workers. Party [PKK]. and that these steps would also include constitutional changes. Ankara Today.s Zaman
Tunca Toskay, the MHP.s deputy president, said that the TSK is one of the most important institutions of Turkey.
.Drawing it into daily politics hurts the institution. Traditionally, the MHP has always defended the idea that the TSK should not be a tool in domestic politics,. he said as quoted in the Ak.am daily yesterday.
Deputy Chairman of the MHP parliamentary group, Mehmet .and.r, was blunter in his comments.
.It is apparent that there is an effort to discredit and accuse people and institutions which fight against the PKK [outlawed Kurdistan Workers. Party],. he said. .I also mean Ergenekon, we can.t say that the process is innocent..
He was referring to the ongoing probe into the Ergenekon criminal network accused of plotting to overthrow the government. Since the start of the investigation, various weapons. discoveries have put the Turkish military in a tough spot. Some supplies of munitions have been found hidden in shanty houses or buried underground and although most of them have been taken from the TSK.s arms depots, the military has been quiet about these discoveries other than denying that it had anything to do with hiding the weapons.
There is also unease since retired generals and other active officers were also detained along with others as part of the probe. The retired generals all served in the late .90s and are known for having played key roles in the process of Feb. 28, 1997, which began when the government was forced to resign as a result of an unarmed military intervention launched on that day.
What is the MHP trying to do?
Security analyst Sedat Laçiner said that the MHP is trying to reap political benefits from the polarization which has been formed over the military in society.
.It is trying to give the impression that the government is against the military and the MHP is protecting the military,. said Laçiner, head of the Ankara-based International Strategic Research Organization (ISRO/USAK).
He told Today.s Zaman that the MHP has so far taken a neutral stance against the Ergenekon investigation which might help to eliminate formations like Gladio, a NATO paramilitary force left over from the Cold War.
.But with this move, the MHP has declared that it is against the probe into Ergenekon undertaken against the innocent military,. Laçiner said.
When asked by Today.s Zaman about the MHP.s intentions, political scientist Mümtaz.er Türköne said that the MHP.s declaration is indeed about how it sees the TSK.
.Apparently, the MHP sees the Turkish military as a political actor. It should not be militaries that protect countries but the rule of law. Military forces which act in line with the rule of law should protect countries. And militaries should not be protected by political parties but laws. Political parties have a responsibility to protect the rule of law,. he added.
This move by the MHP might be dangerous for the country he also said because it implies a situation: the ones who love and protect the military against the ones who do not love and protect the military.
.Having the military in a political debate would hurt democracy,. he said.
But the MHP officials point out the same thing as they say that the military should not be drawn into daily politics.
.The problem is that the TSK is in the political arena. It should move out of this area,. he said referring to Chief of General Staff Gen. .lker Ba.bu..s press conference on the frigate TGC Oruç Reis in December. Gen. Ba.bu. had said that there was a psychological war being waged against the TSK following the detention of two military officers in relation to an alleged plot to assassinate Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Ar.nç.
Laçiner also said that the MHP.s move would jeopardize the country.s security.
.It would be MSK instead of TSK in time if the debate goes on,. he said and added that the only way out of this situation is having a fully functioning and trustworthy judiciary.
He warned that even though there have been a number of detentions and arrests as part of the Ergenekon investigation, there are more tentacles of Ergenekon outside -- even in political parties -- than inside jails.
Meanwhile, opposition Republican People.s Party leader Deniz Baykal told Ak.am daily that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) is behind the movement against the TSK.
.It is not possible to accept the move against the TSK as natural and normal,. he said.
06 January 2010, Wednesday
YONCA POYRAZ DO.AN .STANBUL
.Calling everything a .state secret. not conforming to democracy.
Felice Casson Legendary Italian prosecutor Felice Casson, who prosecuted members of Operation Gladio, a NATO stay-behind paramilitary force left over from the Cold War, has said calling everything a .state secret. does not conform to the principles of democracy as democracy means transparency and abiding by the law.
In an interview with the Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Casson said: .Democracy is transparency and complying with the law. You would not comply with democracy by calling everything a .state secret.. Such a mindset would allow anyone to do anything and hinder shedding light on things done..
The prosecutor.s remarks came as criticism of Italy.s Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.s intervention to defend a former spy chief accused of being part of an illegal espionage ring. Marco Mancini, a former No. 2 official in the military intelligence agency SISMI, was among the many arrested in a probe into a spy ring suspected of snooping on Italy.s elite by using data from phone records.
Berlusconi wrote to the judge conforming that .state secret. issues existed in the case. Berlusconi.s letter will likely allow Mancini to avoid trial.
.By doing so, Berlusconi gave a clear message. Intelligence services can do anything they want because they will finally escape trial by claiming that what they did constitutes a state secret,. complained Casson. Casson.s criticism of the Italian prime minister has come at a time when Turkey is discussing what constitutes classified documents.
The discussion started because of a civilian search at the headquarters of the Special Forces Command, where confidential military documents are held, as part of a probe into a suspected military plot to assassinate Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Ar.nç. Two military officers were captured last month as they stood watch near Ar.nç.s house in Ankara.s Çukurambar neighborhood.
.Democracy has to be transparent. State secrets may be kept secret for some time, but should be made public later. We should not forget that Italy witnessed many tragedies because of state secrets,. Casson remarked.
Casson, currently a senator in the Italian Parliament, discovered that explosives used in an attack that killed three gendarmerie officers in Pateano in 1972 were provided by an arms depot belonging to a secret organization. As the investigation developed, the existence of an organization named Gladio was discovered. In the course of the ensuing investigation, 622 Gladio members, including two people who served as prime minister and president, were exposed as well.
The prosecutor also called on Berlusconi to explain why he claimed that state secrets were an issue in the .espionage. case.
.Berlusconi frequently uses the term .state secrets.. He should explain to the commission why he said the case involved issues of state secrets. Shady activities such as the categorization of hundreds of people by illegal means should absolutely be illuminated. The .state secret. defense should not be used to hamper the judiciary. We should also consider taking the issue to the Constitutional Court,. Casson added.
08 January 2010, Friday
TODAY.S ZAMAN .STANBUL