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Saturday, July 09, 2011

follow the money - Turkey is doing some


Turkey's purification

To claim that we are witnessing an ongoing process of cleansing in Turkey will not be wrong. This purification means getting rid of the tutelage regime. Through this process, Turkey will be saved from institutional, legal and intellectual impasses standing in the way of establishing a modern and democratic state, governed by rule of law.

During the entire history of the republic, the dominating system narrowed the influence of civilian political life and restricted liberties. This system persisted for a very long time, thanks to the Cold War. The nation was encouraged to support the military tutelage regime to the detriment of civil liberties because they were frightened by the Soviet threat, the Westerners' imperialist aims and the risk of the country becoming divided and falling into civil war.

These kinds of impositions are useless in today's world and that's why the old system is being dismantled. The first step of the purification targeted the military and militaristic circles who have occupied the forefront since the republic's early years. These circles were always busy elaborating coup plans and creating conditions which were driving people to accept these coups. Most of their misdeeds have now been uncovered.

As all political systems have an economic dimension, changing the old system was bound to provoke change in the country's economy. In modern democratic states, economic life is shaped according to the dynamics of a liberal economy, so in such countries there is no place for prosperous classes or circles directly created by the country's regime. That's why the second phase of Turkey's purification is targeting the old system's moneymaking methods. When a country's regime is not transparent, competitive and free, citizens have no way of knowing who is getting the biggest slice of the cake. Besides, those who want to maintain an authoritarian regime must not only have the arms under their control, but also monetary and material sources. That's why, once the political dimensions of the old system is exposed, the economic one must be brought to light too.

What happened in Italy remains the most memorable example in this context. There, the eradication of Gladio was followed by match-fixing probes. Almost the same thing is happening now in Turkey. The authoritarian structures have shielded many economic sectors and nobody was able to really monitor the flow of money. We are talking about colossal sums of money when we talk about football and while the system is becoming more transparent, the shield protecting the sport is also becoming more permeable. This doesn't mean that the current match-fixing probe is connected to the Ergenekon case. However, both exist thanks to the efforts of making the system more accountable, participatory and transparent.

The third leg of the purification must concern elected officials who support the old system. Some politicians occupy their posts thanks to democracy, but they keep supporting the authoritarian actors. Those who are opposed to transparency and openness and those who have benefited from the tutelage regime politically and economically until now have not yet been totally exposed. We feel that their turn is coming slowly but surely.

Nevertheless, the purification processes carry the clues about the new system too. Dismantling procedures shouldn't be marked by mistakes which may cast doubt on the establishment of a totally democratic system. Excessively long trials, a legal system suspected of having double standards, discriminatory and intolerant declarations may provoke interrogations about the future.

Let's hope that Turkey's purification process ends successfully, with swift convictions for the guilty ones and just punishments which will satisfy the public conscience.

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