President Obama's job, or the losing candidate's, is to ensure a peaceful transition. Obama called for grace, humility, civility in his transition speech, and Hillary Clinton demonstrated in her concession speech. Our role is to organize, to hope for the best but more importantly, prepare for the worst. It was our faith that our fellow citizens believed in higher ideals than they do that cost us this election.
Freedom of speech and assembly is not what makes America great. What makes America great is our sense of civic duty to use those freedoms to enact change when we fall off course.
Social protest to enact this change is not "losing it," it is not "lowering ourselves," and our emotions in confronting it should not be conflated with the displays of intolerance and indecency during the Trump presidential campaign. Period.
My being disheartened, sickened even, by the support shown for Trump in America is not disgraceful nor can it be compared with his supporters' behavior that is is either passively supporting or actively condoning violations of the Bill of Rights. My wanting to voice that out loud is not uncivil, nor can it be compared with Trump's careless and cruel discourse and conduct, campaign-related or otherwise.
It's my constitutional duty. This behavior wasn't okay in politics before Obama took office, it's not okay after Obama's tenure ends, and it's not okay even if 25% of the country voted for it, or overlooked it, and voted for Trump anyway. It's unconstitutional.
So, fellow Americans: Call for black people not to get killed. Call for women not to get assaulted. Call for Muslims and Jews not to be the target of hate crime. Call for the right to choose, the right to a decent life, the right not to be preyed upon by unregulated finance gone wrong. Call for something. Act, raise your voice, speak without fear. I think we're all there by now.
But if we ask people, or encourage them, to question their reaction to Trump's election, we're asking them to second guess themselves. To me, that reminds me of what much of society does to sexual assault survivors. Why do I know this? Because I am one (and because of research). Why do we do this? Because sexual assault is extremely unpleasant, and because we'd rather it didn't happen. But it did.
A Trump Presidency was rated in the top ten global security risks of 2016 by established centrist organizations (e.g. The Economist). Trump has demonstrated no reverence for either the institution of the Presidency nor for our government in service of the people. He has verbally assured us that he doesn't respect people with disabilities, women, and those who immigrate. He condoned violation of our bodies. Why would we ask someone to face this with grace and humility?
We ask leadership to. We watched Hillary Clinton do that, and the nation continues to crucify her.
President Obama's job is to say everything is okay. Our job is to make the change so that it actually maybe is. But make no mistake -- it is no one's job to say, "Don't you think maybe everything's okay?". When anyone, anywhere, might walk down the street tomorrow and get attacked for who they are, it's not okay.
And we aren't allowed to normalize it.
Potential implications of the attempted coup d’etat and counter-coup in Turkey for domestic politics and regional security
Republished from the START Discussion Points Forum with permission: The following is part of a series of thought pieces authored by members of the START Consortium. These editorial columns reflect the opinions of the author(s), and not necessarily the opinions of the START Consortium. This series is penned by scholars who have grappled with complicated and often politicized topics, and our hope is that they will foster thoughtful reflection and discussion by professionals and students alike.
Late Friday evening on July 15, 2016, Turkish soldiers shut down down bridges crossing the Bosphorus in Istanbul and flew jets low in the skies over Ankara, Istanbul, and other cities. Sonic booms were indistinguishable from explosions throughout the night. The Parliament building, the Türksat telecommunications building, and the headquarters of the police special operations, or the Jandarma, were bombed. Attacks were attempted at the headquarters of the General Staff, the headquarters of Turkish intelligence (MİT), the Presidential Palace, and the hotel where President Erdoğan was staying on the coast in Marmaris, among others – including attacks on the street between soldiers, police, and civilians. Nearly 300 soldiers and civilians lost their lives: 179 civilians, 62 police officers, 5 soldiers and 24 pro-coup soldiers. The count of wounded is estimated to be between two and three thousand.
Beginning that day and continuing for weeks after, the government made calls to action made to citizens to remain vigilant against coup plotters. These calls emanated from mosques and were delivered through nation-wide SMS messages. Initiated by the state and by citizens, this movement to counter the coup has come to be known as demokrasi nöbeti, or the “democracy guard.”
Five days after the coup attempt started, on July 20, 2016, under Articles 119 and 120 of the Turkish Constitution, the government issued a decree for olağanüstü hal, or OHAL, putting a state of emergency rule into effect for three months. It also suspended the European Convention on Human Rights. OHAL grants extensive executive powers to the President and Cabinet that reverse the ordinary parliamentary legislative process. Under OHAL, the President proposes legislation for possible approval by the Parliament in the same day. OHAL was to be used in the state’s effort to prevent another coup attempt. Emergency rule curtails citizens’ rights to speech, expression, assembly, mobility, privacy, civic activity, and employment.
In early October 2016, the government extended the state of emergency for another three months.
Some have noted that, viewed from afar, the Turkish government’s epic response to the putsch constitutes a violent overthrow of the military and political order itself. A mass-scale counter-coup response and reorganization of the military and public sector followed the failed coup attempt. 104,914 have been dismissed from their positions in the public or private sector, 50,979 have been detained, and 27,329 have been arrested, including 120 journalists. Convicted prisoners have been released to make room for them in penitentiaries.
From the military, 149 generals, or nearly 46%, were discharged, including two four-star generals, nine lieutenant generals, 30 major generals and vice admirals, and 126 brigadier generals and rear admirals. 4,618 military officers were discharged. 8,777 were dismissed from the Ministry of the Interior, and 7,669 were dismissed from the Security General Directorate. These dismissals most severely affected the Turkish Air Force’s combat and tanker pilots, the Special Forces Command, the Land Force’s aviation units and the navy’s headquarters personnel.
Outside of the military, much of the reorganization has occurred in the education sector, but also in health and civil society. 39,448 public servants from the Ministry of Education were dismissed. 5,070 academics were fired. 1,577 deans were asked to step down. 1,284 schools, 1,125 associations, 800 dormitories, 129 foundations, 35 hospitals, 15 universities, and 19 trade unions were shut down.
180 media outlets, including media agencies, television channels, newspapers, and magazines have been shuttered, and online platforms, providers of services and social media accounts were blocked and continue to be growing numbers. In the media-related public sector positions, 312 were fired from the Turkish Radio and Television Corporation, 196 from the Information and Communication Technologies Authority, 167 from the Ministry of Information, Industry and Technology, 36 from the Turkish Satellite Company (Türksat), and 29 from the Radio and Television Supreme Council.
While the prevention of another coup attempt is the state’s primary objective, the scale of this reorganization is concerning, not just for those who have been arrested, detained, or dismissed, whose families have lost their livelihoods, assets and freedoms of expression, association, and movement. The implications of this response for security in the region are significant. The post-putsch civilianization of the military disrupted a transformation taking place within the military with currently unknown consequences. However, despite numbers being down in the Turkish military, morale is reported to be up, with both new recruits and former veterans returning to participate in Operation Euprates Shield. However, Turkish aerial refueling at İncirlik Base near the border with Syria will continue to be affected until Turkey can train new pilots.
The sheer numbers of the purge have removed a significant number of the positions in Turkish institutions that cooperate with international partners on global security issues; issues as vital as fighting ISIS, managing the refugee crisis from the Syrian civil war, and maintaining regional security under the NATO treaty alliance.
In addition to this restructuring, the continuation of OHAL leaves the constitutional structure and rule-of-law in Turkey in a state of uncertainty and subject to the will of the executive. In this sense, the counter-coup actions are at least in part a continuation of a longer trend that has used the power of the state itself to dominate political opposition, public service, and the public sphere, weakening democracy. This trend escalated after the 2013 leaking of evidence of corruption implicating Erdoğan and other high-ranking members within the AKP. However, a growing body of circumstantial evidence has created an overall consensus that Fethullah Gülen and his followers, now known as the Fethullah Gülen Terrorist Organization, or FETÖ, ordered the attempt to overthrow the Turkish government.
This consensus, combined with the current political climate, has created an atmosphere of political tension in which no one is allowed to question government actions without enduring accusations. To question is the act of an uninformed outsider, the act of a traitor, or an act of an apologist for the FETÖ terrorist group. The presumption of innocence does not adequately protect citizens or their associates from accusations in the modern trial by media environment in post-putsch, emergency-rule Turkey. In fear of another attempt to overthrow the state, any opposition to the government is now equivalent to questioning the democratic constitutional order of Turkey itself.
For decades, Turkey has been, and remains to be, one of the most important allies for the United States in the region. An earthquake shook Turkey on the night of July 15, 2016. The fissure remains, the aftershocks are not over, and the implications are imperative to understand for regional security in the Middle East, and in particular to understand those with who we partner to stop terrorism.
 A detailed description of events as they unfolded on the night of the coup is available here.
 A nationwide text message from President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, 21 July 2016, read: “My saintly nation; do not abandon the heroic resistance you have put up for your country, homeland, and flag. To teach the traitor, the terrorist (FETÖ) a lesson, continue your resistance and duty to guard democracy. The owners of our squares are not tanks, but the people.” Repeated calls to action like this one mobilized the democracy guard.
 Public opinion polls, for example this survey of Turkish demokrasi nöbeti participants, shows that mobilization against the coup did not just come from the AKP’s supporters, and that the call to guard democracy has increased popular support for the AKP government, slightly.
 A former diplomat stated this at a panel at the Middle East Institute’s 7th Annual Turkey Conference, Washington, DC, September 30, 2016.
 Unless otherwise noted, these numbers are from the Official Gazette of the State of Emergency Decrees 677 (issued July 23) and 672 (issued September 1), and a site tracking academics, and a website that aggregates these numbers.
 Outside of the military, security, education, and media dismissals noted, 302 were fired from the Prime Ministry, and 41 from the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, 83 from the Council of State, and 246 local authorities. 3,465 judges and prosecutors were dismissed. 2,018 were dismissed from the Ministry of Health, and 1,519 from the Directorate of Religious Affairs. 829 were dismissed from the Ministry of Finance, 813 from the Department of Revenue Administration, 733 from the Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock, 668 from the Ministry of Energy, 605 from the Social Security Institution, 453 from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 439 from the Ministry of Family and Social Policy, 337 from the Ministry of Forest and Water Affairs, 320 from the Ministry of Youth and Sports, 175 from the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, 149 from the Ministry of Customs and Trade, 120 from the Directorate of Land and Cadastre, 116 from the Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency, 90 from the Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, 84 from the Turkish Court of Accounts, 79 from the Ministry of Development, 74 from the Ministry of Transportation, 67 from the Undersecretariat of the Treasury, 62 from the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey, 39 from the Ministry of the Economy, 30 from the Capital Markets Board, 14 from the Development Bank, 12 from the Housing Development Administration, 8 from the Tobacco and Alcohol Market Regulatory Authority, and finally, 7 were dismissed from the Turkish National Lottery Administration.
 Most recently Dropbox, Google Drive, and Microsoft OneDrive were blocked.
 Though the public has continually opposed strengthening the executive branch in Turkey, a constitutional referendum to strengthen presidential powers, something Erdoğan and the AKP have been trying to pass since 2009, might succeed if negotiated as the amendment would not have to be put to referendum under OHAL.
 Who is Gülen, and what is his relationship with the current party in power, the AKP? Fethullah Gülen is an imam, who has lived self-exiled in the United States for decades, and his religious organization, the Hizmet (Service) movement, has millions of followers in Turkey known locally as cemaat (community). His organization spreads throughout the world, from the United States, to Africa and Central Asia. Due to the international orientation and emphasis on education within the Gülenist movement, many of those within it had relationships that formed a portion of Turkey’s international relationships. The ruling AK party and Gulen’s organization branch from separate lineages of Hanefi Sunni Islam, and have millions of religious supporters within the general population – who at one time, before 2013, often supported both the organization and the party. The AKP and cemaat have overlapped and cooperated. The AKP called Gülen’s structure a parallel state: each had associated supporters or members at all levels and branches of state institutions, in media outlets, in civil society organizations, and in law enforcement.
Erin C. McGrath, Karsten Donnay, and Kelsey P. Norman
Governments must support citizen-led efforts to provide a welcoming face to refugees or risk letting xenophobia and racism escalate into more violence.
In 2015, the world has witnessed a crisis of displaced persons larger than anytime since World War II. The refugee crisis that has now left over 60 million people displaced by conflict worldwide has drawn considerable international attention. At the same time, the attacks of Daesh and its ideological followers are threatening our relationships with Muslim refugees and strengthening the political far-right in Europe and the U.S. Some countries have already tightened borders, built walls, heightened screening, and toughened criteria for the reunification of refugee families.
A Global Crisis
While the Syrian crisis is unique by proportions, there are 65 other major displacement crises occurring worldwide. The numbers from Syria are staggering. As of late December 2015, 4,390,439 refugees from Syria had registered with UNHCR.
The surge in refugees arriving in Europe in the second half of 2015 propelled the refugee issue to the forefront of the global debate. Yet Western countries have not been hosting the vast majority of Syrian refugees since the outbreak of the civil war four years ago. Turkey and much poorer countries in the Middle East and North Africa host approximately four times the number of refugees than the West. From Syria alone, there are 2.1 million in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, and Lebanon, and 1.9 million in Turkey. Turkey became the country with the most registered refugees in the world in 2015.
The forcibly displaced – those who do not formally qualify as refugees – in these countries do not have rights under the UN Convention on the Status of Refugees. They end up trapped with no right to work and no right to move. “Warehousing,” according to experts like Christine Mahoney, leaves the forcibly displaced without a future, vulnerable to drug addiction, sexual exploitation, recruitment by militia, and dependent on aid. Regardless of the dangers on the road ahead, warehousing drives refugees to continue moving, with the promise of a better, safer life somewhere else.
While they no longer face life-threatening conflict, the status of refugees in Turkey does not allow them a real future or give the possibility of integration into society. Many then risk their lives on the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean. Refugees are also subject to violence or human rights abuses along their journey, both in the Middle East and North Africa, but also in Eastern and Southern Europe.
Shifting Public Opinion in Europe
Public opinion on the refugee problem has already begun to shift in Europe. Public support has moved toward right-wing political parties, like the Alternative for Germany (AFD), Poland’s Law and Justice party, Greece’s Golden Dawn, Hungary’s Fidesz party, and France’s National Front. Europe’s largest democracy, Germany, has experienced the largest inflow of refugees and worrisome changes in its political climate.
The influential Spiegel columnist Jakob Augstein recently warned of a new völkische revolution, a term referring to the nationalistic, anti-Semitic movement in the late 19th and early 20th century that swept across Austria and Germany and brought the Nazis to power. Today’s right wing parties may refrain from anti-Semitic statements, but as Augstein notes, ethnic categories are becoming salient again, and one in two Germans now fears the impact of immigration.
Augstein’s stern warning rings terrifyingly true: in the end we may find that fascism is not a problem of the past. Already, the composition of political party support in Germany is changing. Chancellor Angela Merkel and the Christian Democratic Union initially saw a significant loss of public support because of refugee-friendly policies. CDU has now only recovered slightly in opinion polls. Even within her own party, Chancellor Merkel is facing increased resistance to her policies along with new, significant challenges from the right. One weekly poll of German citizens showed the AFD, a far-right party that is only two years old, reaching 10% popularity in the last 3 months.
A rising tide of politically motivated crime against refugees is sweeping across the region. This is the most visible and troublesome shift in Europe’s political climate. In Germany, multiple attempts of arson in refugee shelters, crowd violence and mass protests have accompanied the immigration surge. Arson attacks have increased ten-fold in the past year. Right wing grassroots movements hardly more than a year old, for example the Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident (PEGIDA), are radicalizing with calls for more restrictive immigration rules—and they are targeting Muslims.
A Beacon of Hope: Civil Society
The main effort to deal with the refugee crisis has and continues to be shouldered by the scores of volunteers who help refugees to register and settle in, provide medical assistance, and offer other aid. Community-level, citizen-driven initiatives by and for refugees often fulfill the duties of states that lack local capacity. An abundance of creative, innovative policy solutions for employment and integration have also emerged. In Germany these include apps like Waslchiraa, a service that links donations to refugees, the Workeer job portal designed for refugees, and other online services that provide refugees access to higher education without formal documentation. German universities are even trying to find new ways to admit refugees as students without bureaucratic hurdles.
Western societies are in danger of polarizing, with humanitarian initiatives to accommodate refugees on the community-level on one side, and a rise of ethnocentric nationalism on the other. Citizen initiatives create pathways to improving refugees’ lives, and this is part of the answer. But for these efforts to be sustainable, governments must support these actions and in doing so, they must address the concerns of their citizens. Excluded and marginalized in the decision process, they could otherwise turn to those who offer simple answers like exclusion. Incidents such as those in Cologne, Germany, on New Year’s Eve only further escalate existing tensions, especially if we are judging all refugees by the despicable actions of a few.
In 2016 we face a crisis of historic dimensions in which we will be presented with a choice. Chancellor Merkel of Germany equated it with defining moments of recent world history, like the fall of the Berlin wall. This remarkable comparison is as daring as it is fitting: how we face this challenge will shape all of our futures in the years to come. We are at a critical juncture in which public opinion in the West could swing either way with fundamentally different outcomes in the years to come: isolationism or pluralism. Accepting refugees will change host nations and new identities will have to be forged. But change as such is not the problem as long as we all - refugees, citizens and the state - are able to shape that change together.
It remains our responsibility as individual citizens to actively decide for humanity and against fear. In the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the time is always ripe to do right.
This article expresses the authors' views only and not the institutions they are affiliated with.
Erin C. McGrath
Erin McGrath is NSF Postdoctoral Research Associate in Computational Social Science at the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism at the University of Maryland College Park. Her research combines complexity theory, social scientific research design, and computational methods. Currently, she focuses on subnational grievances and conflict, and semi-authoritarian resilience, with a particular focus on Turkey.
Karsten Donnay is a Postdoctoral Researcher in Political Science at the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. His research studies civil conflict dynamics with a particular emphasis on their relationship with domestic and regional contexts.
Kelsey P. Norman
Kelsey P. Norman is a PhD Candidate in Political Science at the University of California, Irvine where she researches migration to Middle Eastern and North African host states. She has spent the last three years conducting interviews with migrants, refugees, NGOs and policy-makers in Egypt, Morocco and Turkey.
I owe a great debt to Jessica Rivinius and the rest of the Communications team at START for weaving this tale on my path to becoming a START Researcher. See the original article and all the other great work being done by the organization here.
How did your start in business school lead you to your current field of study?
I went to business school with the intention of gaining skills to make nonprofit organizations more efficient. During my studies at University of Wisconsin-Madison, I worked at several non-profits, and the labor rights organization I was involved with promptly needed to establish a headquarters in Washington, D.C. Once I finished my degree, I relocated to D.C. and began serving as the Business Manager for the Worker Rights Consortium.
It was a great learning experience, building an NGO from the ground up. I was fascinated with global, systemic interrelationships that create phenomena like the “race to the bottom.” Once we got the organization up and running, I completed a course at Cornell on strategic organizational research, and was hooked.
But it was a world event that pushed me to go further. Like most offices in D.C., our WRC office was evacuated on September 11, 2001. Before I joined the exodus of everyone walking home that day, I walked into my boss’ office, in tears, dumbfounded, completely in shock. He didn’t know what to say either, but encouraged me to read about U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, and he recommended a few authors. And thus my foray into international affairs began.
What steps did you take to further your studies?
I completed my master’s in International Public Policy in Budapest at Central European University (CEU), where I arguably learned more about international affairs from the students than I did from the curriculum itself. The curriculum was great, but we had the Cold War and its end, international development, humanitarian disasters, and some aggrieved parties of U.S.-led regime change sitting around the classroom table. My classmates hailed from post-Soviet and Eastern European countries (Ukraine, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Romania, Hungary), Ethiopia and Iraq.
I had just decided I also wanted to earn my doctorate at CEU and teach, when my uncle, a Night Stalker pilot, volunteered for a dangerous mission in Afghanistan. His helicopter was shot down by the Taliban on a rescue mission to recover Navy Seals lost on their mission in Afghanistan, but it took weeks from initially finding out that something happened, to confirmation he had died, to his funeral at Arlington National Cemetery.
He was only 14 years older than I was and he was just about to adopt an infant daughter from China.
I could rationalize it. But it changed me, and my family. I decided to return to the States for my family, and pursue a doctoral degree in security and foreign policy.
With a proposal to study the Kurds’ self-governance in Turkey and Iraq, I received a State Department fellowship to learn Turkish in Ankara, Turkey, where I met my husband, in 2009. Life interceded, and in 2011, I found myself in Ankara, Turkey, as a new mom trying to write a dissertation on semi-authoritarianism in Turkish politics.
On the other hand, whenever going to the kirtasiye, the copy store for official purposes in Turkey, or to agencies to do expatriate paperwork or to apply for Turkish citizenship, I would also run into fellows who were clearly transiting to Syria for one purpose or another – they had Syrian passports. The Turkish government has a pretty hands-off approach to the fighters transiting through the country to Syria. I knew it was time to come back to America – my son and I have dual citizenship – when speaking out against the government felt more dangerous and newsworthy than fighting for Daesh in the Turkish press.
What drew you to want to incorporate the study of social media into your research?
I’ve been fascinated by computers and information technology since seeing a picture of a rotary phone hooked up to an old-school modem and reading that people could exchange the information they had on their computers that way. I remember the loud string of noises that meant your computer was getting on the Internet, and when my friend put up the first personal website in the state of Wisconsin.
But I didn’t decide to study social media until it became an issue for the research I was doing. The Turkish people take to Twitter when they want to say something they couldn’t in the media, or at least they used to – now the government has a pretty firm grip on prosecution. My dissertation chapter on debate over the constitution in Turkey, and how it was controlled, dealt with unstructured text in Turkish and used subnational levels of citizen conflict over issue areas to understand how citizens debated the issue and how that varied from the regime’s position on the issue in both what they said about it (sure, we like freedom of the press!) and what they did about it (criticize us and we’ll put you in jail!).
I showed that depending on the risk of collective action for an issue, the regime would let citizens debate about the issue publicly to “blow off some steam” but curtail it if it was likely to generate mobilization.
In Turkey, I was living in a society where I couldn’t use social media freely. My Turkish citizenship was pending. People get arrested in Turkey for liking insults against the President. Of course, I continued to speak freely anyway, but I had a growing sense of insecurity because of that, not only for myself, but also for my family.
Is social media a space where any and all can act and interact across countries?
I do not think that social media is a level-playing field, or a great equalizer. Our interactions take place within existing structures of power, but social media has given us a new kind of agency. The kind of interactions we have, and the people we have them with, on social media, were never before possible. They are unique and of a volume never before recorded. So, social media data are creating opportunities for understanding human behavior (we think) not before possible and also potential ways to influence human behavior (we think) not before possible. It’s kind of a double-edged sword and impossible, really, to tell which direction it will go in. What’s guaranteed though, is that it will be powerful, but we don’t know in what ways yet.
As we dive further into this NSF-funded project at START, I find myself even more engaged in social media. I’m also taking the time to revamp my skills in information science and programming. This project is fascinating and the people working on it are creative, and very interdisciplinary. We have a former physicist turned computational social scientist, computer scientists, geographic information scientists, a mathematician, criminologists, risk communication scholars, political scientists, and software engineers.
It’s the kind of team that I’ve worked with before in disaster management, but now the topic is one that I want to study even more. It also offers the opportunity to hone my skills in analyzing unstructured texts and to use those in application to social media data, in particular. I’m incredibly grateful to START for bringing me on to the team. I’ve worked at quite a few places in quite a few cultures; somehow START has managed to bring the best parts of those together. Now we just need to tweet about it – or do we? Stayed tuned to the NSF project to find out.
The Hurriyet Daily News has started a counter for the longest period Erdoğan has been off-air in several years...
But he has been on the phone with Vladimir Putin.
Bütün dünya Türkiye Suriye sınırındaki Kobane’de gelişmekte olan savaşı izliyor fakat önemli gerçekler medya tarafından pek dile getirilmiyor. Silahlı terör örgütü İŞİD’in Irak ve Suriye’de halifeliği ilan etmesi için sürdürdüğü savaşın en son devam etiği yer Kobane. Birçok gözlemci bu olayların karşılaştırmalı anayasa hukuku ile ilgili olduğundan habersiz; ama demokratik anayasa bu çatışmanın en önemli unsurunu oluşturuyor.
Kobane’deki mücadelenin kaybedilmesi sadece terörist bir grup tarafından kazanılmış bir zafer olmayacak. Diğer devletlerin müdahale seçimleri fazlasıyla karışık ama uzun vadede meydana gelecek gelişmeler sadece kaybedilmiş bir savaşın sonucu olmayacak aynı zamanda bu devletlerin ataleti ve ilgisizliği nedeniyle meydana gelmiş bir kayıp olacak. Demokrasi savunucuların bugün Kobane’yi desteklememeleri kötülüğün sıradanlığına benziyor. Bütüncül bir bakış açısına riayet etmenin ötesinde, biz savaşın duygusallaştırılmasından ötürü körleşmişiz (medyanın odak noktası olan sakallı teröristler, rehinelerin kafalarının kesilme görüntüleri, Kürt kadın savaşçıları ve cihatçı gelin resimleri yüzünden). Bütün garipliklere rağmen Kobane’de yükselen anayasa bazlı demokratik yönetimin desteklenmemesi hiçbir şekilde açıklanamaz. Ama onların anayasası “seksi” değil ve belediye toplantıları da “olta” haberlerden oluşmuyor.
Irak ve Suriye’deki Kürt bölgelerinde meydana politik şiddet en son gelişen acımasız saldırının çok öncesinde de vardı. Sevr Antlaşmasında vaad edilen fakat Lozan Antlaşması’nda iptal edilen bağımsız Kürdistan fikrinden beridir Kürtler hep bir vatan peşinde. Onların başkaldırıları her zaman şiddetle karşılandı. Bir yüzyıl sonra Kobane’ de örneklendirilen Kürt polilik organizasyonu Ortadoğu demokrasinin nasıl olabileceği hakkında fikir veren birkaç bağımsız hareketten bir tanesi. Kuzey Irak ve Kuzey Suriye’deki azınlıklar içerisinde demokratik yönetimi benimseyen tek bir grup var, o da Kürtler.
Irak ve Suriye’deki işleyen yönetimlerin boşluğunda Kürtler kendi yönetim birimlerini oluşturdu. Irak federasyonunda Kuzey Irak’taki bağımsız Kürt bölgesi, Bölgesel Kürt Yönetimi tarafından yönetiliyor. Geçen birkaç ay içinde İŞİD, Musul da dahil olmak üzere birtakım bölgeler üzerinde kontrol sağladı. İŞİD birkaç aydır Suriye’de Rojava’nın bağımsız bölgeleri olan Kürt bölgelerinde sınırda (Rojava Kürtçe’de batı anlamına geliyor ve Batı Kürdistan anlamında kullanılıyor). 2013’te bölgedeki nüfus kendi kararıyla Kuzey Suriye’nin Rojava bölgesinde bağımsız bir politik yapı oluşturdu.
Irak Federal Hükümeti, Kürdistan Bölgesel Yönetimi, Suriye Devleti ve Rojava’nın özerk bölgesi kendi anayasa tercihlerini açıkladırlar ve her biri milli kimliğini, yönetim ilkelerini, ve yönetim yapısını ilan etti. Ben her birinin tarihini inceleyip anayasalarının analizini yapıp esas kitabın altında yatan özellikleri, yapıları ve ilişkileri anlamaya çalıştım.
Suriye ve Irak Anayasaları
Suriye Anayasası diktatörlüğün otoriter takım çantasındaki muhteşem bir silah. Şu anki Cumhurbaşkanı Beşer Esad’ın babası 1970 yılında askeri bir milita ile yönetimi ele geçirdi ve Baas Partisi’nin yetkisini devlet ve toplum üzerinde tutan 8. Maddeyi içeren 1973 Anayasası’nı hazırladı. Oğlu Beşer Esad’ın 2000 yılında iktidara gelebilmesi için cumhurbaşkanı yaş sınırını anayasada değiştirdi.
Suriye’deki isyan başlayınca Esad bir komisyon toplayıp anayasayı düzeltmesi için emir verdi ve 8. madde anayasadan çıkartıldı. Bu değişim sözde 2012’deki referandumda halk tarafından kabul edilmişti. Fakat bu son değişiklikler pratikte hiçbir şey değiştirmedi. Kağıtta cumhurbaşkanının birkaç aday arasında gerçekleşecek yarış ile direkt atanması öngörülen çok partili parlamenter sistem öngörülüyor. Fakat Baas Partisi hayatın her alanını kontrol altına almaya devam ediyor buna ordu da dahil. Politik muhaliflik söz konusu değil çünkü muhalifler öldürülüyor veya milli hassasiyetleri zayıflatmak bahanesiyle hapis cezasına çarptırılabiliyor.
Irak Anayasası 2005’te geçici bir anayasa olarak hazırlanıp kalıcı hale gelen ve Amerika Devleti tarafından yönetilen koalisyonun işgali sonrasında acele ile hazırlanmış bir anayasa. Bu anayasa taslağı hazırlık aşaması çok tartışıldı çünkü bir sonraki hükümete değiştirme şansı verilinceye kadar Sünniler bu anayasaya destek vermediler, ki bu değişim hiç gerçekleşmedi.
Bu anayasa şu anda Irak’taki azınlıkların arasındaki düzeltilemez fay hattının önemli bir sebebini oluşturuyor. Anayasa İslam’a dayalı, gevşek bir federal yapıya sahip yarı başkanlık sistemini yarattı. Irak Anayasası hem üstün bir rol oynuyor çünkü bölgesel yasalar anayasa ile çelişemez hem de kurtarıcı bir rol oynuyor çünkü anayasada belirtilmemiş her şey bölgesel yönetimlerin inisiyatifine kalıyor.
Irak Kürdistanı’nın Anayasa Taslağı ve Rojava Kantonlarının Sosyal Antlaşması
Kendisi için kabul edilen federal özerklik çerçevesinde, Bölgesel Kürt Yönetimi katılımcı bir komisyon oluşturup kendi bölgesel anayasasının taslağını 2009’da oluşturdu. Kürdistan Bölgesel Yönetimi taslağı kabul etti, ama henüz referanduma koymadı çünkü petrol ve gaz rezervleri ve bölgenin arazisi ile ilgili olan kısımları nedeniyle taslak Irak anayasasıyla çelişiyor.
Kürt Bölgesel Yönetiminin anayasası kendi kaderini tayin etmeyi öngörüyor. Bu anayasa Kürdistan Bölgesi’nin anayasasının ve yasalarının diğer federal yasalara göre daha bağımsız ve daha üstün olduğunu belirtiyor. Bu anayasa aynı zamanda hukuksal bir mesele olduğu zaman Kürt mahkemelerinin Kürt yasalarını takip etmesini öngörüyor. Bunun dışında, Irak Hükümeti’nin federal modeli terk etmesi halinde ya da anayasal prensipleri ve insan haklarını göz ardı etmesi takdirinde Irak federasyonundan muaf kalmayı benimsiyor.
Rojava’nın Sosyal Antlaşması Suriye’de gerçekleşecek olan federal yönetim için bir model oluşturuyor. Rojava Anayasa’nı Kasım 2013’te oluşturuldu ve bölge çapında halk tarafından direkt seçilen bir meclis oluşturuldu. Rojava üç kantondan oluşuyor: Afrin, Cizre ve Kobane. Cizre Kürt, Arap, Süryani, Çeçen, Ermeni, Müslüman, Hristiyan, ve Ezidi topluluklarının meydana getirdiği etnik ve dini çeşitliliği olan bir bölge . Çok istisnai olan bir şekilde, bu sosyal antlaşma Suriye anayasasını baz alarak Suriye’yi ‘özgür, hakim ve parlamenter sisteme dayalı, özerklik ve çoğulculuk esasına dayalı demokratikbir devlet’ olması gerektiği şekilde tanımlıyor.
Rojava’nın oluşum aşamasında içinde bulunduğu şartlar hem ilham verici hem de ilerici. Graeber bugünkü haliyle Rojava Bağımsız Bölgesi’nin Suriye trajedisinin birkaç parlak sonuçlarından bir tanesi olduğunu dile getiriyor. Neredeyse bütün komşularının düşmanlığı ile karşı karşıya kalan Rojava sadece bağımsızlığını korumuyor aynı zamanda çok dikkate değer bir demokratik deney uyguluyor. Belediye meclisleri bir Kürt, bir Arap, bir Süryani, bir Ermeni, ve en az bir kadın olacak şekilde cinsiyet ve etnik kökene bağlı bir denge içinde seçiliyor.
Her ne kadar bu sosyal antlaşma özünde ilerici olsa da, himayesinde gelişen insan hakları ihlallerinin de bahsedilmesi gerek. İnsan Hakları Örgütü Kürtlerin sosyal antlaşmayı değiştirmelerini tavsiye etti ve birkaç prensibin gerekliliğinden bahsetti. Bunlar rastgele hapsin yasaklanması, hukuki gözden geçirilme hakkı ve kriminal işlemlerde avukat edinme hakkı.
Anayasal Dökümanların Konu Modellemesi
Konu modellemesi bütünün içindeki konuları ve parçaları hızlı ve deneyimsel açıdan görebilmek için kullanılan bir model. 40.000 kelimeden oluşan küçük yasa üç temel konuya ayrıldı ve bunlar da resmi devlet ve Kürt yazıları olarak ayrıldı.
Temelde Kürtler azınlık halkları (Hristiyan, Ermeni ve Süryani), onların tanınması ve haklarını (kendi kendini tayin etme, yetkilendirme, arz gibi kelimeler)kullanıyor. Kürtler aynı zamanda yerel yönetim sözcüklerini (belediyeler) de kullanıyor ve resmi devlet anayasası federal ve milli terimler de kullanıyor (referandum, cumhurbaşkanı, konuşmacı, sınırlar).
Sonuç olarak, Rojava’daki demokratik politik örgütlenme dikkate değer. Birçok kimse onun varlığından haberdar değil. Yani birçok kimse Kobane’nin yıkılması sadece hayat kaybı ve mülk kaybı değil aynı zamanda tutucu İslamizmin, belirsizlik, şiddet, kaynaksızlık, ve çok farklı etnik ve dini köken farklılıkları altında oluşturulan bu anayasal oluşumunun üzerinde bir başarı elde etmesine neden olacak. Bölünme ve domine etmenin aksine Kobane’deki Kürtler çoğulcu parlamentoyu destekliyor (yanlış adımlarla atılmış olmayan) ve bölgede yaygın olan ve belirli bir grubun dini, ideolojik, etnik azınlıkların üzerinde baskı kurmayı sağlayan anayasaları da reddediyor.
Kürt grupların Rojava’daki bütün gerçek dışılıklara karşı demokratik oluşum yaratmaya çalışması gitgide otoriterleşen ve toleransız olan bölgenin karanlığında bir ışık gibi parlıyor.
Yazının İngilizcesine şu linkten ulaşabilirsiniz: http://www.iconnectblog.com/2014/11/against-all-od...
Önerilmiş referans belirtme şekli:
Erin McGrath, Against All Odds: The Kurds, Comparative Constitutionalism and Kobane , Int’l J. Const. L. Blog, Nov. 14, 2014, available at : http://www.iconnectblog.com/2014/11/against-all-od...
While the world watches the conflict carry on in Kobani, just over the Turkish border with Syria, important facts are still understated in the press. The Kobani battle is the latest front in the effort by the Islamic State (IS), an armed terrorist group, to reestablish the Islamic Caliphate across Iraq and Syria. Most observers are unaware these events have much to do with comparative constitutional law; yet, democratic constitutionalism is at the crux of the conflict.
The importance of the outcome in Kobani stems not just from a potential victory by a cruel terrorist group. Other states’ intervention choices are strategically complicated, but the largest repercussions from Kobani will be those of apathy, not just a failed battle. Similar to the banality of evil[i] from deference to totalitarianism, democracy supporters not defending Kobani today rises from blindness: blindness from the sensationalization of the battle, with media focus on bearded terrorists, hostage beheadings, Kurdish women fighters[ii] and jihadi brides. Inaction in Kobani, where democratic constitutionalism has risen against all odds, is simply unjustifiable.[iii]
Yet constitutions are not “sexy;” municipal meetings are not “click-bait.”
The political violence in the Kurdish regions of Iraq and Syria has been occurring for much longer than this latest onslaught.[iv] Since the promise of an independent Kurdish region in the Treaty of Sevres, to its revocation in the Treaty of Lausanne, Kurds have been seeking a homeland. Their struggle has been violent. Over a century later, the current Kurdish political organization, epitomized in places like Kobani, represents one of only a few independence movements in the Middle East that show what democracy in the region could look like. Among the minorities across Northern Iraq and Northern Syria, just one group embraces democratic constitutionalism: the Kurds.
In the vacuum of functioning governments in Iraq and Syria, Kurds formed their own autonomous governing units. In the Iraqi federation, the autonomous Kurdish region of Northern Iraq is governed by the Kurdistan Regional Government. In the last several months, IS has declared control over a swath of territory, including Mosul. In Syria, the Kurdish region is known as the Autonomous Regions of Rojava (Rojava means “west” in Kurdish). IS has been at its borders for months. In 2013, the population in Northern Syria organized itself as a new autonomous political entity in the region of Rojava.[v]
The Iraqi Federation, the KRG in Iraq, the Syrian state, and the autonomous regions of Rojava have made public their constitutional preferences, each declaring a text about their national identity, governing principles, and governance structure. I review their history, and perform text analysis for the underlying, interrelating, structures in the corpus.
The Syrian and Iraqi Constitutions
The Syrian Constitution is the perfect weapon in the dictator's authoritarian toolkit. Current President Bashar al-Assad’s father, Hafez al-Assad, seized power in a military coup in 1970, and amended the Constitution in 1973 to include Article 8, giving the Syrian Ba'athist Party a leadership role over state and society. The constitution was amended to lower the required age for President so Bashar could come to power in 2000.
Once the Syrian uprising started, Bashar appointed a commission to amend the constitution, and notably removed Article 8. This change was ostensibly approved by a public referendum in 2012.[vi] On paper the constitution now provides for a multi-party parliamentary system with direct election of the President in a race with multiple candidates. However, the latest amendments changed nothing in practice. The Ba’athist party remains in control of every aspect of political and public life, including the military; political opposition is non-existent, as opponents risk death or imprisonment for offenses such as "weakening national sentiment."[vii]
The Iraqi Constitution, promulgated in 2005, is an interim-turned-permanent constitution written in haste under occupation by the US-led coalition. This constitutional drafting process is criticized because the majority of Sunni support came only due to a last-minute concession that gave the next parliament power to revise the constitution at a later date, which never materialized.[viii]
The constitution is now a source of fundamental, irreconcilable division across Iraq's minority groups.[ix] The Constitution created an Islamic-law based, semi-presidential system with a loose federalist structure. The Iraqi Constitution has both a "supremacy" clause (regional laws cannot contradict it) and a "savings" clause – anything not formally specified is left to the power of the regional governments.
The Draft Constitution of Iraqi Kurdistan and the Social Contract of the Cantons of Rojava
Within the autonomy conceded to it federally, the KRG of Iraqi Kurdistan held a participatory commission[x] to draft their own regional constitution in 2009.[xi] The KRG Parliament approved the draft, but it has not yet been put to a referendum because it contradicts with the Iraqi constitution by laying claim to the region's territory, and oil and gas reserves.
The KRG's constitution directly appeals to the ideal of self-determination.[xii] It states that the constitution and laws of the Kurdistan Region are more sovereign and supreme than federal laws; includes a choice of law provision that requires Kurdish courts to follow Kurdish law in the event of a legal conflict; and allows an opt-out of the Iraqi federation if it abandons the federal model, or constitutional principles of democracy and human rights.[xiii]
The Social Contract of the Cantons of Rojava [xiv] is a model for a “future decentralized system of federal governance in Syria.” Rojava’s constitution was promulgated in November 2013, creating a region-wide directly-elected assembly. Rojava is composed of the three cantons: Afrin, Jazira and Kobane; Jazira is ethnically and religiously diverse, with co-existing Kurdish, Arab, Syriac, Chechen, Armenian, Muslim, Christian and Yazidi communities. Exceptionally, the social contract draws on the de jure text of the Syrian Constitution to hold it to account as a “free, sovereign and democratic state, governed by a parliamentary system based on principles of decentralization and pluralism,” demonstrating the risk of an authoritarian constitution eventually being held to account by opposition or revolution.[xv]
The circumstances of Rojava’s creation are inspiring and progressive. Graeber writes that the “autonomous region of Rojava, as it exists today, is one of few bright spots … to emerge from the tragedy of the Syrian revolution.”[xvi] Facing the hostility of almost all of its neighbors, Rojava has “not only maintained its independence, but is a remarkable democratic experiment.”[xvii] Municipal councils are selected with careful gender and ethnic balance, with one Kurd, one Arab and one Assyrian or Armenian Christian, and at least one woman.[xviii]
Despite the Social Contract’s progressive nature, no political movement in such a regional conflict is without failures, and allegations of human rights abuses must be addressed. Human Rights Watch has recommended that Kurds alter their Social Contract because it “neglects to stipulate a number of core principles, such as the prohibition on arbitrary detention, the right to prompt judicial review, and the right to a lawyer in criminal proceedings.”[ixx]
Topic Modeling of the Constitutional Documents
The topic model is a quick, exploratory method to view clusters or "topics" within a corpus.[xx] The small 40,000 word corpus from these four constitutions generated three topics, with attributes as either "official" state or Kurdish texts.
Essentially, Kurds use terms for minority rights (Christian, Armenian, Syriac) and their recognition and rights (“selfdetermin,” “elig,” “everyone,” “entitl,” “demand,” “initi”). Kurds also use local government terms (municip) whereas the official state constitutions use federal or national terms (“referendum,” “presidenti,” “speaker,” “level,” “boundari").
In conclusion, democratic political organization in Rojava deserves greater attention. Most are unaware it has occurred, so they are also unaware that the destruction of Kobani entails not only loss of life and destruction of property but the triumph of Islamic fundamentalism over an extraordinary self-organized constitutionalism created under uncertainty, violence, lack of resources, and tremendous ethnic and religious diversity. Rather than division or domination, Kurds in Kobani are part of a group that is promulgating pluralistic governance (not without missteps), but are bucking the regional trend of using constitutions to privilege one group over minorities, whether ideological, ethnic, or religious.
Kurdish groups’ community self-organization of democratic constitutionalism against all odds in Rojava is the only light shining in an area increasingly covered in the darkness of authoritarianism and intolerance – where, unfortunately, constitutions are being used for the latter purposes as well.
Suggested Citation: Erin McGrath, Against All Odds: The Kurds, Comparative Constitutionalism and Kobane, Int’l J. Const. L. Blog, Nov. 14, 2014, available at: http://www.iconnectblog.com/2014/11/against-all-odds-the-kurds-comparative-constitutionalism-and-kobane
[i] Arendt, Hannah. 2006. Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil. Penguin Classics.
[ii] Dirik, Dilar. 29 October 2014. “Western Fascination with Bad-Ass Kurdish Women” Al-Jazeera English.
[iii] A notable exception: Graeber, David. 8 October 2014. "Why is the world ignoring the revolutionary Kurds in Syria?" The Guardian.
[iv] Sharifi, Amir. 12 Nov 2013. “The Kurds of Rojava (Syria) and the Political Paradox of Western Democracies,” Kurdish Media.
[v] Solomon, Erika. "Special Report: Amid Syria's violence, Kurds carve out autonomy," Reuters.
[vi] Fares, Qais. 8 May 2014. "The Syrian Constitution: Assad's Magic Wand," Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: Syria in Crisis.
[vii] Human Rights Watch. 27 January 2011. "Syria: Jailed for Weakening National Sentiment: Arbitrary Detention, Torture, Discrimination Highlight Government's Record in 2010," Human Rights Watch.
[viii] Beehner, Lionel. 12 October 2005. "Why Sunnis Don't Support Iraq's Constitution," Council on Foreign Relations.
[ix] Arato, Andrew. 2009. Constitution Making Under Occupation: The Politics of Imposed Revolution In Iraq. New York: Columbia University Press. P. 251.
[x] Editors. 16 August 2012. "Campaign for a Democratic Constitution for Kurdistan: Have Your Say," Kurdistan Tribune.
[xi] Kelly, Michael J. "The Kurdish Regional Constitution Within the Framework of the Iraqi Federal Constitution: A Struggle for Sovereignty, Oil, Ethnic Identity, and the Prospects for a Reverse Supremacy Clause," Penn State Law Review Vol. 144:3: 707-808.
[xii] Ibid, p. 735.
[xiv] Civiroglu, Mutlu. “The Constitution of the Rojava Cantons,” Personal website.
[xv] Tom Ginsburg and Alberto Simpser, Constitutions in Authoritarian Regimes. Cambridge University Press, 2013.
[xvi] Graeber, David. 8 October 2014. “Why Is the World Ignoring the Revolutionary Kurds in Syria?” The Guardian.
[ixx] Human Rights Watch, 19 June 2014. “Under Kurdish Rule,” Human Rights Watch Reports.
[xx] Roberts, Molly, and B. Stewart, D. Tingley, and E. Airoldi. 2013. “The Structural Topic Model and Applied Social Science.'' Advances in Neural Information Processing Systems Workshop on Topic Models: Computation, Application, and Evaluation.
Image 1: Battle for Iraq and Syria in Maps, BBC News.
Image 2: The Kurdistan Parliament resolution regarding supporting Kobane, Kurdistan Parliament.
Kılık değiştirmiş diktatörlük şakaya gelmez. Bu habis siyaset biçimi demokrasi gibi görünür. Daha yakından bakıldığında günlük siyasi uygulamalar arasındaki etkileşimler bambaşka bir şey ortaya çıkarır; bütün parçalarının toplamından farklıdır. Sistemin bütününde bu uygulamalar demokrasiyi karikatür haline getirir; liderlerin başarısına başarı katarken özgürlükleri alır, genç hayatları çalar.
Gezi protestoları esnasında ekmek almaya giderken göz yaşartıcı gaz kapsülünün başına isabet etmesinden sonra baş yaralanması sonucu uzun süre komada kaldıktan sonra hayatını kaybetmiş olan 15 yaşındaki Berkin Elvan'ınkinden daha kötü bir kaderi düşünemiyor insan. Ya da ailesinin veya arkadaşlarınınkinden ve onlarla beraber yas tutan ama dayak yiyen ve aşağılananlarınkinden daha kötü bir kaderi. Bu çeşit bir insanlık dışılığa ve ikiyüzlülüğe, diktatörlük sultasının dayanağı olan ikiyüzlülüğe tanık olmak zordur.
Demokratik gibi görünüp de demokrasiyi sağlamayan uygulamalar ile ilgili araştırmalar filizleniyor. Akılda kalıcı bir terminoloji de, Macaristan'ın Viktor Orban'ın anayasa (dışı) uygulamalarının yanı sıra canavarca olmayan insanların uzuvlarından yaratılmış Frankeştaynın sahibi Mary Shelley'nin yaratıcılığından ilhamla Scheppele'in ürettiği yeni terim (frankendevlet). Frankendevletler, otoriter canavar yaratan demokratik yasaların parçalarıyla birlikte dikilir. Ve bu rejim, tüm niyet ve amaçlar bakımından yasaldır.
Bu konuyla ilgili artmakta olan bilimsel literatürün habercisi, demokratik görünümlü kurumların demokratik bir devlete ulaşmaksızın nasıl işlediğini analiz eden yasal ve siyasi karşılaştırmacılardı. Diğerlerinin yanı sıra yasama ve partileri inceleyen Jennifer Gandhi, seçimleri inceleyen Ellen Lust-Okar, mahkemeleri inceleyen Tamir Moustafa, anayasaları inceleyen Simpser ve Ginsburg ve sivil toplum örgütlerini inceleyen Amaney Jamal gibi siyaset bilimciler sözde demokratik kurumlarla başladılar. Bilim adamları artık uygulamaya dönüyorlar: kılık değiştirmiş diktatör nasıl çalışıyor?
Bu tabii ki siyasi yelpazedeki rejimlerde, "köklü demokrasilerde" bile meydana geliyor (kimde kopmamış delgeç kırpıntısı var?) Kısmen Avrupa Birliği veya Ulusal Demokrasi Vakfı'nın uluslararası demokrasiyi teşvik gündemlerine karşı öğrenilmiş bir cevap olduklarından dolayı bu uygulamalar artıyor. Gizli işleyen otoriter rejimi teşhis etmek zor çünkü erki sağlamlaştırmak için demokratik gibi görünen özelliklerin yasal biçimde kullanılışı eleştiriye veya protestoya karşı çok daha bağışık.
Otokratların, bu uygulamaları yapmış veya "reformları" taahhüt etmiş olmaları ile ilgili uluslararası destek gören gerekliliklere başvurma becerisi, siyasi muhalefete geri tepme potansiyeli olmayan telafiye yönelik çok az seçenek verir ve bu da ya rejimin gücünü ve meşruiyetini artırır ya da kendilerininkini baltalar. Görevdeki demokratik niyetleri olduğunu iddia eder; muhalefet zayıf durur; mücadele için gereken yasal araçlar görevdekinin kendi takdirinde kullandıklarıyla aynıdır. Muhalefet ısrarlı biçimde zayıflar ve bir meslektaşımın çok kolay anlaşılır biçimde dikkat çektiği gibi (her yerde olmasa bile en azından Türkiye'de) muhalefet olmaksızın demokrasi olmaz.
Pek güzel "bizim-için-bütün-işi-onlar-yaptı" gibi bir hareketle AKP'nin demokratikleşmeye ilişkin "Sessiz Devrimi", egemen parti olarak ilerleyişlerinden dikkati saptırmaya çalışırken düzenli şekilde demokrasi yanlısı söylemlerinin kataloğunu yapıyor. İddia ediyorum ki dikkati dağıtma tekniği, özellikle egemen parti rejimine giden yolu açmak için anayasa açısından gerekli olan her şeyi büyük ölçüde halletmiş olan 2010 yılındaki anayasa referandumu sonrasında Türkiye'deki "katılımcı" anayasa reform sürecinin uygulanmasının amacıdır. Ancak katılımcı reform süreci, Anayasa Uzlaşma Komisyonunda meclis düzeyindeki müzakere sürecinde aslında ciddi bir etkisi de olmayan hoşnutsuzluk için partinin biraz yer açmasına yaradı.
Görevdekilerin kendilerine nasıl uyuyorsa o şekilde yasaları uygulayarak takdir yetkilerini suistimal etmesi bu uygulamaların temelinde yatarken kılık değiştirmiş diktatörlerin repertuvarında, Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP) yönetimindeki Türkiye'ye aşağıda uyguladığım bazı araçlar var. Bunlar, uygun ses yinelemesi ile; dikkat dağıtma, çarpıtma ve hakimiyet.
1. Dikkat dağıtma
Pek güzel "bizim için bütün işi onlar yaptı" gibi bir hareketle AKP'nin demokratikleşmeye ilişkin "Sesiz Devrimi", egemen parti olarak ilerleyişlerinden dikkati saptırmaya çalışırken düzenli şekilde demokrasi yanlısı söylemlerinin kataloğunu yapıyor. İddia ediyorum ki dikkati dağıtma tekniği, özellikle egemen parti rejimine giden yolu açmak için anayasa açısından gerekli olan her şeyi büyük ölçüde halletmiş olan 2010 yılındaki anayasa referandumu sonrasında Türkiye'deki "katılımcı" anayasa reform sürecinin uygulanmasının amacıdır. Ancak katılımcı reform süreci, Anayasa Uzlaşma Komisyonunda meclis düzeyindeki müzakere sürecinde aslında ciddi bir etkisi de olmayan hoşnutsuzluk için partinin biraz yer açmasına yaradı.
Kılık değiştirmiş diktatörler bilgiyi çarpıtmak ve ifadeyi kısıtlamak için yasal olanakları da kullanıyorlar. Örneğin, Erdoğan bir öz sansür kültürü yaratmak için muhaliflere karşı davalarla yazarlar ve gazetecilerden sanatçılar ve (maalesef ona "Ampul Tayyip" adını veren) öğrencilere kadar, yüzlerce kişiyi mahkemeye verdi.
İftira suçunun son turu 17 Aralık 2013 yolsuzluk skandalı esnasında medyaya sızan bilgilerden kaynaklandı. Bu skandalda Erdoğan, bazı bakanlar ve aile fertleri yolsuzluk yaparak milyonlarca Avro sahibi olma suçuyla karşı karşıya kaldı Gazeteciler taciz edildi, işten atıldı, korkutuldu. Özgür basından kalanlar kırıp geçirildi. Çarpıtma ve dikkati dağıtmanın ötesinde kılık değiştirmiş diktatörlerin üçüncü silahı kendi çıkarına işleyen politikalar benimseyerek demokratik sürece hakim olmaktır.
Son olarak, kılık değiştirmiş diktatörler hakimiyet için demokratik çoğunluğun temsil edilmesi ilkesini yıkarlar. Yaygın taktikler "seçmen kimliği yasaları, seçim giriş engelleri ve kampanya finansı yasaları, muhalefetin oy hakkını kullandırtmamak ve görevdekini yerinden etmenin maliyetini arttırmak"tır (Varol, s.33-34). AKP yönetiminde seçim bölgeleri yasalarında (2972) ve seçmen kayıt yasalarında (298) 2003'ten bu yana yapılan değişikliklerle seçim bölgesi sınırları, seçmen kimliği ve medya kampanya yasaları kendi çıkarları doğrultusunda oluşturulmuştur. Yaklaşan 2015 meclis seçimleriyle hazırlık safhasında olan ek seçim değişiklikleri daha sabırsızlıkla beklenen daha çok şey var.
Bu sözde melez rejimlerde ortaya dersleri dikkate almak gerek. "Hukukun egemenliği" yapılacak listesinin kullanan uluslararası demokrasiyi teşvik gündemlerine cevaben, demokratikleşen ülkelerdeki siyasi elitler bağımsız yargının unsurları için, özgür ve adil seçimler için ve kağıt üzerinde var olan diğer kurumlar ve destekleyici politikaları için yapıldı kutucuğunu işaretleyebilirler. Benimsemek, uygulamak ve gerçekten reform yapmak için siyasi sürecin kullanılmasının iki amacı var; biri sadece erkin kaybedilmesini önlemek için yetecek kadar demokrasi yaratmak amaçlı yasal söylemi kullanır; diğeri de sadece bunu pekiştirmeye devam etmek için yetecek kadar otoriter rejim oluşturmak amacıyla yasal araçları kullanır.
What States Said About Their Own Citizens Going to Fight in Syria Over Six Months Ago Based On Non-Systematic Research
The Washington Post, seems to be arguing "don't-blame-Turkey" in response to the New York Times' op-ed on the inaction of the Turkish government.
Debates are good.
However, disguising biased data with good graphics is not.
So the title is a bit misleading -- it should be something like, "What States Said About Their Own Citizens Going to Fight in Syria Over Six Months Ago Based On Non-Systematic Research"
Vice President Biden recently made some statements about Turkey's lack of policy implementation regarding international transit of individuals who intend to engage in the conflict in Syria. Even though the way he said what he said may have been wrong, Vice President Biden was not on the wrong track.
Even though he was for all intents and purposes, not incorrect, he apologized. However, the way Vice President Biden's apology was taken by the Turkish government -- one that is complicit in the disaster scenario on the Turkish-Syrian border that threatens to spillover into Turkey -- is nauseating. This is especially so because that apology resulted in the kind of aggrandizing that it did, painting the "saintly Turkish nation" as impervious to criticism.
The apology unfortunately only cemented the government's criticism-o-phobia. The Turkish government, given the extension of Erdogan's personality throughout it, is unwilling to admit that it is capable of making mistakes, that it has made mistakes, and that in its decision-making, the only criteria that matters is the preservation of its own power. Okay, yes, that last one is a rule of politics. But not without some basic principles: no genocide; for example, no complicity in risking slaughter.
Turkey hasn't acted accordingly with basic principles of human rights, nor as a NATO ally in this situation, nor as a regional leader. Bu the choice not to act is still an action. Turkey's major action has been to deploy military troops and police to cities in the Southeast where Kurdish Turkish citizens, over 30 of which have now been killed, are protesting due to the all-too-likely massacre that will happen any moment now in Syria.
Turkey’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, once aspired to lead the Muslim world. At this time of regional crisis, he has been anything but a leader. Turkish troops and tanks have been standing passively behind a chicken-wire border fence while a mile away in Syria, Islamic extremists are besieging the town of Kobani and its Kurdish population. This is an indictment of Mr. Erdogan and his cynical political calculations.
I empathize with Biden's inability to choose the correct public conveyance in a complicated situation. Yes, he's a public figure, and diplomacy is a skill that maybe he should have learned a little better by now, and "complexity" is not an excuse. But I stand behind Vice President Biden bringing attention to the complicity of the Turkish government in the situation. Turkey is the chosen route to the Syrian civil war (come on, there are even people from Racine crossing here!). Whether or not they come through Turkey armed with just a tourist visa and some cash, or, the more unlikely scenario of carrying a stash of small arms? That's beside the point.
Correct me if I am wrong, but I have not seen any evidence of policy implementation that intends to impede the flow of fighters. I know that if this was a goal, that Erdogan's government is intelligent and efficient enough to accomplish it. But if Turkey is the major transit country to the conflict, then the apology should come from President Erdogan. He should apologize for fueling a conflict, for risking a massacre, and for being so narcissistic that an apology from a Vice-President who would otherwise "be history to him" gives him more concern than the gruesomeness occurring within his country and on its border.
I write about contemporary events and my hope that persistence wins over intractability.