The following piece appeared in today’s English edition of Zaman newspaper. I’m not commenting – just putting it here with a recommendation that you check it out:
Normalcy, but how?
Turkey fell into a crisis right at a moment when no one was expecting it. While it was clear that the run-up to local, general and presidential elections might see some political turbulence, no one thought the country would boil over so thoroughly, moving a hair’s breadth from civil war.
The Justice and Development Party (AK Party) government must also have been unprepared; it was seriously shaken by the crisis. What’s clear now is that Turkey can no longer shoulder the politics of polarization, and that the manipulation of said polarization has become riskier than ever. Many say — and it’s apparent — that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan tends to handle the politics of polarization with mastery. This is true.
At the same time, claiming that this polarization is what Erdoğan wants is skewing the truth. Since the end of 2002, when the AK Party came to power, the party has been the focus of constant harassment, its agenda the target of endless attempts to raise tension. The years 2003-04 saw a series of coup plans that were known to both the military’s General Staff headquarters and the government. The generals behind these coup plans used military and civilian tools to keep the national agenda as infused with tension as possible and to try to portray the AK Party as opposed to secularism. Read more