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Can all the parties in Turkey unite?

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Can all the parties in Turkey unite?

Supporters of Turkish prime minister Erdogan cheer during an election rally in March 2014By Harun Yahaya

The AKP emerged stunningly victorious in Turkey  from the local elections, by a margin leaving its past successes  in the shade. This was a highly favorable outcome for the Turkish right, although when we look at the details, we see that other steps also need to be taken if true social peace is to emerge. To understand these important steps, first let’s take a look at the current situation of Turkey.

The importance of Turkey is increasing by the day, because:

-          Turkey is a country that is striving to maintain its own domestic tranquility and that of neighboring countries in the midst of the civil wars, dictatorships and radical groups operating throughout the Middle East.

-          Turkey is a country that is doing its best to assist its brothers in Muslim countries under difficult conditions.

-          Turkey is a country with a devout Muslim population and has never broken away from the West; what is more, it looks to the West in terms of its culture of democracy and inclusive character.

-          All cultures that have existed in the Middle East have  been made part of the Turkish social fabric over the centuries. Assyrians, Armenians, Kurds, Arabs and Turks have been able to co-exist in the same district without distinction between them for hundreds of years. Therefore, a party that wishes to govern Turkey has to follow a policy that will include all these different elements.

 

The AKP has achieved outcomes that have attracted the attention of the entire world, especially in terms of industrial development and economic growth. The ability of the right to include many  different elements within itself and yet not create  an impression such as to give rise to any allegations of sectarian discrimination has kept Turkey free of sectarian arguments over the last 10 years. Indeed, for the first time in the history of the Republic, Alawite elders have been recognized by the state and djemevis (Alawite places of worship) officially opened. However, when we look at the election results we see that the AKP lost votes in the majority of provinces in the Southeast and West. When scrutinize the reasons for this, a picture requiring our urgent attention emerges.

 

It is possible to win over the hearts of our citizens living in the Western part of our country

In order to win the backing of people living on Turkey’s coastal strip for the AKP, the government needs to adopt a moderate and tolerant conception of Islam, based on love and affection, that makes freedom its basic component. The AKP  Party administration has never interfered with the life style of anyone; nevertheless, although rare, some words of AKP Party members could cause concern in some parts of  society. To prevent that,  freedom, which is also a requirement of the Qur’anic moral values, should be focused on with greater intensity. Making it clear that women who do not cover their heads and wear low cut clothes, as well as young people who go bathing in the sea, are also first-class Muslims, and adopting an embracing policy, would be a promising step.

 

The threat of fragmentation in the Southeast

Both the AKP and the institutions of the state are always on their guard against the separatist terror that spreads its  propaganda in the Southeast and has cost tens of thousands of lives over the last 30 years. However, it must  never be ignored that as part of Lenin’s strategy of “one step forward, two steps back,” the PKK, a Marxist-Leninist organization, may from time to time appear to be taking a step back. The ultimate aim of the PKK is to build an independent communist state of Kurdistan. An organization that has ruthlessly shed blood to achieve that aim will clearly never abandon it so long as it does not renounce its core ideology.

Elections in the region are known to have taken place under the shadow of the gun for many years. The PKK’s pressure and intimidation tactics frequently turns into violence, and the people are forced to vote for a single party. The election results in the Southeast would obviously be very different if there were not these threats and intimidation.

Of course the AKP government has registered major progress in this area based on its efforts. For example, the daily reports of people being martyred have come to an end, and  clashes in the region have declined to almost zero. Yet, despite all these  accomplishments, the PKK has still not renounced its ideology. One of the most urgent tasks facing the government is to completely eliminate the threat of the PKK from the Southeast.

Autonomy is a major step on the road to breaking away. It is not rational to be taken in by talk of “We will not declare autonomy” and not to take appropriate measures, because an ideological and intellectual infrastructure has been established in the region over the last 30 years. The first priority is therefore to do away with that ideological foundation.

The state must build a wall of ideas, based on our national and spiritual values, against PKK propaganda. Other measures that need to be taken are for people to be made aware of this grave danger and for younger generations to be raised with national ideals and goals.

 

All political parties must unite and work for the unitary integrity of our nation

The priority must be given, not to political concerns over the threat of fragmentation, but to the unity of the nation without any discrimination between right or left, bringing together all political parties to work together in these cities. In order to avoid the wholesale loss of the Southeast, the AKP and other political parties need to enter elections in the form of an alliance. Our nation expects all parties to exhibit a spirit of brotherhood in the face of a threat of separatism.

Turkey can only be truly successful and enjoy true peace if these measures are taken without delay. A people who live by solidarity, rather than polarization, will be an example of a democracy that respects spiritual values, and a role model for the entire Muslim world.

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