Saturday, 11 September 2010

The Shadow of Ergenekon

New-Right has a post about the upcoming constitutional referendum in Turkey. Prime Minister Erdogan - is pushing for the reforms apparently to bring Turkey in line with the requirements of the European Union. Although the AKP has a slightly more Islamic character than the opposition" Kemalist" Republican People's Party, it nonetheless appears to be the centre-right, pro-western option (I only hesitate because The Economist sometimes appears to treat the respective policy positions of the main parties as reversed, but I can't find something to back that up right now).

Opinion polls show that the majority of the Turkish electorate is ready to vote for the proposed changes, which is good for both Turkey and the West. But it is worth remembering how fragile Turkish democracy can be. The "deep state", elements of the Turkish state that support nationalist secularism over democracy, have cooperated with the military to successfully overthrow elected governments four times since 1950. The Ergenekon trial, described as the 'trial of the century', is the government's confrontation with these counter-democratic elements. And this plebiscite is their attempt to secure these advances with a popular mandate. There are now civilian organs of state, like the Constitutional Court, which can take over the role of safeguarding secularism that was once the preserve of the army. We have to hope they succeed.

1 comment:

  1. I hope, like you, that the constitutional elements succeed. Turkey needs to finally put to past the anti-democratic secularists within the army, who think the state secularism more important than democracy, equality and the voice of the people.

    And what is good for Turkey, is good for Europe.