"It is true that liberty is precious; so precious that it must be carefully rationed."
I'd like to direct your attention this evening to Bianet, because they have three interesting articles about the current situation. The one that holds the greatest importance, at least as far as educating Westerners in the ways of the Turkish state, is an item titled, "Washington's Preferences," which gives the current list of no-no's from the Pashas:
* The military does not want to be ripped-off of its political mission and autonomy, and it does not want to hand-over the power to the government.
* The military does not want to see Recep Tayyip Erdogan at head of the state, as President.
* The military, in the West-Islam confontration, does not want to take part with the "Islamic Camp".
* The military does not want a solution to the "Kurdish Problem" through granting the Kurds "community rights."
* The military does not want the roadblocks for freedoms of expression, criticism and organization lifted.
* The military does not want to adjust itself to the "Copenhagen Criteria", a precondition for European Union accession.
For those who know what goes on domestically in the TC, there's nothing new here, and we all knew that Buyukanit was going to take this approach. But Westerners should commit this list to memory, because it's the agenda for the next few years on the Turkish side, with the bottom line being listed first, for a change: The pashas do not want to give up their power.
I'm puzzled over the phrase "community rights." What in the hell are "community rights?" The EU is always nagging the TC to "allow more cultural rights" to Kurds, but I haven't quite figured that out either, because the only thing allowed to Kurds right now is the right to breathe . . . at the whim of the state, naturally. I have the suspicion that the allowance of "cultural rights" ranks right up there with "throwing the dog a bone;" it's something to chew on, but it has no meat.
There are cultural rights--the bone--and political rights--the meat--but this "community rights" thing is just cheap talk.
This Bianet article refers to the existence of a ruling, military class, as in caste, as in "a division of society based on differences of wealth, inherited rank or privilege, profession, occupation, or race; a system of rigid social stratification characterized by hereditary status, endogamy, and social barriers sanctioned by custom, law, or religion." Thank you, Merriam-Webster. Again, from Bianet:
Without doubt, Buyukanit's approaches that voice the search for an "authoritarian democracy" and encourage ultra-nationalism is a direct reflection of his own line of thought.
Neverthless, the fact that like-minded officers who are in full agreement with Buyukanit on almost all major issues are appointed to the posts of high command should be read reflecting a ruling class/force preference than his own personal preference.
[ . . . ]
It is more proper to see this latest drive of the Armed Forces, in the personality of Buyukanit, as a declaration of will on how Turkey s route -or that of ruling classes- should be determined under new global conditions more than the "army's ambition to rule".
That last line is a thinly-veiled contradiction. It is not the army per se, that has ever "ruled" in Turkey; but it has been the military class that has always ruled. Any talk of another "ruling class" in Turkey is a whitewash, because all other classes simply apply the rubber stamp on everything the military class wants to do. The majority of the population is kept in a state of constant fear, confusion, and obscurity through propaganda churned out by a media that is entirely controlled by the state. After all, what happens to those journalists, editors, writers, etc., who dare to publish anything that might be interpreted as "insulting Turkishness?" Article 301 to the rescue!
Yasar Pasha's refusal of being drawn into the "Islamist Camp," with the refusal echoed by his own chorus of jack-booted harpies, is not something that Buyukanit opposes on any ideological grounds, especially since the military created the Turkish Islamists. Again, this is a question of domestic power because the Islamists--the AKP--are threatening to get out of control.
It goes like this: If the military wants there to be Islamism in Turkey, it will bring the Islamism. As for the wider Islamic world, if the pashas believe they can get a better deal from the Islamic world than they can from the West, then they will turn Turkey to the Islamic world themselves. At this point, the pashas resist AKP's pull to the Islamic world, but they also resist the pull toward the EU. The recent statements from EU spokesmen on the need for the pashas to relinquish power to the civilian government has only strengthened their resistance to the EU.
Where, oh where, will our little pashas turn? To Uncle Sugar, the US, as the article notes:
It is because of this [AKP's failure of strategic vision] that Yasar Buyukanit and all other force commanders have made so many unsupported salvos against the EU, imperialism, international capitalism, uncontrollable globalization but aside from these have not uttered a single word on the USA, the Bush administration or the USA foreign policy.
According to Zaman, Ambassador Joe Wilson has already confirmed that Buyukanit will be invited officially to DC. That visit will be something to pay attention to.
More observations on Buyukanit's recent public remarks are found in a second Bianet article, this time from a different perspective, that of TIHV, or Turkish Human Rights Foundation:
TIHV's chairman Yavuz Onen, on the other hand, refers to this tension as "a bogus conflict".
"In its real sense there is no fundamental contradiction" he explains. "The movement they refer to as a fundamentalist threat surfaced after the coup in 1980. It developed under the protection of the Turkish Armed Forces (TAF) and under its shadow.
"The real problem is that a period of intimidating and threatening the forces have democracy has started throughout the world".
According to Onen, the sides, which appear to be in conflict, have in reality already reached an accord on true determining factors.
"They are in accord with imperialism, with neo-liberal policies" he said. "They are also in harmony in the religious field. They are fighting neither the nationalist escalation nor against imperialism. Those complaining of the consequences are responsible for creating those consequences".
In other words, the military class doesn't care about the "fundamentalist" threat. It is using it as one tool to create instability and chaos, from which it will rescue the entire country, just as it did in 1960, 1970, 1980, and 1997. Yavuz Onen has a lot more enlightening comments at the link, on the non-existence of secularism in Turkey, the PKK ceasefire, and rising fascism.
The third article, also from Bianet, is IHD's endorsement of PKK's ceasefire.
Lastly, there's an NPR report in audio, on the strengthening Kurdish ties across the "Turkey/Iraq" border. Of course, we know there's really not a border there, right?