To: Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey
Dear Prime Minister:
I wrote my first letter to you on April 17 2009, emphasizing that Turkey is being alarmingly polarized; varied methods of pressure, fear, intimidation, and suppression politics implemented against critics of your government are used; that many intellectuals, journalists, and writers are detained, and that this situation is eliminating social and political peace in Turkey, and dragging the country into a very dangerous strife-ridden environment which even you wouldn’t want.
Today, as we observe the situation in our beautiful country Turkey 15 months later, I witness with great sorrow how my concerns were warranted. Clearly and without a doubt, no patriotic person can be pleased with this situation that our Turkey has been pushed into.
Every passing day, soldiers, police, civilians are targets of terrorism; terrorists and their supporters have escalated terror as far as the cities. Our beautiful country is facing a situation which may lead to civil conflict experienced before 1980, demonstrated by the latest incidents in Inegol and Dortyol.
Without a doubt, as Prime Minister, you and your government are responsible for dragging Turkey into this political and social conflict-filled environment because, a government’s prime responsibility is to take measures to avoid polarization, segregation, and segmentation, and ensure the safety of every citizen.
Whereas you have been unable to demonstrate this responsibility even on the most sensitive social issues, instead pursuing policies leading to polarization and division rather than reconciliation. As proof, I would like to give just two concrete examples:
First: Democratic Opening
Dear Prime Minister:
The indispensible condition, even pre-condition for contemporary democracy and a state where rule of law prevails is an independent judiciary, vibrant opposition, free press, independent universities, and a mind set to resolve the country’s fundamental problems.
Excluding the two years of the 1980 coup:
- I have never seen in the period that I have been able to observe since 1965 a government this intolerant and oppressive toward criticism
- In almost half a century, no administration has rendered an important part of the media this narrow-mindedly dependent on it, making them proponents who knowingly misinformed public opinion
- Never have individuals in Turkey who staunchly defend the constitutionally mandated democratic, secular and rule of law, always demonstrating opposition to military coups and illegal applications, completely patriotic, decent and moral people, intellectuals, Kemalists, been slandered with accusations they definitely did not deserve, and arrested for reasons completely alien to credible accusations that they support coups.
- In no period has there been attitudes demonstrated to this degree to shatter the respectability of higher judicial institutions
- In no period has there been a campaign of accusations and incriminations directed against the Turkish military and its commanders.
- At no time have the country’s issues which should be discussed such as increased unemployment, poverty, rich/poor divide, corruption and bribery, education and health, successfully been avoided, and the country’s agenda continuously diverted to artificial topics
- At no other time have we witnessed to the degree of the last few years, partisanship where most of the jobs are filled with personnel who don’t deserve the position or status.
- At no other time have we seen the politicians and their cronies become so wealthy in such a short time through politics, witnessed this level of corruption, simply plundering public property with the utmost skill, selling domestically and internationally.
- At no other time have hundreds of Parliamentarians insisted so much on keeping an exceptional armored immunity.
- Turkey has never been placed under the weight of debt as it has under the AKP government period.
Dear Prime Minister:
It seems to me that on the issues I outlined above, Turkey has arrived at a point where even you wouldn’t want or accept. In my view, in some areas, despite your efforts, Turkey has come to this entirely distressing and nerve wrecking situation. Yes, Dear Prime Minister, you and your government are primarily responsible for this situation. At the very latest, the public will have to, and will hold you accountable during the next general election. I have no doubt that the reasonable Turkish public will do so.
Prof. Dr. Hakki Keskin