I have been an intermittent if opinionated contributor over at AmerikanTurk with regard to politics etc. which will come as no surprise to anyone who reads this blog. However there is something I feel the need to say as someone who is proud of her country and proud to be a Turk.
Erdogan, Gul and the AK Party are not the problem in Turkey right now, neither is the Army who are after all fulfilling the legacy of Atatürk in defending the Turkey we have today and its separation of religion and state. Much as it pains me to say it but the man in the picture is the biggest single obstacle to progress in Turkey.
I cannot believe that a responsible political party boycotted the vote in Parliament today and this mans ignorance and intolerance is almost single handedly handing the country to the AK Party.
There are a number of things that are severely wrong with the CHP and Baykals position in particular:
1) Proportional representation as practised in Turkey is absurd with the 10% threshold limit. Why is a party that attracts less than 3 million votes not accepted as being representative? However the CHP and other educated secularists supported that as it meant the hardline Islamist parties and other assorted nutters were kept out of Parliament. Now the AK Party has a massive majority in Parliament with only 30% of the vote because of it.
2) Not being present today shows contempt for democracy. The CHP and its allies should have been there and voted against instead of not bothering to turn up. That is childish.
3) The great unwashed in Turkey will be lapping this up. The media will be pumping out that fact that the AK Party wants to make sure people power elect the President, etc. As the CHP have appeared to stop due process electing a President in accordance with the laws and procedures they themselves were party to this virtually guarantees that the AK Party will be providing the next President.
Alot of commentators have stated that Ataturk would be turning in his grave at the thought of a President with a headscarf wearing wife in Cankaya. Surely the Law would prohibit Mrs Gul from actually entering Cankaya as it is a public building? I am not so sure. What could be a better example of separating religion and state than an outwardly religious man being president of a determinedly secular country and upholding that separation. Surely this would have been the best example of how democracy and acceptance of religion as a personal statement rather than as an article of government could be articulated.
Whilst I do not disagree with the protesters who tuned out en masse their hijacking by Baykal and his cronies is odious. If anything this is likely to result in an increased majority and vote for the AK Party of new elections are held and a definite vote for an AK Party Presidential Candidate. As much as I dislike Erdogan for his hectoring, arrogant, patronizing, shouty manner you have to give the man his dues he is a far better politician than Baykal and understands the 60 million in Turkey who do not live in villas or apartments near the Bosphorus....
In summary Baykal has left the filed open now for the AK Party to dominate the discussion....what kind of politician is that.......a very, very bad one.