The recent anti-graft operation and the subsequent government action turned the spotlight on Turkey. In its aftermath, the world media is rife with speculation about the possible impact of these events on Turkish future politics.
The case is currently being investigated and those accused of corruption are behind the bars. The resignation of some ministers — whose loved ones are facing the charges — should have changed the media discourse and must have shot down rumors concerning the Turkish government.
There is no point in projecting this issue as a phenomenon unique to Turkey. Incidents like these, involving high profile figures, do take place across the globe. Such scandals have rarely caused the downfall of a government whose stellar performance cannot be challenged even by its adversaries.
It was, however, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Teyyip Erdogan’s reaction to the secret operation that became fodder for the world media and gossip columnists. The subsequent reshuffle in the police department added fuel to the fire.
The government’s reaction can easily be justified if seen in a broader context. These measures are basically precautions to nip the evil in the bud, as last year’s Gezi protests are still fresh in Turkey’s national memory. It is difficult to forget those days when certain elements were all set to hijack those protests for their own diabolical designs. Taksim Square had become the hub of anti-democracy and communist groups.
It was due to the fear of similar groups conspiring against Turkey that the government took swift pre-emptive measures so as to block the way of anti-democracy forces bent on pushing Turkey back to the bad old days. Apparently, it was the pace of government action that divided the public and media opinion. Unfortunately, one side of the divide blew the entire episode out of proportion and people outside Turkey were led to believe that the Turkish government had hit a dead end and there was no way out of the political quagmire.
People — usually not well versed with political dynamics — easily fall prey to rumors that the events will destabilize the government and the economy. It takes a lot more to affect a strong democratically elected government.
In addition to that the Turkish public always want stability and has always supported the center-right during polls. Throughout the history of the Turkish republic, the main aim of the masses has been to preserve the democratic nature of a religious society. The current democratic setup represents the true aspirations of the masses and perhaps that is why it never gives leeway to internal elements to undo what it has done for the Turkish people during the past decade.
Keeping in view the true nature of the Turkish nation it would not be an exaggeration to forecast the victory of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) — the largest party on the center right of the political spectrum — in the local elections due in March.
The key issue that needs attention is the discord between the government and the Gulen Movement led by Fethullah Gulen. The two sides have so much in common that a thaw will easily set in provided they exhibit determination and patience in handling the situation.
It is imperative on members of the Gulen movement not to play hostage to the whims and wishes of certain elements within the community who are trying to drive a wedge between brothers by churning out uncalled for statements using harsh language. Instead of making efforts to bridge the gap, their divisive politics is aggravating the situation.
People must not remain in the shadow of a small minority, which wants to stoke anger, fragmentation and separation. It is very important for Turkish people in general and Gulen members in particular to attach no importance to such hatemongers, instead concentrate on promoting brotherhood and try to resolve the issue amicably.
We all are making efforts to defuse tensions between the two sides and have succeeded to a great extent. Things are calming down and Turkey will find a way out soon, as the Turkish people know the importance of stability.
A calm and moderate state of mind is always essential in order to prosper as an individual and as a nation. Feelings of hatred and anger only lead to destruction. Such events are unlikely to hamper Turkey’s growth as a country, which always defend the weak and which is always swift in protecting the innocent.
- The writer has authored more than 300 books translated in 73 languages on politics, religion and science.