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Arync and speaking up at critical times.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- Former deputy prime minister, parliament speaker and co-founder of the Justice and Development Party (AKP) BE-lent Arync's statements on TV have not been good news for President Recep Tayyip Erdoy-an.

Arync has literally bombarded Erdoy-an over a number of critical issues and questioned the whole Dolmabahce Agreement affair. Contrary to some commentary in the Turkish press, I think these statements matter. They do matter because they more concretely reveal the differences within the AKP. Interestingly, Arync's statements were supported by former Education Minister HE-seyin Ecelik, former Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin and most recently by former Youth & Sports Minister Suat Kylyc.

The timing of these statements are not really good for Erdoy-an as he is preparing to hit the road for his campaign to convince the Turkish public that the country's problems can only be resolved through an executive presidential system. Erdoy-an has successfully enlarged his public support by turning to a strong military option against the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). He has solidified his support and built public consent by adding nationalists and some Kemalists to his base when fighting the PKK. Unfortunately, this state of affairs constitutes a weakness of the traumatization of the 1990s as it prevents a normal and rational debate on the Kurdish issue.

Although belated, I still believe Arync, Ecelik, Ergin and Kylyc speaking up is a healthy phenomenon. I only wish this had happened earlier. I wish that these voices could have been heard when myself, Ertuy-rul GE-nay, Reha Ecamuroy-lu, Haluk Euzdalga, Erdal Kalkan and many others were speaking up. Nevertheless, I view these statements as positive and hope that they will continue to speak up. One reason why the AKP is where it is today is because many people were afraid to speak up in the past. One reason why the party lost its moral and ethical high ground is because critical voices were not allowed, and its internal culture was based on the unquestionable authority of its leader. Had we been able to speak up when Uludere happened, when Gezi erupted, or when Dec. 17 and 25, 2013, knocked on the door, Turkey would have been a different country today.

Of course, one reason why that did not happen is the political tradition from which the AKP comes. The AKP's Islamist political culture does not allow for criticism as many of its members view Erdoy-an as their "Emir-E-l mE-'minin" (Amir of the believers, head of the believers, caliph, or head of an Islamic state). That said, the situation in which the country finds itself has become so detrimental that speaking up has become a necessity. Needless to add, the immediate demonization of Arync testifies to the fact that the AKP is not at all ready to permit any criticism. Hence, we are likely to see an increasing demonization of those who speak up. If this barrage of criticism continues, it will be interesting to see how such criticism will have an impact on Turkey's conservatives at a time when they are being conditioned to make Erdoy-an an executive president.

Despite an overwhelming electoral win on Nov. 1, Turkey remains restless. The country continues to be traumatized by an ever-increasing authoritarianism. It will be interesting to see whether more former AKP officials will dare to speak up. If they do, they will be welcome.

SUAT KINIKLIOy[currency]LU [Cihan/Today's Zaman] CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Feb 4, 2016
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