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ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- The most essential problem the newly established Turkish Republic faced in maintaining part of the Ottoman heritage in state governance was that it was torn between the "ideal of ensuring the survival of the state forever" and the emphasis on "raison d'Eetat," or the reason of the state, that is to say, a country's goals and ambitions.

Since the time of Sultan Mehmed the Conqueror (Fatih), the ideal of the eternal preservation of the state was represented by the "social center," while the reason of the state was advocated by the "bureaucratic center" and these two centers occasionally clashed with each other.

With a radical breakaway from the heritage of his ancestors Osman and Orhan that relied on a civilian spirit rather than on an institutionalized apparatus, Fatih built the state on four pillars: the Indo-Mongolian State tradition, the customs of Genghis Khan, the right of Arabs to the sword and the palace politics of the Byzantine Empire. Enderun (the palace school) provided recruits for the bureaucratic center. The sultan was the only security for these recruits, who knew that they were the "servants" of the bureaucratic center. Since they didn't have any historical, religious or social affinity with or emotional attachment to the public, any misfortune that might befall the sultan would bring their own end as well.

Apparently, astute sultans such as Fatih and Suleiman the Magnificent (Kanuni) didn't relinquish the initiative. But we can say that, in general, the initiative was largely wielded by the bureaucratic center. When the initiative was in the hands of the sultan, the state was "generous," but when it was in the hands of the bureaucratic center, the state's emphasis shifted toward the reason of the state. Thus, coups or revolts were masterminded by the bureaucratic center, not by the sultan or the public. The most tragic example of this was that Sultan Mahmud II took the state banner and urged the public to revolt against the Janissary corps. This is perhaps the only example in history in which a monarch tried to provoke the public to revolt against his own bureaucracy.

The republic took the state from the sultan and handed it over to the bureaucratic center in the form of the cult of personality. While the sultan would say "my servants," the symbolic leader of the bureaucratic center would say, "my nation." While the sultan would say, "This is my edict," the republic's official would say, "This is what we have decided."

The Janissary-led bureaucratic center would reinforce its position and power with periodic interventions. Turkey introduced democracy simultaneously with the West, but the bureaucratic center would maintain it for only 10 years. Interventions have taken place since 1960: in 1960, 1970, 1980, 1997 and 2007. Some of them were open and violent coups, while other were attempts. This tradition is still in place. Each time, the bureaucratic center acts to reassert the reason of the state with a new disguise and identity. With each intervention, a specific social group is "otherized" or demonized. The thing is that each time, the bureaucratic center adopts the identity of the ruling party or ideology. Thus, when the Republican People's Party (CHP) is in power, it positions itself as leftist/Kemalist, and when a conservative party is in power, it repositions itself as conservative. Their ideology or political identity is just deceptive garb it wears. In the postmodern coup of Feb. 28, 1997, the target was the National View (Milli GE[micro]rE-E-), Islamism and imam-hatip schools --a type of secondary school with a religious curriculum along with the standard curriculum.

The rise of the Justice and Development Party's (AK Party) to power was not easy. The tutelage regime was forced to withdraw thanks to united efforts from everyone. Everyone, including Fethullah GE-len's Hizmet movement, contributed to this process. Now, the state's bureaucratic center is once again assuming the identity of the ruling party, using its historic codes, skills and reflexes and it is trying to reassert its position within the state apparatus using its customary procedures. The AK Party supporters, the National View adherents, Islamists, religious/pious, conservative masses belong to the same human ecology as Nur communities, the Hizmet and religious orders. They constitute the main body. If one of them becomes weaker, the others will melt away as well.

ALy BULAEc (Cihan/Today's Zaman) CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Apr 8, 2014
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