Sometimes to find what is right you need to start from the mistakes. That is what the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) is most likely doing with respect to the constitutional amendments. The MHP is saying, "If the Justice and Development Party [AK Party] is for it, then I am against it."
Their mistake is that instead of acting on what the AK Party does, they should have taken a look at what the Republican People's Party (CHP) is doing. After all, socio-politically the MHP's complete opposite is not the AK Party, it is the CHP.
The MHP's "We are against it" stance regarding the constitutional amendment poses a major contradiction to its own identity.
MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli spoke with his familiar tone again on Tuesday. "Constitutions are not exploitable materials or covers that dirty hands, dirty minds and guilty people can use to exonerate themselves or hide behind," he said.
These are the kinds of libelous and vicious words we are used to hearing at just about every MHP group meeting.
What is he trying to say?
"We are not going to support the constitutional amendment package."
What were the amendments?
Allowing military personnel to be tried in civilian courts, introducing judicial oversight to Supreme Military Council (YAŞ) decisions on expelling military personnel, updating the number of Constitutional Court and Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors (HSYK) members to mirror advanced democracies, making it harder to close down parties, and removing the provision that prohibits trying Sept. 12 coup leaders.
They are changes that loosen the straitjacket put on the country by the Sept. 12 Constitution and that focus more on the people than on the state.
We do not question the CHP's opposition to the changes because it is acting in line with its nature. But with the MHP it's a different story.
Last Tuesday, the MHP leader announced that the party was going to get into the "same bed" with the CHP. But is it going to be just the CHP that is in that bed? MHP members need to take a look under the blanket because that bed has all the components of "Turkish oligarchy."
The only time MHP constituents can get together with the CHP is when the issue is the Kurdish problem, which is understandable to a certain degree. Otherwise, the genetic coding of these two parties cannot tolerate "companionship" with regards to any other socio-political issue.
The MHP was used by the big players during the Sept. 12 period in their coup conspiracies, it was subject to the tortures of Sept. 12 and felt the state's slap on the face by the hands of the military, so it does not suit the MHP's character to support the laws of the Sept. 12 period.
Before it's too late, the MHP needs to get out of the bed which it got into with a lust for opposing the AK Party.
During his group meeting Bahçeli said, "It is not possible for us to accept a fait accompli without debating the constitution, which is a social contract, and without listening to the views of all sides and without paying heed to criticism."
It is correct that constitutions are a "social contract." But the MHP leader should be cautious because he is describing the Sept. 12 Constitution as a "social contract."
Any movement that considers itself a political party would reject this text, which was imposed on the people virtually at gunpoint. Even if it accepts its content, it would oppose the way it was prepared and forced onto the people, and it would support any legislation that was intended to erase the traces of the coup from the constitution. What's sad is that they are saying "We are against it" even though they have no serious objections to the amendments and in fact even know that they are necessary.
Unfortunately, the MHP is suffering from populism-like illnesses that are common in the political culture. This is an illness that puts those who call themselves "nationalist" in the same bed as those who have a past of trying to stifle the national will.
The MHP is a party that has roots not in the state like CHP, but in the public. The MHP can't and shouldn't collaborate with the CHP-army-high judiciary triangle, which in the society's mind is a "historic bloc" with a criminal past.
Bahçeli needs to realize the absurdity in this picture immediately.
27 March 2010, Saturday