Turkish Parliamentarians have finally elected a new President of the Republic in former Foreign Minister Abdullah Gül, who had been nominated by the Governing AK Party, who were recently returned to office in the 2007 General Election gaining 47 per cent of the vote. Yet despite their democratic mandate only yesterday on the eve of the presidential vote, the Chief of the Turkish General Staff, General Yasar Buyukanit, fired yet another shot across the AK Prime Minister Recep Erdoğan bows by issuing a public statement which claimed “centers of evil” were trying to corrode the secular nature of the Turkish Republic.
It seems the Turkish military really do need to get up to speed as to how this democracy game works in practice. If there are fair and free elections then like it or not the result stands. The military’s only political task is to see that the democratic will of the people prevails, not fight to over turn it.
But then we should hardly be surprised at this abomination of a threat against the will of the Turkish people. As these days refusing to recognize governments who have an electoral mandate has become all the rage with certain Neo-conservative western politicians, the more so when the winning party can be labeled as political islam. The USA and the EU refused to recognize the mandate of Palestinian Hamas, despite the electoral process through which Hamas claimed their governmental mandate being given a clean bill of health by the international electoral observers. Richard Perle a leading US Neo-conservatuve suggested some weeks ago just prior to the 2007 Turkish general election, that intervention by the Turkish military against the ruling Islamist Justice and Development Party government should not be cause for concern by Washington or the European Union. Using as a pretext the Algerian military who with US support refused to accept the mandate of the Islamist FIS party by canceling the second round of voting due to the likelihood of a FTS victory.
If the Turkish military make a disastrous decision to intervene against the will of the people as expressed by the Turkish electorate in the 2007 general election, all true democrats must rally to the Turkish people and the AK Parties support. Turkey is not a third world banana republic, where a minority get to decide who governs, but a modern 21st century Democracy. The Turkish military in the past played an important role in bringing this democracy into being. It is now time for them to withdraw from active politics, not start aping thuggish Dictators of the past, Ataturk deserves better than that.