Turkey and Neighbourhood

Clash of Communities: Turkey’s Dormant Domestic Cold War

0 1
By Dr. H. Akin Unver | 10 December 2010


turkish_flag_1

Turkey’s September 12, 2010 Constitutional Amendment referendum was perhaps one of the most socially polarizing episodes in its modern history. A slightly higher-profile voting than a general election, this referendum carved Turkey into two sharply divided trenches, a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to the proposed amendment package to the Turkish Constitution.

Supporters of the Constitutional amendment package argued that the proposed changes would bring Turkish legal and political system closer to European standards through a number of rectifications regarding economic – social rights, individual and judicial reform and enabling the trial of the 1980 coup generals. The ‘no’ position on the other hand had focused extensively on the judicial reform part of the amendment package, arguing that the proposed reform would do nothing but render the Constitutional Court (the highest judicial organ) subservient to the demands of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP), meaning the AKP’s effective control over the entire judiciary.

Although the amendment package was voted in favor by the 58% of the Turkish electorate on September 12 and that the ruling AKP has declared the result ‘a victory’, the vote and its aftermath has exposed Turkey’s long dormant ‘domestic Cold War’. Turkey emerged from its deeply polarizing referendum even more entrenched – in the words of the prominent Turkish columnist Hakkı Devrim: ‘like a freestone peach; which serves as an analogy of Turkish political nature in every incident’. However more interesting than the referendum were the public-political discourses and narratives adopted by both sides of the political continuum in order to increase support and snatch indecisive voters by creating an atmosphere of ‘life and death’. Turkey’s run-up to referendum was marked by Hitler moustaches, ‘asylum-grade’ conspiracy theories and well-known warnings from both sides that if people don’t vote their way, then ‘all will be lost for Turkey’. Such scenes are not unfamiliar in polarized electoral politics of course and unfortunately make up a considerable portion of electoral symbolism and discourse.
“More importantly than ever, Turks need to realize that their compatriots who vote for the rival party are also Turks and not some extraterrestrial entity that popped up suddenly to ‘take over’ Turkey.” 
However, this time Turkey did not experience its usual ‘partisan polarization’, which identifies a strong separation in socio-politics along political party lines. This was something relatively new; a case of ‘popular polarization’, which defines a situation where the society is pushed towards two extremes that are independent of party politics and relate to issues and topics about which the electorate feels more strongly about. Such determinants are always policy areas and issues that elicit an existential threat within a society, so sufficiently ‘real’ and ‘possible’ that it becomes impossible even to reason with, let alone convince those immersed in such narratives. Competing narratives and ‘realities’ clash with each other so intensely, that the resultant effect is one of alienation and ‘other-ness’ within the society. These clashes intensify of course, as other forms of polarization such as wide ideological discrepancy and acute class struggle weigh in.
Want to Read More?

 

Then, Please Click here to Download

Political Reflection (PR) Magazine (PDF | 4.638 KB)

 

* Published in the Fourth Issue of Political Reflection Magazine (PR).

About the author / 

CESRAN Int.

Leave a reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

CESRAN Blog

  • 24th Issue is Online Now!

    Vol. VI | No. III – July-August-September 2020 To Download the Magazine Click Here… CONTENTS 05-14….. World News by Ebru Birinci 17-24….. Preparedness for an Uncertain Future “The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear Itself” by Professor Mark Meirowitz 25-39….. EU LAW vs UK LAW The Primacy of EU Law over National Law:…

  • IEPAS2020 is Going Virtual!

    Dear Friends and Colleagues, IEPAS2020 is Going Virtual! Due to the COVID19 pandemic, we are holding our entire conference virtually by streaming all of the live sessions. You may participate in all of our virtual networking events. In case of missing a session, you may get full access to the replays of every session since all…

  • The 13th issue of JCTS (Journal of Conflict Transformation & Security) is out now…

    The 13th issue of JCTS (Journal of Conflict Transformation & Security) is out now… Vol. 8 | No. 1 | 2020 Click here to Download the Entire Issue   TABLE OF CONTENTS Editor’s Note By David Curran Introduction By Nergis Canefe Research Articles Statelessness as a Permanent State: Challenges to the Human Security Paradigm By…

  • The 19th Issue of The Rest: Journal of Politics and Development is Out Now!

    The 19th issue of the rest: journal of politics and development is out now. Download the issue here… TABLE OF CONTENTS Research Articles Turkish AK Parti’s Posture towards the 2003 War in Iraq: The Impact of Religion amid Security Concerns By Alberto Gasparetto Nigeria and the Great Powers: The Impacts of the Boko Haram Terrorism on…

  • CESRAN International Named again amongst the Top Think Tanks in the World

    CESRAN International is pleased to announce that it has been named again amongst the world’s best think tanks. The 2019 Global Go To Think Tank Index ranked CESRAN International 141st among the World’s “Top Think Tanks in Western Europe” 75th among the World’s “Top Environment Policy Think Tanks” 153rd among the World’s “Top Foreign Policy…

  • THE 18TH ISSUE OF THE REST: JOURNAL OF POLITICS AND DEVELOPMENT IS OUT NOW.

    The 18th issue of the rest: journal of politics and development is out now. Download the issue here… TABLE OF CONTENTS Research Articles The Foreign Policy Decision Making Approaches and Their Applications Case Study: Bush, Obama and Trump’s Decision Making towards Afghanistan and the Region By Sharifullah Dorani Evaluating the Explanatory Power of Social Identity Theory,…

Newsletter