During these times when societal splits are encouraged, I believe that our most urgent need is to clarify our stance as democrats and to unify this stance in order to brace the violence of the splits. Rather than the existence of a political party we can identify with, the problem of Turkey is the survival of the civilian regime injured with the interventions, the reactivation of the EU process that has cooled considerably and that the national sensitivities on attack go back to a prudent daily functioning. When this happens, we will be able to understand what part of the worries about the regime are realistic and what part are seemingly directed at the AKP but in fact have the EU and the prevention of Turkey’s democratization in their sights. Surely, it is not accurate nor in line with the above mentioned pursuit to define the whole population who became instruments of the demonstrations or all those who have expressed their worries about the AKP as “anti-democracy” or “pro-coup.” Those of us who claim to know why and how the present stagnation came about do not have the luxury to belittle the population that thinks using the references of the popular-official ideology. I say this, because no one desires the shedding of blood, the crippling of the civilian regime and modern ways of living coming under threat. To think of it, the people have been subjected to a certain type of propaganda for decades and are stuck in a mentality thought to be correct if only from being repeated. I think that for the people, an irreversible process of enlightenment has begun, or that at least the monolithic despotic mentality has rotten so much from the inside that it can no longer carry its own weight.
Therefore, no matter what happens, voting in the elections and claiming the civilian regime as well as trying to remain calm are duties of all citizens of Turkey. The Armenian citizens of Turkey are no exception. The present era which has witnessed the murder of Hrant, the slaughter of Christians and harassments against us as a community, although seemingly controversial, might also be the best time to overcome an identity stuck within the norms of the community. Naturally, Armenians are suffering from issues parallel to those of the greater society they are part of. The routes despotism has used to sneak and establish its codes into greater society, are valid for Armenians, too. But other things also happened to the Armenians throughout this process. After 1915, Armenians were excluded and at the same time, instinctively (maybe as an unconscious reaction) isolated themselves from Turkey’s politics and problems. Where and how the Armenian citizens of Turkey, who do not feel rooted in Turkey and have half of their family members abroad, see themselves in this country’s future is a question mark. True, this stems from a big injustice inflicted on Armenians. But how much longer can the community bear this contradiction?
There is no independent “exit” from the general state of affairs for Armenians. Because the country is not democratic, the Armenian community can not be democratic within itself either. The inner democracy of the Armenian community can be established with its participation in the country’s democratization process bearing its own colors. Therefore, Armenians who think of not voting or who think of voting for the CHP should think again. For those who cannot digest the suggestion “voting for AKP is claiming democracy,” there are independent candidates. Moreover, among those candidates are familiar and truly exciting names. But one among all these names is even more important for us.
That name is Baskın Oran. Even though his district had not been determined at the time this article was written, he will probably enter the elections from the 2nd district of İstanbul, where a lot of Armenians live. Now we have no excuses about not voting. A strong opportunity has arisen to break the hegemony established by so-called leftist parties on “true and sincere” leftwing votes. Do I need to tell you about Baskın Oran? Let us add that this decision represents a huge sacrifice on his behalf and thereby open a door to what we will write about our Professor in the coming days.
Agos, 1 June 2007
Agos, 1 June 2007