Abdullah Gül should become president because...

Let me state from the outset what I would normally say at the end: Abdullah Gül, who restored Turkey's esteem and prestige around the world during his short-lived prime ministry and over four years of foreign ministry, and who also simultaneously earned

Abdullah Gül should become president because...
By Bülent Keneş, Today's Zaman

Let me state from the outset what I would normally say at the end: Abdullah Gül, who restored Turkey's esteem and prestige around the world during his short-lived prime ministry and over four years of foreign ministry, and who also simultaneously earned worldwide respect, should not be prevented in any fashion from being nominated for the presidency, being elected and filling this sublime position with dignity.

Gül should become president because it has finally become obvious that Turkey has no other option left but to defy all of its paranoia in order to become a real democracy. The only way to eradicate the obstacles invented to prevent Gül's presidency, including military memos, "murders" of law and anti-democratic practices, is to frustrate all these efforts. This is exactly what was done by our people in the July 22 elections. People showed a very strong reflex that expressed their confidence in the AK Party and their contentment with its deeds -- and that is strong enough to eliminate all sorts of unlawful and anti-democratic obstacles put in Gül's way. Nobody, including Gül and the AK Party, can turn a blind eye to this strong democratic reflex of people. It is obvious that whoever overlooks this reality becomes the target of this reflex, which can be fatal along with its power for revival.

Gül should become the president because, contrary to what some well-intentioned columnists like Şahin Alpay and Amanda Akçakoca write, Gül's presidency would not be tantamount to wasting a great talent. Just the opposite, a president in possession of Gül's profile and dynamism would greatly foster and accelerate Turkey's efforts to open up to the world through the relations he would develop at the highest level with international actors. It must be the Sezer profile that has filled this position for the last seven years (that has been unable to fill, actually) which our friends, who think Gül's presidency would amount to blunting his abilities, took as a model. However, comparing Gül to a figure like Sezer -- literally an introvert who favors Turkey retiring into itself, who cannot assess the developments in the world properly, who has no relations whatsoever with the outside world, who cannot take any initiatives and who plays a negative role in everything, let alone making positive contributions that could give events new direction -- would be doing him a great injustice. I think it would not be fortune-telling to say that Turkish diplomacy under Gül's presidency and support would gear up. Also the great time and energy loss in the last seven years caused by Sezer and the cluster of bureaucrats within the state with a similar mindset can only be recovered under a president like Gül.

Gül should become the president because it is time to carry that mature democratic attitude, respectful toward all political stances and attitudes in Turkish society, into the state mechanism. Electing a president like Gül is no longer an option; it is an obligation for the restructuring of the state bureaucracy in such a fashion that it becomes proactive to democratic demands, and for the eradication of its disconnectedness from people and even its standing toward the people. At this point Gül's wife's headscarf can only make a positive contribution to eradication of the disconnection between the state and people. In a genuinely democratic system, nobody can be prevented from becoming president because his wife doesn't wear a headscarf, just as those whose wives are headscarf-wearing cannot be prevented, either.

Gül should become the president because it is high time the garbage of "someone from outside the political sphere must be elected to secure this sublime post's impartiality" was disposed of. Saying "Gül will be at least as impartial as Sezer" would be the greatest injustice that could ever be done to Gül. Sezer, as a president elected from outside the political sphere, has acted partially to an extent never seen before. At the cost of fighting and defying all of social sensitivities and demands, he put up the fiercest opposition to AK Party policies. It is out of the question to say that Sezer has exemplary qualities that can be taken as a role model in terms of "impartiality," as he used all of the possibilities of being a politically unaccountable president for a certain political wing's interests (let's not spare you the details -- the interests of the CHP).

Gül should become president because people have been burning since 1993, when Özal passed away, with the aspiration of having a president in Çankaya Palace who will embrace and represent all segments of society and dominate the whole of the state, a person who is "from among people" and who will thus be one of them. The Turkish nation, as all recent public opinion surveys clearly indicate, wants a president like Gül through whom, they believe, it will be possible to recover from the great destruction inflicted on the state-society relationship by Süleyman Demirel during the Feb. 28 process and later by Ahmet Necdet Sezer. Nobody should doubt that Gül will become the president in the elections that may be held after the referendum in October, if conditions require and allow it.
Last Mod: 03 Ağustos 2007, 10:10
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