By Ekrem Dumanlı, Today's Zaman
Abdullah Gül's presidency has been a subject of controversy for quite some time. There have been times at which even the public split into two, some saying, "Abdullah Gül must become president after all that has happened otherwise both the prestige of the Parliament and the rules of democracy will be damaged." Others saying, "It can't be Gül because he has ties to the National View; compromise should be reached by electing another candidate who will embrace everyone."
For the most part, both schools of thought adequately voiced their opinions prior to the elections. It was the dead lock in the presidential election that forced the early elections. The Republican People's Party's (CHP) main intent was concealed in the statement, "The president should be elected by the new Parliament." CHP's wish has been granted: the president -- come tomorrow -- will have been elected by the new Parliament. The argument that the 2002 Parliament did not reflect the true will of the public is no longer valid. The Constitution stipulates that the Parliament elects the president. Today, we have a new -- and more representative -- Parliament and this Parliament says Gül is the president.
Now, there is no point in saying "someone else should become the president" because democracy was in action and the result is in favor of Gül. Had the results been different, different issues would be debated in Turkey today. Suspicions would rise over intentions and covert discussions and people would believe that politics, voters, participants, and pluralist democracy were all a sham. The shadow of uncertainty would loom over Turkish democracy for the foreseeable future and incidents would be resolved by forces outside of the Parliament.
But so far, Turkey stands on solid ground. The president is Gül. People with any common sense will have positive attitudes that will prevent tensions. Mr. Gül's presidency is not a victory for one side and a defeat for the other. There is no need to resort to fatalism owing to the imprints of the Cold War Period or to become a victim of obsessive ideologies, for a smear campaign will serve neither side of the Gül presidency. We, the citizens, are all in the same boat and we must steer it with love, respect and understanding. Those who open holes in the boat will not only harm themselves but also shove Turkey into a dark adventure.
Everyone must act sensibly. All has been said and done; everyone has expressed his or her opinion. The public was made the arbiter. Any act to disturb this harmony will harm the public.
Maturity begins, or should begin, with political parties. Gül is no longer a Justice and Development Party (AK Party) figure. He has taken off his AK party hat and now represents the public. He will at times differ with the AK party and he will not act like a seal of the government at Çankaya. We must accept this with reason and understanding. The Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) has demonstrated a principled stance since its first day in Parliament. It nominated its own candidate for president and showed that the Parliament was the place to govern the country. The Democrat Party (DP) did not win any seats because it did not display an ethical approach. Now the Democrat Left Party (DSP), which separated from CHP, is exhibiting a similarly ethical stance like the MHP. The DSP nominated its own presidential candidate, allowing democracy to function instead of boycotting the Parliament and blocking the political system. The CHP has simply isolated itself. Even its election partner, DSP, does not approve of its contentious demeanor. The CHP needs to change its combative attitude and remove suspicions that it is in search of anti-democratic objectives. When all has been said and done, any fight after this point will only bring shame to its instigator.
There are urgent problems in Turkey that can only be resolved if everyone unites. We are tired of fighting over symbols. It would be a grave mistake to make the presidential palace a victim to headscarf debates and military-civil provocations. Oftentimes the media fails to point this out. Mr. Gül will have a unifying effect. His accomplishments over the past five years as foreign minister attest to this.
Last Mod: 28 Ağustos 2007, 09:39