Posted 13.04.2012 14:31:03 UTC
Updated 15.04.2012 09:50:35 UTC
Professor Dr. Ramazan Gözen of Yıldırım Beyazıt University
Turkish politics has recently been the scene of some very critical developments.
Three of them have been particularly important. The first of them was the education reform embodied in the Formula 4+4+4. The second was the arraignment of the military putchists of September 12, 1980 on the basis of a constitutional amendment accepted with a 2010 referendum. The third was the meeting in İstanbul on April 1st of Syria's Friends organized within the framework of the Syria crisis, Turkey's policy and initiatives regarding it.
Although those three developments are distinctly different from one another, they have a common denominator, which is the dynamism and courage of Turkish politics for change. Turkey's dynamism of political change in reforms, democratization and international peace has clearly been seen once again. What underlies that understanding which can be expressed as the Turkey model is in fact the dynamism of change.
More than any of its inherent characteristics, it is Turkey's capability of making radical or partial changes in order to develop itself and its region, no matter how difficult the changes may be. It is naturally the change for the better, the more favorable and the higher quality that we are talking about. Therefore, we believe that those developments, when viewed from this perspective, have been serious steps for the good of both Turkey and the region. It is not possible for the time being to guess how those initiatives will be concluded but as such, they are favorable.
We are of the view that the 4+4+4 education reform which concerns 16 million students and the whole nation along with their families is very likely to be beneficial from three standpoints. The first is that this new system will bring the freedom for children to opt for the area they feel they are talented in. As against the 8-year uninterrupted compulsory education, the students, through the new system, will have the chance to make their own choices every four years depending on the direction they want to follow and concentrate on whatever it is that they want to do as a profession later in life. The second is that because the reform will spur the students on to different professions, it will diversify Turkey's employment capacity.
The third is that thanks to the reform, individual development and identities will be more endowed with self-confidence. It is of course natural that the system needs to be fully translated into life with a sufficient and adequate physical infra-structure and education experts and all required measures to operate soundly and the planned benefits to be reaped.
As for the arraignment of the 1980 putchists, the trial concerns the entire Turkish society both because the military take-over had far-reaching effects on Turkish people and lots of people have applied as intervening parties. The representatives of all parties in parliament, lots of intellectuals, authors, academics and non-governmental organizations have attended the hearing. We can say that the trial is a turning-point in Turkey's democratization process and has had the close attention of the international community as well.
Turkey, with this trial, is trying to come to terms and settle accounts with almost a 50-year tradition of coup-making. There is taking place a historic break in Turkey in terms of democratization, de-militarization, supremacy of law and freedoms. That is why Turkish society as a whole is viewing the trial very favorably. Even the opposition parties which were opposed to the 2010 referendum are now encouraging and supporting the trial of putchists. The outcome of the trial being apart, the mere fact that it has started is a watershed beginning in Turkish politics and can serve as a deterrent for similar initiatives in the future. Considered alongside the ongoing trials such as Balyoz (sledgehammer), it is closely linked to Turkey's democratization process.
And finally, the Syria crisis and the meeting in İstanbul of Syria's Friends. That meeting is the last drive by Turkey's foreign policy in terms of the peace and security of Syria in particular and the Middle East and the world in general. Turkey has hosted many similar meeting in the past decade, playing a peaceful role. The Syria initiative is only one of those.
One of the decisions taken at that meeting was the acceptance of the Syria National Council as the representative of Syrian opposition and the other was the demand to give more time to the Annan plan. With this demand in mind, Annan has told the UN Security Council that Syria was given until April 10.
What was seen at the İstanbul meeting is that Turkey's policy did not have unequivocal support from the US, Europe and even the Arab states. It views were shared but without the will to introduce and implement swift and tough measures. Instead, the Annan plan was given backing for implementation with the attitudes of Russia, China, Syria regime opponents and even Iran having been taken into consideration. If peace can be brokered in this way, we can say that Turkey's demands have still been materialized to a great extent.