An important topic on last week's political agenda was the MHP's appeal to the IYI Party for cooperation or alliance in the upcoming local elections. Despite the fact that the IYI Party has not yet issued an official response to the MHP's proposal, initial indicators suggest that it may decline such collaboration and amalgamation with the MHP. This is especially true if the MHP's proposal implied such a merger, as it appears that the IYI Party intends to uphold its autonomy.
In reality, Akşener seems to have had a broader political objective right from the outset, surpassing mere reconciliation with the MHP. Although the chances of this objective coming to fruition are slim, Akşener's ultimate aspiration is to position herself within the center-right, rather than aligning solely with the nationalist faction of the political spectrum. Her intermittent remarks such as "my aim is to become the prime minister, and I will achieve it" and her hesitancy within the opposition alliance on the brink of the May elections can only be comprehended within this context.
It's worth noting that Akşener's hesitations might have been influenced by the "Millet Alliance's" failure to adopt a clear stance against the HDP. In this regard, the recent statement from the Eskişehir Provincial Chairman of the IYI Party, a few days ago, that "Mr. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu's ambiguous rapprochement with the HDP was not well-received by our intended audience" isn't just his personal view but also resonates with the overall sentiment within the Party.
In a highly contentious political maneuver, the government has taken steps to facilitate the release of tens of thousands of ordinary criminals from prisons through amendments to the Criminal Execution Code. Essentially, this constitutes a covert amnesty initiative, as elaborated below. Just three years ago, the government employed a similar strategy, leading to the liberation of approximately 100,000 individuals. Evidently, the motive behind this move by the AKP government is to create space for new inmates within the already overcrowded correctional facilities. In fact, even with the previous releases, there are still around 350,000 convicts and detainees incarcerated today.
However, the significant extent of this issue largely stems from the AKP government's actions. There are two primary factors contributing to this situation: Firstly, numerous offenses within our legal framework are categorized as alleged offenses against the State. Those found guilty of these "crimes against the State," which often encompass the exercise of civil and political rights – fundamental avenues for democratic citizen involvement – are systematically excluded from such execution or amnesty initiatives. The second factor pertains to court proceedings that frequently transgress the principles of a just trial. In essence, numerous individuals are needlessly incarcerated due to unfair trials.Hence, the approach to avert the incarceration of hundreds of thousands of citizens entails reducing politically motivated offenses within the criminal code to the lowest feasible extent. Moreover, it necessitates ensuring that political offenders – who are purported to have engaged in acts classified as crimes against the State – aren't exempt from amnesty. Instead, they should be prioritized for release. Concurrently, it's imperative to rigorously adhere to the stipulations of international human rights conventions to which Turkey is a signatory and to uphold the principles of a fair trial as outlined by the existing Constitution in criminal proceedings.
However, the matter of navigating through the economic crisis, a responsibility seemingly bestowed upon Mehmet Şimşek, the Minister of Treasury and Finance, and H. Gaye Erkan, the Governor of the Central Bank, hasn't yielded considerable positive strides thus far. Furthermore, as previously highlighted, nearly no actions have been taken to curtail public expenditures. Surprisingly, the weight of the economic "recovery" program, which remains uncertain in terms of its continuity post-local elections and its potential for success, is being imposed on the shoulders of the civilian sector. This imposition, notably impacting those with modest and middle incomes, is being executed through tax hikes and price escalations.
Lastly, let's delve into a few aspects highlighted by the latest declaration put forth by the National Security Council (MGK). Historically, MGK gatherings and the ensuing communiqués held immense significance in the eyes of nearly everyone, particularly politicians and the media. In recent years, although the tradition of the NSC releasing public declarations has endured, both the meetings themselves and the statements made have ceased to captivate as much public interest as in the past. While this shift represents a positive development, the Council's agenda and declarations remain an essential information source for those seeking comprehensive insights into Turkey's "State" and its ongoing core concerns.
Viewing the latest NSC Communiqué dated August 9th from this perspective, certain aspects stand out prominently: Even seven years after the July 15 coup attempt, whose underlying motives and intricate dynamics remain partially concealed, the Republic of Turkey continues to designate the Gülen sect, labeled as "FETÖ," as its principal adversary. This perspective clarifies the paradox wherein the AKP, a party that emphasizes state authority, has been releasing numerous ordinary criminals from correctional facilities, while simultaneously apprehending Gülen sympathizers through routine police operations. Thousands of individuals from diverse professions and backgrounds, spanning all age groups and health conditions, are being imprisoned without differentiation between children and adults, elderly and young, women and men, ill and healthy individuals.
Additionally, it would be remiss not to underscore a further irony embedded within the NSC Declaration. Specifically, the MGK Communiqué, chaired by AKP leader Tayyip Erdoğan in his role as President, endorses and upholds the Treaty of Lausanne. Curiously, this endorsement contrasts with the perspective held by the AKP's constituency – and possibly the broader political elite – which perceives the Treaty as a "betrayal document" that constricts Turkey's actions and potential!
See you in the next Freedom Observer!