Among the contentious changes are those that would expand the Constitutional Court, a longtime bastion of secularists, to 17 members from 11. Another amendment would increase the powerful Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors to 21 members from the current seven. The changes would give parliament and the president—both currently AKP controlled—a big role in appointing the expanded judicial panels. Other changes would increase the power of civilian courts over the country's powerful military.
Monday, June 7, 2010
Turkey's raid into Gaza - it has little to do with Israel
From time to time I amaze myself. I am no expert on Turkey - but I am an avid student of history, and as an engineer I am trained to notice the patterns. As I said in my letter a few days ago - the main goal of the attempt to break Israel's blockade of Gaza was to strengthen the Islamist control of Turkey and weaken its secular opponents - most importantly the armed forces and the opposition party. Today, I've done a quick research and found to my amazement that there actually is a pink elephant standing in the middle of the dining room - and few people seem to notice it.
Lets start with the basics - the Prime-Minister of Turkey is a staunch Islamist. He is a supporter of Hamas, he believes in blasphemy laws (when it concerns Islam) and he believes in Islamic imperialism. You can find the appropriate quotes from him in my previous articles here and here. Indeed, Erdogan was so extreme, that according to Turkish laws he was prohibited by law from even becoming the Prime-Minister of Turkey. Even BBC, not known for anti-Islamist bias, noted Erdogan's pro-Islamist sympathies and his criminal conviction for inciting religious hatred in 1998. Back in 2002, BBC expressed clear concern about the danger that Erdogan's ascend spells for Turkey and that the military will be watching him closely.
It seems that Mr.Erdogan was careful enough, and he was able to navigate the muddy waters of Turkish politics for nearly 8 years, slowly but steadily building his power base and limiting the role of secular military and judiciary. But the next step that he took in 2010 is an open claim for unlimited power. Erdogan and his supporters in Parliament proposed a new law, which would allow them to eliminate all opposition in the Supreme Court against Islamization of Turkey. According to an article from Wall Street Journal from May 2010, Turkey will in a matter of months hold a referendum which is supposed to approve drastic changes to the Constitution.
In other words, if everything goes according to plan, Erdogan will be able to stuff both the Constitutional Court and the Supreme Board of Judges and Prosecutors with his supporters and essentially destroy the secular limits on his power. Turkish secularists swore to stop him and their best option is to use Supreme Court to declare the referendum unconstitutional. An attentive observer would not miss the obvious - that Turkey's Islamists launched the anti-Israeli campaign precisely at the moment when Erdogan's attempt to take over Turkey was in the most vulnerable moment. If anything, Erdogan's appeal to Turkey's nationalism could not have happenned at a more suitable time for his agenda to overturn the constitution. If anything, Erdogan and his Islamist allies played the Jewish card beautifully.
Anyone who thinks that the violence on Mava Marmari ship off the coast of Gaza was not planned by the Turkish authorities to aid Erdogan'a power grab is clearly ignorant of the facts. This was a propaganda op by the Turkish Islamist party, with a clear aim to aid their complete take over of Turkey.