Tulips, narcissuses and violets
I would like to write something about flowers in Istanbul. About how I walked in a cemetery where spring had burst forth and the graves were loaded with tulips and narcissuses. About a competition held by the Istanbul municipality, in which a hundred residents can win 300 liras by giving lots of love, care and attention to a tulip bulb, make a picture of the blooming result and send it to the municipality’s tulip jury. How the violets and pansies in the nature strips make even the greyest neighbourhoods… etcetera. But it would be a bit ridiculous, because in the battle between the establishment and the governing AK Party, the heat is on. A bit over a week ago, the highest public prosecutor announced that he had asked the Constitutional Court to close down the AKP. Ever since then lawyers and politicians have been discussing whether the AKP will be able to turn the tide, and if so, how? Change the constitution? Organise a referendum on closing down political parties? And how hypocritical is it of the AKP, that now in the name of democracy they want to change the constitution quickly but they didn’t take such energetic steps when the same prosecutor brought a case against the DTP?
Meanwhile, another bomb has exploded: opponents of the AKP have been arrested. A former university rector, the leader of a political party (albeit a tiny one) and Ilhan Selcuk, a legend in Turkish journalism and senior editor of leftist-nationalist newspaper Cumhuriyet. The arrest of Selcuk in particular drew much criticism and drove many people to protest in the streets. The AKP tries to silence opponents and manipulate the banning order against them, so people are saying. Not so, says the AKP, the three gentlemen are suspected of having ties with an obscure gang that is planning a military coup in 2009. The AKP claims it wants to break up this gang and just goes about doing so. Ironically the judicial institutions that want to ban the AKP, actually want to do so because the AKP is the first body to really take action to dismantle this gang – says AKP.
And now I thought of course I have to write about this on my weblog. But, well, what will be my opinion on this matter? I’ve been struggling with that question. I can’t figure it out. I guess I’m mainly flabbergasted by the tough, high and dark game being played here. A ferocious life and death game in the struggle for power. Turkey is not getting more stable, to put it mildly. I devour the newspapers. And now and then I let myself get distracted by tulips, narcissuses and violets.
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