According to findjobdescriptions, the clear winner of the electoral battle was therefore the AKP, which in recent years has played its game with skill and a lot of unscrupulousness, the characteristics of its own leader. It is necessary to go to Kayseri, ancient Caesarea, in the heart of the most industrious Anatolia, to discover the success of the companies that provide economic support to Erdogan’s team: a city of one million residents, home of Abdullah Gul. The main manufacturing center of the country, it has been able to form, within 20 years, an Islamic bourgeoisie that recognizes itself in all respects in the affable and pious Gul, prototype and symbol of a new conservative elite. This social class, which until a few decades ago lacked a strong political point of reference, is now imposing itself from a financial point of view, negotiating continuously to acquire power: with the bureaucracy, with the judicial administration, with the universities and even with the military. The process began when the Justice and Development Party rose to power by itself and is not over yet. “In reality, the leadership of the AKP – says the academic and commentator Soli Ozel – is more interested in infiltrating the system than in overthrowing it.” Kayseri is the Anatolian capital of a new Islamic capitalism, far from the splendors and luxuries of Istanbul. Here the veiled heads of women are in the majority and the restaurateurs do not serve alcohol. But this old shopping center located right in the middle of the country has been able to transform itself from a rearguard town into a city that symbolizes the Muslim recovery. 98% of the affairs are regulated by family members, for the most part associated in the religious coven of Nakshibendi (of which Gul is a part), who have joined in a mutual assistance pact. Today, among the 500 most important companies in the country, 17 are from Kayseri, a city that produces 45% of all furniture built in Turkey.
The growth of civil society
In such a polarized general context it is extremely difficult for civil society, for an intellectual and bourgeois class of European level, to be able to emerge. It appeared strongly immediately after the earthquake of August 1999 (18,000 victims) thanks to the decisive contribution of some private radios which, in the initial immobility of the institutions, successfully managed to channel aid to the areas most affected by the earthquake, this embryo of society just conceived, he then found it very difficult to grow and express himself on a political level. The awakening seemed to have taken place in May 2007, when faced with the attempt by the Islamic party to impose its candidate for the presidency of the Republic, people took to the streets in abundance, in the main cities of the Turkish west, calling for transparency and democracy. sharia Was the slogan shouted at the spontaneous rallies called for several Sundays in a row. But the excessive proximity to the military of some secular-inspired formations, especially the Social Democratic party, ended up frustrating the thrust of civil society, even directing it in the opposite direction. Many lay people in fact chose at the last minute to give their vote to Erdogan. The intellectual class for a long period of darkness found itself under the fire of both the authorities and the ultranationalists. The most striking case was of course that of the Nobel Prize for literature Orhan Pamuk, tried for having mentioned in an interview the atrocities committed on Kurds and Armenians, then acquitted, but threatened with death and forced to live most of his time in ‘abroad. Together with him are at least a dozen writers, journalists, editors, even translators, from Elif Shafak to Murat Belge, from Hasan Cemal to Ismet Berkan, who have fallen into the coils of article 301 of the penal code. The killing in Istanbul on 19 January 2007 of the Turkish journalist of Armenian origin Hrant Dink, editor of the weekly Agos, very attentive to the dialogue between Turks and Armenians, forced all of them to turn under guard, accused by a group of well-equipped nationalist lawyers of having transgressed an article that even the Islamic government has so far refused to repeal.
In crisis with Europe
Turkey cannot consider its democratization task exhausted, especially in the face of its important candidacy in Europe, before having energetically addressed and resolved other unavoidable issues not with pure cosmetics operations: the Cyprus problem, the Kurdish question, the litigation with Armenia. And having swept away doubts and suspicions about the condition in which, particularly in some backward areas, women find themselves. The faculty of wearing the headscarf in universities or public buildings, which has become Erdogan’s last battle (forced – he argues – to send his daughters to study in the United States), is only one aspect, albeit far from marginal, of question. The plague of so-called ‘honor killings’ (a practice sometimes exported abroad by emigrants), often invoked by the same family and carried out by the closest relatives (fathers, uncles, brothers), it must be remedied, according to all Western bodies charged with protecting the rights of the person. Especially in a country that on many occasions has shown, with its history, to take into account the female component: when it came to giving it the vote (even before many European countries, including Italy), when it was time to to appoint a female prime minister (Tansu Ciller) or to choose a female magistrate to head the Constitutional Court (Tulay Tugcu). These are issues of domestic and foreign politics together, which need a courageous attitude to get out of the shallows in which the country could risk stopping, particularly in international consideration. Their solutions, of course,
Starting, of course, with Europe. In a very significant way, the issue of joining the Union has completely disappeared from the last electoral confrontation, while during the 2002 vote it was the most cited topic by the parties
in contention. Nothing to be surprised. In the space of two years, the favor of the Turks for entering the Old Continent has clearly collapsed, from over 90% in 2005, when Ankara officially became a candidate country, to a narrow 27% today. A vertical fall that can be explained not only by the difficulties of the path required of the Turks between now and around 2015, to fulfill the criteria required by Brussels, but also with a disaffection equal only to the mounting of doubts on the European side (which also has different souls, among aperturists and opponents of the crescent). Europe sometimes seems to ignore the great political and economic prospects and the enormous strategic opportunities that an important country like Turkey represents. Evaluate them with a clear mind, especially devoid of religious prejudices.