Various terrorist groups have been targeting Turkey since 2014. Separatists, left-wing extremists, religious radicals and parallel state structure agents seem to meet on a common ground, which is the complete annihilation of the Turkish Republic. Of course it would be naive to believe that these terrorist organizations act on their own, without any tangible support from foreign secret services.
Every group’s capabilities are exploited in accordance with Turkey’s domestic fractures, whether on an ethnic, sectarian or religious basis. Every single terrorist attack is aimed at deepening polarization. Although actors may vary depending on the nature of intended tensions, the main goal behind the attacks remains the same.As terrorist attacks have intensified, polarization between different social segments has also deepened. While attacks by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) particularly provoked harsh reactions from Kurds, Alevis and secularists against the government, (as has been the case after the recent Reina shooting in Istanbul), attacks by the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) have caused particular anger within nationalist and conservative circles. This anger has mainly been directed against the main opposition Republican People’s Party (CHP) and the Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP).
Following the July 15 coup attempt, the Justice and Development Party (AKP) had rightly declared a state of emergency in order to fight threats coming from the Fethullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ) along with other terrorist groups. Despite the early widespread popular support, many people nowadays claim that it has degenerated into a witch-hunt against AKP’s opponents. The frequency of terrorist attacks has also broadened the scope of the state of emergency. Every terrorist attack is followed by waves of repression. While some of them are clearly justified, especially when it comes to civilian FETÖ members, others are mostly counter-productive, unjustified and even dangerous regarding their possible outcomes in the near future.
In some circumstances, it is true that Turkey needs a series of somewhat authoritarian measures – especially on public security issues – to counter the intimidations that Turkey has never experienced before. Whether the AKP or another party; a sole party with a self-interested political agenda cannot put these measures into practice, as it will generate more polarization. Extraordinary times require extraordinary measures, indeed. But problems in Turkey are a lot bigger than one party could take. The national will is represented by 97 percent of the population in today’s parliament. A “National Union” government could be formed. This government would have three major duties. First, it will assure public security at all costs. Second, it will resolve Turkey’s structural problems for better through a brand new constitution. And third, it will prepare Turkey for the 2019 elections.
Turkey is no longer able to afford “politician politics”, at least for a while. As the head of the state, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has a historic opportunity in front of him: To bring together Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım with opposition leaders Selahattin Demirtaş, Devlet Bahçeli and Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, conservatives and secularists, Sunnis and Alevis, Kurds and Turkmens, to save Turkey from extinction. Throughout our national history, the state apparatus has set an example for its people. Now, once again, Turkey needs its statesmen to take a stance and assume responsibility.