Last week, following the announcements of the authorities regarding"a payment program" aiming to reverse the extensive brain drain of highly competitive researchers we woke up to the news of early hour raids to the houses of academics, legal counsels, scientists, and several peopleG. Once again…
And once again we faced the harsh reality that the ongoing economic crisis is not solely an outcome of economic developments but it is a result of problems that go way beyond the economy.
Yes, we are right at the center of a crisis.
This crisis is the outcome of an antidemocratic, lawless, unequal and repressive political understanding, and an economic understanding that relies on the motto of "growth at all costs" and the lack of an inclusive economic development goal.
This understanding is deepening by the day. We observe it in the 2019 budget prepared by the President's Office, over and over.
The debate on the budget of the Industry, Technology and Science Ministry was a stark example.
For technology science is necessary, for science education and freeom is necessary. However, today the reality is quite the opposite!
Universities have been drained from academia, they have been stripped from their independence, academics who signed petitions for "peace" have been expelled, this did not suffice their passports were confiscated, this did not suffice they were taken into custody...
The discussions regarding the 2019 Budget are ongoing in the Planning and Budgetary Committee of the Turkish Parliament. The budget is such that it disregards the bankruptcies, the record high inflation, workers committing suicide, millions who are in poverty, and the extensive economic crisis. The Palace Regime is once more and again reinforcing its political economy that has caused the existing economic crisis conditions. Once again we face a budget that is against the people and for the loyals, against productive forces but for rent-seeking activities, against the 99 percent but for the 1 percent... This is a ''Palace Regime budget'' that ignores the people...
However, this time there is a very critical strangeness. This budget not only ignores the public with its content, but it aso does so also through its process and outcomes! Under the one-man regime one of the most critical principle of democracy -- budgetary rights is being usurped. Under the one-man regime, the budget that is prepared by the Palace is sent to the Parliament, however the parliament has no probability of intervening in the process. That is to say, even if the parliament was to reject the budget there would be no political consequences!
During our parliamentary democracy ruling had the parliament rejected a budget, the cabinet would have resigned. On the contrary, under the Palace Regime even if the Parliament was to rejet the budget the Palace will have her own way.
In order to better grasp the situtaion lets take a step further and assume that all the parliamentarians, including those from AKP, vote against the budget. What will happen? Will there be political consequences? No!
The first budget of the "One man regime" has been submitted to the Parliament. Budgets are political documents, in all senses. They reflect the political economy choices of the government; from whom resources will be raised and to whom they will be transferred to. Given the current economic crisis in Turkey the importance of the budget as such is elevated to its highest levels. The budget bears the signs of who will be paying the price of the crisis, and who will be protected from the forces of the crisis.
In true democracies of representation the budegtary right is a fundamental aspect of representation and democracy. The right for the individual to know and audit how and where the taxes he/she pays is spent on… Today, the fact no legal action has been instigated despite the extreme audit reports regarding extensive corrption and misuse of resources is a sign that the budegtar rights no longer exist! The 2019 budget is a one-mane regime budget that usurps the budgetary rights of the people.
The fight for budgetay rights is nothing but a fight for democracy.
Under normal circumstances there are only five months remaining for the 2019 local elections. However still and once again, the issues that should be emphasized by politics is pushed to the back-burner. The ever increasing authoritarianism of the Palace, the ruins of the Republic, the lack of a fair and secure election, authorities who declare as of today that they will appoint trustees if and when they deem necessary… It is as if none of these very critical matters exist… Whereas, to the contrary, we face these issues and much beyond.
And, once again, under these very dire conditions we are entering a very critical and decisive period for the future of our democracy. It is of utmost importance to raise the shattered hopes of democracy by making the local elections a route to rebuild the long lost democracy in our country. To do so, we much carry this local election beyond a sheer arithmetic of votes into one of a new political approach and social determination. Under these circumstances, the fact that the current political approach to the local elections are purely based on the name of the candidates and an issue of communication, reflecting the further deepening of the customary political refleces, is an issue that we have to urgently tackle.
So, what should we do, where should we stand?
First and foremost, we have to identify our goals properly so that we can define our strategy properly. This is a necessary condition to determine the most effective instruments and political subjects in the process.