Kurdish Expansion III: Can a Turkish Model Be Established (?) or Formulas to Democratize the “Republic”

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The reason behind Turkey’s lack of ethnical diversities and communal integration is the “lack of democracy” inherited from its history. Finding a solution for this deficiency has been a mandatory today than it had been ever before. Democracy makes individuals feel themselves a part of the world and communal area by opening paths that lead to the government rather than individuals....

The reason behind Turkey’s lack of ethnical diversities and communal integration is the “lack of democracy“ inherited from its history. Finding a solution for this deficiency has been a mandatory today than it had been ever before. Democracy makes individuals feel themselves a part of the world and communal area by opening paths that lead to the government rather than individuals. Every individual naturally wants to see their reflection of their presence in the outside world. Democracy is a process to harmonize ethnical, religious, lingual, denominational and social diversities through connecting them with the political society. Democratization is the subject of many various discussions between different state types such as unitary, zonal and federal states. The terms of these discussions have to diversify in all of these state types. However, these state types can not theoratically be integrated into every country. Each state type is fed with different political cultures and historical heritage. At this point, the implementations of autonomous state of Spanish model or the federal state of Belgium model can not be adapted to Turkey. Yet, there are characteristics peculiar to the democracy problems of European countries and the distinctive movements derived from these problems, and the political societies of European countries do create solutions for these movements in their own way. The solutions in Turkey for the similar problems have to be peculiar for Turkey, too. Turkey is a unitary state and the democratization discussion in Turkey has to be carried on according to its own state model. Within this context, Turkey has similar characteristics to France in respect of its similarities in the process of building “Nation“ and “State“. Formulas for the “Democratization of the Republic“ in the French model can be a consistent reference model for Turkey in respect of its Kurdish expansion. A second reference model for Turkey can be the ruling cases of European Court of Human Rights which Turkey takes place in its obligatory judiciary and the requirements of the democratic society system determined within these ruling cases.

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France appears as an ethnical mosaic just like Turkey does. Kelt Gallians, Brutons, Basques, German Alzas, Italians, Turanian Oxidants… The name of “France“ is based on the word “Francia“ with the ethnical-historical origin meaning the homeland of Franks as in the example of “Turkey“. France, like Turkey, belongs to the group of “countries governed by the government“ which are builded from top to the bottom, rather than the group of “countries governed by civil society“ (USA, England) which are builded from bottom to the top. “Nation“ in France is an abstraction created by individuals looking for their common destiny with the desire to live together in a subjective fiction, pleasure, worry and joy. Just like it is in Turkey, every individual belonging to the country with the connection of citizenship is accepted as “French“. “Of course this expression might mean everything, while at the same time it may be nothing at all.) In France, the dominant notion in the political culture is not “democracy“ but “republic“ as in Turkey. This Republic is the name of a mobilized state that tries to arouse the soul of the society beyond ethnical, religious, lingual and denominational diversities. In other words, the government impose an official ideology to the society in the process of nation-building. Three constituent principles of France are “equity“, “freedom“ and “brotherhood“, while in Turkey they are “the principles and revolutions of Atatürk“.

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France opened its democracy problem to debates at the beginning of 1980’s in two main lines. The first of them was decentralizating the tough central unitary state (localization). The second of them was the protection of fundamental rights and liberties within the framework of the obligations originated from the Human Rights Law of European Agreement and the Law of European Communities.
The localization of Republic
Decentralisation / Localization means the alienation of authorizations predetermined by the law-makers to the local administrations. Thus some political/administrative decisions are taken and carried into effect by government partners who are closer to the public.
• France had had a tough centralist structure up to 1982, and local administrations were empowered against central administration with the 1982 reforms. ‘Region’, being a public institution that had operated its duties until 1982, was turned into a local administration unit with the 1982 reforms. After that date on, local administrations in France have threesome structure: “Municipalities“, “Provinces“ and “Regions“. Provinces and regions are units which central administration organize its rural organization in and which have local administration units.

• The Law related to the Rights and Liberties of Municipalities, Provinces and Regions that dated back to the 2nd of March 1982, cleared away the tutelage that the governer owned on local administrations; accepted the regional administration as the local administration institution and applied the executive power to the general assembly which the governor owned. This point is pretty much important. Because today, in Turkish administrative organisation derived from France again, governors and district governors have administrative tutelage, a kind of a supervision authority, on municipalities. Even though this authorization was limited by the arrangements made in 2005, administrative tutelage has been the most effective means that provide the integrity of administration in the Turkish law. This authorization was removed from the local administrations in 1982 in France. Governors and district governors in France who are the representatives of central administration in the rurals use their tutelage only in administrative, social and economical public institutions. This, of course, seriously strengthens the local administrations.

• With the Constitution change of 2003, France thoroughly localized the organization of Republic; the subsidiarité principle (subsidiarity) was arranged without giving a name to it by adopting the vision of “local administrations have to take all the decisions in order to use the authorizations that could be easily implemented in their own scales“; local administrations were recognized the authority for trial; local financial autonomy was increased; the authorities to change the agenda of local assembly by letters of application and to arrange local referendum were supplied. The crucial point is that local administrations became partner actors in the area of legislation following the execution organ. Another restriction was added to the Article 37 of the Constitution, that leaves the ‘authority to arrange“ the remaining areas of the law that is left after restricting it: “Law and regulating process can bring trial provisions for a limited subject and a limited period“. In accordance with this regulation, according to the 4th clause of the 72th Article that was changed, “with the conditions determined in the organic law, and as long as fundamental rights and liberties are not in question, local administrations and their unions can go beyond the laws that regulate the authorities and the regulative processes at a certain subject and time for the purposes of trial with the approval of laws and regulative process.“

In France, whether the provision of “Organization of the Republic has been localized (décentralisée)“ ,which is added to the 1st Article of the Constitution in accordance with the related arrangements, threatens the integrity of state has been debated.The justification behind this change has been mentioned as “localization enriches the democratic life without making the topic of the unity of nation a subject for discussions and contributes to the actualization of the principle of equity for citizens in the manner of laws in a more concrete way“. We have to repeat the fact that the main disengagement is the authorization of trial which is given to local administrations. With this authority, local administrations can establish a judicial structure peritial for themselves during the trial period. This way, different judicial regimes will be implemented in some certain areas of the country. In reality, trial authorization enables local administrations to legislate on their own and places France at a grey area between the zonal state of the Spanish model and the centralist state model.
Today, discussions about the democratization of the Republic through localization have still been going on in France; and the localization process has been continuing.

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Protection of Fundamental rights and freedoms
The second formula that is intended to democratize the Republic in France is the protection of fundamental rights and freedoms. French Constitution moves from the principle that sees every French citizen equal in terms of laws without any discrimination by means of language, religion and culture. Turkey, of course, has obtained a similar approach for the provisions that have been mentioned up to now. The main difference, however, is about the state of citizens that are “different“. France does not ban the differences of its citizens that have different identities. Actually French judiciary has a ruling case indicating a banning like that is absolutely contrary to the Constitution. When we consider some decisions of the French Constitutional Counsil, we can come up with a conclusion that: All French citizens are free and equal regardless of any diversities thereunder the Constitution. In such case, banning citizens that have different identities not to express and utilize their “diversities“ means that they are less free compared to those that are not different, thus they do not have equal rights as the majority of the population. Judicial opinion of France creates a kind of “diversity right“ from this point of view. Most decisions of the European Court of Human Rights also underline this fact. Indeed, especially ethnical diversities’ holding a place at a cultural dimension does not cause discrimination but communal integration. Referring to the court decisions that put forward this situation will far exceed the scope of this article. But we have to highlight the fact that fundamental rights are not absolute privileges. Fundamental rights can be limited in case the presence of “enforcing social reasons“ at a democratic society. This is what DTP is not willing to accept today while the Kurdish expansion is being debated in Turkey. DTP wants to include their demands for autonomy within the scope of the concept of human rights. This may be justified at some point. But in reality, democracy necessitates living within the limits of conciliation between majorities and minorities. DTP and some actors that are supporters of central state stand in the conciliation’s way in Turkey by creating up some red lines. Turning to the topic… Fundamental rights empower the social integrity that recognizes the living space of diversities. However the representation of the same diversities in the political dimension is not limitless in any countries. With the court decisions given below, we will try to underline the related facts.

? Pursuant to the “Gorzelic and Poland“ decision of the European Court of Human Rights, minorities have to acknowledge the fact that some rights have to be limited in cases where “the benefit of the general requires“ and “the political stability of a state obliges so“. A group of Polish citizens (ethnically German) living in Silesia, the South of Poland, established a foundation under the name of “Public Union of the Nation of Silesia“ so as to protect and develop the identity of Silesia. Polish authorities would not approve the registration of this foundation. According to them, some articles of the charter of the foundation characterised the population of Silesia as a minority and the founders of the foundation demanded the status of national minority. Thus EUHR concluded the case opened by the related foundation which claimed to create a judicial minority which is “opposed to the primary principles of the Polish state“ against it by agreeing with the justifications of the said Polish authorities.

? In unitary state, nation is an impartible union and it does not have any compounds. As it has been outlined before, the changes made in the French Constitution authorised local administrations to apply to local public opinion for their decisions. This way was first applied to in Corsica for the new status of the Island. The proposal that gave the island a new status was declined in 6th July 2003 by a referandum (Those supporting the independence of Corsica did not support the proposal). However the important thing is that the expression in the law that organized the status of the Island of Corsica, which is “The public of Corsica, who are the compound of the nation of France“, has been found opposite to the impartibility of the Republic and the integrity of the nation of France and therefore to the Constitution itself by the Constitutional Council of France. According to the related decision, nation is not a structure that is made up of compounds (a kind of mosaic); but a single and impartible total.


? Government is not judicially responsible to recognise and implement education in mother tongue. France did recognise the regional languages that had been banned before in the middle of the 19th century with its Law of Dexone dated 1951. With the arrangements made in 1982, the opportunity to get education in the mother tongue was accepted on condition that it is optional. For example, in the region of Alsase-Lorraine where people of German ethnicity were the majority, the regional language is being given as an optional lesson as long as it is not named to be the language of German. But the current judicial hierarchy in France does not oblige education in mother tongue. “The Linguistique Document“ decision of EUHR given in 1968 had pre-confirmed the same tendency.

? Political society does not remain impartial towards violence. Making a policy of violence across violence – “staying at an equal distance both to terrorist organization and state“ – means encouraging violence and political activities directed within this way can not be protected by the “law“.. In the Herri Batasuna decision of EUHR dated 30th June 2009, the decision to close Herri Batasuna which is a terrorist organization has been accepted as appropriate to the law.

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Taking into account all the related decisions stated above we can claim that: DTP, the main actor of the Kurdish expansion in Turkey, has to leave its red lines and demands of “government’s taking Öcalan as a fundamental actor in the expansion process“, “political autonomy“, and “PKK’s not leaving the guns without them being acknowledged their political autonomy“ when a real expansion (a draft) is being mentioned.
Otherwise, the government will drive its own way. Just like in Sinatra’s song: I did it my way… I found my own way, I did it my own way…

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