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    Ertugrul Ozkok: Spain’s Franco regime had a parliament, just as Turkey does

    Hürriyet Haber
    23.10.2008 - 11:06 | Son Güncelleme:

    My thoughts on what the “national will” means was put to me in a question during a television interview last month.

    "Ufuk Uras*, also represents the national will," I said while trying to explain what the national will meant in contemporary democracies.

     

    I use this sentence frequently in recent times.

     

    However, I fail to see the reactions I expect to see on people’s faces when I say this.

     

    How can a belief that has only "one" representative in parliament be referred to as the "national will"?

     

    The answer is very simple.

     

    Contemporary majority based democracy is not established on a "national will" but on "national wills".

     

    Every individual elected to parliament represents a segment of society.

     

    Of course, there are other wills that are "not represented" in parliament, but we can not refer to them as "not national".

     

    * * *

     

    Hurriyet daily made media history when it ran the headline, “411 hands rose to chaos” after the approval of the headscarf bill in parliament.

     

    We were bombarded by "harsh criticism" from Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan after running this headline.

     

    Many columnists insulted us.

     

    I recalled this headline the other night after hearing the details of the constitutional court's reasoned decision on the headscarf case.

     

    Not everyone shared the same opinions as us.

     

    The headline was assessed as “provocative” by the prime minister and circles close to him.

     

    Here is the essence of the court’s ruling.

     

    An issue that could be solved by consensus became impossible to solve because of a state of mind that says, "I am the sole national will."

     

    * * *

     

    In my opinion, understanding the true meaning of the expression, "national will", was the most important aspect of the constitutional court's decision.

     

    In summary, the related article of the reasoned decision delivered this message:

     

    "Your majority in parliament doesn’t give you the right to do whatever you want."

     

    The ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and its supporters claim this thesis when they oppose this "practice":

     

    "The court draws red lines before Turkish parliament's political power."

     

    Yes, the lines are drawn.

     

    What need is there for the constitutional court if there are no restrictions on the "majority"? How can democracy's control mechanism work if no lines are drawn before the national will.

     

    Will this mechanism work from one election to the next?

     

    No real democrat defending contemporary democracy can support the understanding of an unlimited and irresponsible national will in this day and age.

     

    Parliament is also not the sole source of democracy.

     

    It should not be forgotten that Franco's regime in Spain also had a parliament.

     

    The court's decision brings a very strong national will definition to Turkey's democracy that claims to be progressing towards European Union membership.

     

    The outline of this definition is as follows:

     

    "The party holding the majority in parliament can not do whatever it wants."

     

    Firstly, we need to agree on this general rule.

     

    Because Prime Minister Erdogan supports an opposing view:

     

    "I have the majority, I can enact any legislation, place bans on newspapers, punish and boycott any media group I want and enact any ban that fits my beliefs. Because I am the public."

     

    * * *

     

    No, there is no such definition of national will.

     

    The time has come to determine the scope of the national will after defining the general rule that characterizes it.

     

    Of course, it should also be well defined.

     

    Neither lawyers nor bureaucracy can put themselves forward on behalf of the national will. They cannot take steps that would decrease the scope of sovereignty of the national will to zero.

    The limits to which they can interfere should be very clearly defined.

    And it is for this reason that Turkey should create a constitution that reflects contemporary consensus.

    However, should such a constitution reflect only the will of Erdogan, it is doubtful the regime that would emerge could be called a democracy.

     *An independent socialist Turkish parliamentary deputy.

     

     

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