Well, for example, the tradition in local municipalities of banning the service of alcohol in social facilities belonging to them. Have there been any moves to change this? No, in fact there is even word of developments to the contrary. I say "there is even word" because up until now, we have not received any concrete evidence or information which could prove this. But there are whispers making their way to our ears. A new social facility opened by the municipality in Ankara apparently has a large sign saying "No alcohol served here" hung on its door. What we are talking about here is not just a banning of alcohol, but political propoganda.
There are also rumours that in one province of Ankara, you cannot even find local markets or bakkals which sell alcohol. There is also word that bans on alcohol are starting to spread through teachers' foundations. Also, people are saying that the AKP is not giving out new liquour licenses. As I mentioned, these are all just really rumours at this point. But we, at the Dogan Media Agency, want to go after these rumours to see if there is anything concrete behind them. During the accession talks, we at this newspaper will also be carrying out our own control and inspection process.
So what will happen?
Some of the AKP's more radical factions must drop their more sensitive issues from the agenda: the imam hatip (religious) high schools, unnecessary turban tension, illegal Koran courses. The period of forbidding pleasure because of their own life and belief styles must come to an end. The practise of building show-off mosques in green areas which have been set aside for parks must come to an end. The number of mosques, and their architectural styles, must be focused on. Only if these things happen can we be sure of the AKP's true intents when it comes to dealings with the EU.
It seems as though even the most liberal factions of the AKP have not changed their old habits though. Newsweek trumpets "Cool Istanbul" in its latest headlines, but the municipality owned social facilities here are not allowed to serve alcohol. In wedding salons, you can't buy a beer. All this banning of things doesn't just show up in politics. As far as I'm concerned, the crudest form of banning things is the intent to toy with other people's life styles.
Which is why I want to repeat this:
If the AKP announces that October 3 was the day that Turkey entered talks with the EU, every city in Turkey should began an inventory, a careful examination of its life style. It is not enough to check the laws. Since the talks have really begun, and if we are serious about them, starting with Istanbul, we need to leave off this habit, this practice, of forbidding things. But are we really ready for this period of inspection and examination?
If so, bring it on.
We are starting.
And so should the AKP.....