What is Freedom?
What we have been experiencing in the last month is making me think about the real meaning of “freedom”…
Let’s remember what important political changes happened in the last 30 days:
– Some people in Turkey protested the replacement and cutting of some trees in Taksim Gezi Park. The police used disproportional power to end the protests, but somehow this turned out to be organized protests which included illegal groups against the Prime Minister Erdoğan’s government. They wanted Erdoğan to resign, and as a result, 4 people including a policeman died and many people were injured. CNN International showed the protests live more than 10 hours and unfortunately even some columnists and journalists compared the Taksim Protests with what happened two years ago in Tahrir Square, Egypt. Nowadays, the normal life is going on in Turkey, but there is a fragile situation which needs to be repaired carefully.
– While the confederation cup, a mini test of world cup, was going on in Brasil, almost a million people protested the price increases in public transportation and asked for reform in many areas including the education system. Even though the topics were different, the public and the policemen experienced almost the same scenario that happened in Turkey.
– The President of Iran was changed and Mahmud Ahmedinejad’s era is ended. The new president is defined as reformist which we will see what is going to change between the past government and the new one in terms of foreign policy, relations with the rest of the world and the rights of the citizens of Iran.
– The war in Syria is still going on, thousands of people were killed, but it seems like the policy of the US will change if you have followed the Obama’s statements regarding the use of chemical weapons in Syria.
– The British intelligence agency had secretly listened to the Mr. Mehmet Şimşek, Turkish Finance Minister in 2009. The British authorities, including the former Foreign Minister had nothing to say about the situation. No apology from British side yet.
– The US intelligence agency had been involved in phone tapping of 38 countries, including Turkey and many European Countries, yet Obama says that it is a normal routine of intelligence agencies. Interesting..What if the US government and departments were listened secretly?
– The Croatia, which applied together with Turkey to be a member to the EU became the 28th member of the EU. Congratulations to Croatia and the EU, what happened to Turkey?
– Mohammed Mursi, the first democratically elected president of Egypt (with 52% of the votes) was relived off duty after the army coup as a result of the protests of the people against Mursi. Interestingly, the temporary president assigned by the Chief of General Staff was appointed as the president of the Constitutional Court one month ago by Mursi.
– The EU declared that they are concerned about the situation in Turkey, and the government should listen to what the protesters ask for and strengthen the democracy in Turkey, but the same EU did not define what the army did in Egypt as “coup” and put themselves in a situation how to help Egypt to find a democratic way for their future.
– The Arab League did congratulate the army for defeating Mursi and helping Egypt grow a better democracy!
– The US emphasized the importance of democracy and human rights for Egypt, Brasil and Turkey. Is phone tapping of other countries against human rights? Of course not!
Now here is the “lessons learned” from these recent political events:
– Countries are taking positions according to their interests and benefits.
– All the people want to be more free, and it is impossible for a person or a group to have a limitless freedom.
– Governments should balance the needs of the public and shouldn’t seem to be supportive of one ideology even though they think parallel or opposite.
– Constitutions should cover all the citizens’ expectations in a balanced way, yet the main strict lines of the state should be drawn clearly.
– Majorities shouldn’t put pressure on the minorities, yet the minorities shouldn’t think that they can supersede the majorities with protests or some illegal ways by taking external supports.
– Press should be objective and neutral.
– None of the coups have helped to strengthen a democracy.
– It is a big mistake to ask the army to provide democracy.
– Respect and tolerance are the most important issues to draw the limits of the freedom.
There may be more conclusions and lessons learned regarding these political events.
I may write in the future in more detail about the balance between the freedom and democracy.
July 4, 2013, Istanbul