Turkey’s agenda is changing at an incredible speed. This change makes itself felt in every area of society. Social, legal and political changes happen in many fields; from economy to culture and internal politics, from environmental issues to external politics. This social transformation process seems to be sharpening the already existing polarization within society. It seems that the AKP government employs more and more populist and authoritative methods instead of following a democratic path in this transformation process. In such critical periods of sharpened polarization, the role of the governments is to provide an opportunity for social transformation to materialize in a peaceful and democratic environment. Therefore, the role of the political actors and civil society is also of great importance.
The media in particular plays a significant role in helping to understand the society of Turkey and to grasp the reflections of this change on various political and social areas. However, suffering from multi-dimensional structural shortcomings, as well as political and legal pressures, the media in Turkey is not able to play this role sufficiently. The prevalent approach to journalism that blurs the difference between news reporting and commentary and handles the issues with a partisan attitude has shaken the trust in the media in Turkey. Therefore, there is a gap of profound analysis and information supporting readers inside and outside of Turkey in drawing their own conclusions.
This is relevant for the reader outside of Turkey, especially for those who monitor social change and responding politics. Not being able to access accurate and complete news and information and a lack of comprehensive analyses make it difficult for those who want to understand Turkey, but who cannot speak the Turkish language. It is also striking to see the limited number of topics raised in articles on Turkey published abroad. Scarcity of publications in foreign languages about Turkey, and particularly about actual political issues, is yet another problem. News reports and articles about Turkey generally focus on foreign politics, economy and, occasionally, internal politics. In general, they are merely event-based. Issues like social transformation, political systems, environment, ecology, or art are brought to light by only a few news reports and analyses in other languages.
Understanding the transformation of Turkey requires more diverse analyses of a higher quality for the reader inside and outside of Turkey. Aiming to fill this gap, the Turkey Representation of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung (hbs) has decided to publish a periodical, “Perspectives – Political Analysis and Commentary from Turkey”, in both Turkish and English.
This quarterly periodical strives to be a source of reference for civil society, decision makers, opinion leaders in Turkey and, particularly, in Europe as well as for those who are watching and trying to understand the developments in Turkey. Each magazine will present feature articles, articles on ecology, democratization, culture, international politics and news from hbs. Each issue also contains a short biography in an attempt to present the impact of the developments in Turkey from a human perspective.
The feature articles below of this first issue deal with the historical background and recent developments concerning the “deep state” of Turkey. We regard the “deep state” as one of the important impediments in the democratization of this country. With the different reforms that led to a change in the civil-military relationship, with the law suits such as the Ergenekon trial, and with the trial against responsible personality of the coup d’état in 1980, it became a much discussed topic; if the AKP government attempts to destroy the deep state; if it is accommodating to it or just changing the actors of the “deep state”. In our first issue, we try to give answer to these questions. In addition to the feature articles, topical articles on issues such as the reform of the educational system, censorship in the arts as well as the renewable energy law and the reform of the health system are addressed.
We very much hope that Perspectives does not only provide political analysis and commentary on Turkey but also contributes to a fruitful and lively debate on issues of importance for a peaceful, democratic and sustainable future of Turkey. With round table discussions that we will organize on the topic of the feature articles, we would also like to discuss intensively with you.
On behalf of the Turkey Representation of the Heinrich Böll Stiftung