Military intervention in politics on 28 February 1997 in Turkey was a real confrontation in which the polish of democracy on many media institutions, academicians, and many members of non-governmental organizations wiped off. At that time, people who used to be in the same camp towards the 12 September army coup resolved and rapidly moved to different camps. It became clearly obvious what the perception of democracy represent for the ones who welcomed the launched witch hunt. The fear instilled both by the military and other civilian powers, the internal and external enemies they targeted at and the lies they told were so vulgar. But that was enough for the ones who wanted to believe in them.
February 28 produced its own organic intellectuals. It reshaped the media according to its will, as much as it could. That was relatively easy because it faced a society which had already lost all its confidence under a state of emergency. The masters and the collaborators of February 28 were describing their relatively easy success as ‘a thousand-year’ victory. There is no need to remind its end.
Today we are in a similar period of real confrontations and facts. Yet, it is different in various perspectives compared to 16 years ago. Today, the major distinction is the legitimacy of government support coming form wide voter masses. Furthermore Turkish society is much more urbanized and self confident than in the 90s.
But still, the attitude, language used, the internal and external enemies pointed out, the conspiracy theories both produced and believed by themselves before anybody else does by the ruling party and its collaborators against the Gezi Park Resistance remind us of February 28.
Today the group of televisions and newspapers which define themselves as conservative are more puritan, aggressive and dishonest. Now many people who write in newspapers or appear on TV shows take action with the voice of the Prime Minister just like they did in the past with the whistle of a soldier.
The masters of the February 28 were needlessly talking and value their commanding voices to be heart by partisan circles to stimulate their reflexes of gathering and getting into action. Today the Prime Minister does the same. He does not just aim at gathering his voters around himself with his repetitive speeches he gives at least once a day. But he also wants the minds of his supporters to remain under his monopoly. And he is substantially successful.
Many newspapers and the televisions which were to a certain extend behind their promise of dignity until a few months ago, left their even tiniest ethic values and concerns of being honorable aside and turned into even more passionate copycats of the shameful conservative newspapers. But Prime Minister probably not satisfied with his embarked media that he personally assigns new heads for the newspapers and TV channels which have recently been sequestered by TMSF (Savings Deposit Insurance Fund of Turkey). His obsession with absolute control reveals his distrust even to his own supporters under his obedient image. That is why he wants his voice to be heard in more and more newspapers and television channels and wants only his words to be repeated.
Today, within this army of controlled media and academicians, there are many victims of the 28 February process. There are also those who used to be on the same side with the cruels back in the day. They remind us two facts identified in the history of humanity long ago. Being oppressed does not never mean one will not turn into an oppressor or side with oppressors in the future. The ones who side with an oppressor are always ready to side with other oppressors.
During the 28 February process, the Turkish society, especially the media and academicians, took a test of dignity. After 15 years, so many things have changed, but the test has remained the same.
At the 28 February process, Turkish society, especially the media and the academicians, took a test of dignity. After 15 years, so many things have changed, but the test has remained the same.