The regime is changing
At the request of the Parliamentary Speaker, women actors were prevented from appearing on stage in the theatrical performance held in parliament as part of the Çanakkale War commemorations. A mother hugging her son as they bid farewell was deemed objectionable and the women actors lined up along the steps to the side rather than on stage. Portraits of Atatürk were also removed. The twelve-minute performance was reduced to four minutes thanks to the last-minute meddling.
Kahraman is alleged to have said before the play, “Women actors are not appearing, are they? Well done.”
A glance at the actors’ statements and the Parliamentary Speaker’s non-denial of the incident verifies this news that we would have hoped was a hoax.
It has been discussed before including in this column. We are in the midst of a regime change process. The electing of İsmail Kahraman as Parliamentary Speaker during this process is no coincidence.
He was chair of the National Turkish Students Union in his student days and the Unity Foundation, which he founded in the conducive environment furnished by 12 September, wrote in the draft it compiled that secularism should be removed from the Constitution. He himself has also proclaimed this in his time as Parliamentary Speaker. In a period they deem to be a century-long parenthesis, he is somebody who has been striving impatiently to close the parenthesis since his early youth.
He was one of the organisers of counterdemonstrations on Bloody Sunday, when students protesting at the US sixth fleet anchoring in Istanbul in 1969 were attacked and two people were killed. He was given to creating the deception that serving as a cabin boy on American frigates was Islam and nationalism. He was one to cheer when Tan Printworks was stormed and burnt. The following words are his: “The National Turkish Students Union has always served as an example. Turkish youth sprang into action in the communists’ wildest era, drove the moles who in a way were occupying the press and the streets from the stages, brought their rotary press back to the start and pushed them from the street into their den and staged the historic Tan incident and demolished the Tan Printworks that had turned into an agent of communism along with the lackeys.”
We are confronted by one who has praised violence to attain his political goals and issued the call to an action that ended in the death of two people with the words, “Turkish nationalism, which has now completed its period of advice and recommendation, will reveal new dawns and new activism in the days to come, and will show that Turkey’s owners are the nationalists.”
It is obvious why he wants the principle of secularism to be removed from the Constitution, isn’t it? For the time being, he can only prohibit women actors from coming on stage with his political authority. With secularism stripped from the Constitution, will Kahraman’s mentality not wish to enact measures that will banish women from social life?
Secularism, at the same time, is a human rights issue. For Kahraman and his ilk, it is a constitutional obstacle to making discrimination against women part of the legal order.
Just let this presidential election take place. Let there remain no need for the circles whose support Mr Erdoğan requires just now. Then, it will be a piece of cake for İsmail Kahraman to realise what he has dreamed of since his youth.
In 1986, the Parliamentary Speaker presented Nezahat Onbaşı, who participated at Çanakkale while in her childhood and then in the War of National Liberation, with a certificate of appreciation. Now, if somebody wishes to play her, they will be unable to get past the Parliamentary Speaker onto the stage.
Well, the regime is changing. Such things will happen.
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