Fear of politicization

As a sphere that determines and regulates power relations, politics ensures and requires that people and different social groups express their civilian and public rights and demands. The demands voiced regarding activities conducted in this sphere are addressed to political/official society, i.e., the state.

If, in a democratic country, there is a serious social problem, the proper way to articulate this problem and seek appropriate and acceptable ways to solve it is to engage in politics.

If politics is a possible and necessary sphere within this framework, there is no reason to fear it as long as it is legal and it cannot be used as a vehicle for fear. Now consider this: If a person or a group of people are not supposed to voice their major problems within a legal framework or on political grounds, what will they do? They will either abandon their request for a solution to the problem in question or resort to non-political methods. They have no other choice. Some problems can be repressed, set aside or postponed, but some cannot since they are serious, vital or take precedence. If a political platform is not opened for the expression of such problems, they will be manifested in non-political ways in some way or another. Perhaps we may say that the famous rule Antoine Lavoisier found for chemistry also applies to politics: That which exists cannot be made non-existent and that which does not exist cannot be made existent.

In this case, we can conclude that all ways and methods we describe as “non-political” are included in the general definition of politics. Here, what we call “non-political” can be construed to mean conducting illegal activities, or in other words, resorting to illegal means and methods. Indeed, if participating or engaging in politics through legal means can be defined as “positive participation,” then illegal forms of participation can be described as “negative participation.” Taking into consideration the web of relations among politics, people and society, political scientists argue that forms of violence and terror justifiably undertaken to achieve certain goals represent “negative participation” in politics.

Looking at the mainstream political concepts and practices in Turkey and in countries without democratic politics conducted in a legal framework, we can see that not only the introduction of certain issues to political platforms but also their articulation are considered offenses. The Kurdish issue, the relationship between religion (Islam) and the state and the headscarf issue are the first things to come to mind as examples of this. Even, workers’ demands for greater unionization rights are occasionally considered outside the political sphere. The act of voicing such demands is described as the offense of “politicization.” In other words, such activities and attempts are considered a crime.

Although politics is a legitimate sphere for everyone to express their problems and demands within the framework of the Constitution and laws, to say that an issue should not be politicized actually means that a handful of power elites attempt to teach people what their problems or demands really are. Strangely enough, some academics, columnists and intellectuals argue that some issues should be kept outside the “political sphere.”

If the “attempt or demand for politicization” is an absolute danger, then it must be defined in a concrete and comprehensible manner so that the sphere of admissible politics can be clearly delineated for people. Such an odd practice can hardly be described as democratic.

Now consider again: If anyone who has a problem or demand can say, “I have a problem, and I want to voice it without resorting to violence or terror and within the applicable and legal methods of politics,” wouldn’t it be better and more reasonable that s/he should be allowed to express and discuss it on civilian and official platforms? And this is what democracy is, isn’t it? Do those who do not allow certain problems to be introduced to political platforms think that these problems can be eliminated in this way? Not in the least. Rather, they become exacerbated by gaining more dangerous aspects and recruiting international support and face us again.

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