Time to leave
Turkey has been trying to find stability in an atmosphere of psychological civil war for a year.

The process that started with the Gezi Park protests paused, but resumed first, with the ambitions to revive these protests last fall and then with the Dec. 17, 2013 operation. Now, we are in a period when every incident and any government weakness will be used for this purpose and nothing can possibly change much until the general elections slated for next year. We cannot hold the opponents of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) as the party solely responsible for this atmosphere. The prime minister himself is fanning the flames with his attitude and discourse and he believes that he can reap political benefits from this tension. However, the developments are destroying the social fabric. The question is why the prime minister would take such a risk, as it will be increasingly difficult to manage a polarized country. The thing is that polarization is occurring in politics and, therefore, in the media, but it does not have as strong an effect at the social level. Polarization is occurring between those who see or feel themselves as at the "poles." Therefore, from the perspective of some secular groups, the country is about to disintegrate. But if we focus on the hybrid middle classes, we see that the polarization within secular groups is actually a marginalization. Possibly, this is the reasoning behind the prime minister's strict attitude. The fact that the opposition has a short-sighted vision that can hardly challenge the ruling party is the main reason why the AKP's errors go unpunished and why the party continues to expand its potential base.

This adds to the depression of the AKP opponents. There is a ruling party that cannot be beaten even if it is forced to make mistakes. The only way is to make the country unmanageable and provoke street skirmishes in which the police may kill protesters. If the government steps into this trap, this may spell trouble for the AKP. In short, Turkey is on the verge of a fight that may grow out of proportion. This struggle will prove to be a matter of life and death for many, which in turn, will worsen the already bad performance of media outlets. In the next year we will witness every media outlet behaving like a political actor and turning into an extremely homogenized mouthpiece for a specific ideology.

It is hard to be a columnist at such times. You cannot get personal satisfaction nor can you satisfy anyone else in an increasingly polarized intellectual atmosphere. It would be nonsensical for you to blame your paper, as others will be no different. As media outlets turn into direct instruments of political contention, it is an increasingly unpleasant profession to work as a columnist.

I have been writing for this newspaper since the beginning. It fulfilled its role successfully when it portrayed the country and society from a pluralistic perspective. But the ongoing quarrel is spreading like an oil stain. It prevents you from writing with peace of mind. This is not because you face any pressure...It is because the milieu makes you feel that your articles have essentially become inconsequential.

And at this point, you are supposed to take a step back to relieve both yourself and your paper. The simplest thing to do is to leave. This moment has come for me. I am leaving with both good memories and with an inner bitterness. The current stage of the quarrel, the failure to understand the transformation in the society and the pressing need to turn a blind eye to reality are disheartening.

ETYEN MAHÇUPYAN (Cihan/Today's Zaman) CİHAN
Last Modified: 2014-05-30 07:00:02
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