What is one of the ways of making a country stronger and more prosperous? A determined, conscious and powerful opposition that works properly.
Many people may not at first agree, and there may be those who do not think an opposition is useful for those who are in power, but that is mistaken. A look at the correct definition of “opposition” and the state of countries without an opposition will help reveal the benefits of a strong opposition.
Everyone knows that one can achieve an aim as quickly as the number of the people who help him; especially if this is a common goal and if people are motivated in the same way, success can be achieved even faster. The same criteria applies to national interests as well. There is no doubt that success can be attained much easier if all of a country’s potential is united around a common idea or action and directed towards a common process.
Looked at from that perspective, opposition can also be regarded an influential force in achieving aims. The way that some people, especially in Turkey, think of opposition as meaning ‘to oppose the other party in every possible aspect,’ is incorrect. It is here that the importance of different sections of society being able to exchange ideas - of a culture of debate, in other words - becomes apparent.
In countries where the culture of debate is weak, opposition may be perceived as arguing against everything about those who are not on one’s own side, making no distinction between good and bad. Instead of trying to render the other side weak by presenting ineffective, unconvincing and random assumptions, bringing solutions to problems with alternative methods and exposing errors by producing strong arguments and clear evidence is one of the signs of a powerful opposition. All these establish a control mechanism and a driving force in progress towards the truth.
A strong opposition is one of the factors that bring prestige to a country at home and abroad. The presence of an opposition is one of the signs that democracy is functioning in a healthy fashion in that country.
Opposition enables people to see what cannot be seen, it makes it possible for the operations to run smoothly and accelerates the attainment of outcomes: It is an encouraging and propulsive force. Particularly at times of economic crisis or of political instability, the intuitive thing to do would be to strengthen the hand of the government against internal or external forces altogether as a nation. Indeed, while the worst economic crisis of the last 60 years was taking place, the fact that political stability was maintained in Turkey enabled the country to be minimally affected by that crisis.
We have said above that “the more powerful the opposition, the more stable and healthy a country will be regarded”. A government without an opposition on the other hand would have a terrifying and distressing appearance; we see the examples of this all across the world. For instance, the terrifying measures imposed against dissenters in North Korea draws horrified reaction around the world.
Even though the words “Democratic People’s Republic” are pronounced in the official name of North Korea, the country is widely known for its repression of its own people and media and wide-scale human rights violations. Newspapers in North Korea are under total state control and are little more than propaganda vehicles supporting the system.
Far from being able to describe the true state of the country, the poverty and the problems of its people, the media are full of reports that prevent these facts from emerging and that even claim that tools of mass communications are in fact harmful. All information reaching the world about North Korea comes from official channels, and it therefore supports the Kim family regime that has now been in power for three generations. In short, there really is no such concept as “opposition” in North Korea. Public executions and labor camps ruled under the harshest conditions await those people dare to who genuinely criticize the regime. More than 200,000 people in the country are estimated to be condemned to life in these camps, a great many of whom are those who sincerely oppose the regime.
In North Korea, where power passes from father to son, there is a peculiar fear that opposing political views will be handed down in the same way; that is why the families of political prisoners are also punished for several generations and might be sent to the camps even though they have done nothing wrong. The result of all these cruel practices is a monotonous life ruled by fear, a backward culture and art, .
North Korea is a good example to understand the deplorable state of a country with no opposition. While this is the case, the way that the opposition in Turkey speaks with many voices appears before us as a remarkable beauty that needs to be strengthened even further. That is why the way should be eased even further for the opposition.
A strong opposition enriches and beautifies a country. People feel secure: Otherwise unease enters their hearts and restlessness spreads. A country in which everyone can freely express their opinions and where the ideas of the opposition can easily appear in the media will become increasingly strong and criticisms will serve as a locomotive force, on the condition, of course, that these criticisms are constructive and encouraging, and not defamatory.
The opposition has important tasks to perform at this point. A conception of opposition that produces realistic, solution-oriented objections seeking to improve the system and public well-being must be developed rather than purely artificial, fractious ones.
We need to take up a position that sides with democracy by putting the interests of our people and our country in the forefront and to remain on guard against those who seek to wear the government down with distractions. Stability must be maintained through unity in the face of those who resort to undemocratic means and changes of government must be realized through democratic means; by way of elections, in other words.
At this point, the necessity of letting conciliatory and constructive talks inside the opposition also becomes of apparent.
As we can see in various examples in the world, some opposition circles do not permit internal criticism or conciliatory speech regarding their competitors; this gives the impression that the objective of some of those opposing parties in question is not to build dialogue, resolve problems and protect the national interest, but simply to factionalize and denigrate others.
A country in which everyone can live freely, where there is a maximum possible freedom of expression based on respect for ideas and choices, a country where all problems are solved by legal means is what everyone wishes for. We are the ones constituting the propulsive force that can ensure progress in that sphere. What the supporters of the government - or the opposition - needs to do is to keep the door for reconciliation open at all times, to put the interests of the country first and to act in the light of democracy.
Adnan Oktar's piece on Harakah Daily & Blitz: