It is, once again, Turkey’s time to push for EU membership

There was a discussion on the end of Turkey’s current state of law on an Artı TV programme chaired by journalist Celal Başlangıç on Friday evening. During the broadcast, author and journalist Ragıp Duran recalled France under Nazi occupation in World War II, when a group of French elites began work on their country’s reconstruction before the outcome of the war was in sight. They had plans in hand to reconstruct post-war France once it freed itself from occupation which ultimately helped the country to prosper.

In my opinion, this is a very important analogy regarding the era we are currently living in.

Turkey may not be under Nazi occupation today, but it has been occupied by a certain lawlessness, whose destructive, poverty-inducing and freedom-thwarting effects are comparable to the Wehrmacht. But this strong injustice is not sustainable in the medium term, and President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his party are focused on the short term, in any case.

Those who are seeking to save Turkey from lawlessness should do as the French elite did by working on a reconstruction roadmap from now.

The reconstruction will have to start from the foundation of the building: law. It is no longer an upper structure institution, as we thought it was during our youth. It is, in contrast, a foundational institution that has become a mechanism for resource distribution, much like the economy or planning. Global funds are no longer distributed by global profitability, but by the law index levels of countries and lands.

However, such a reconstruction of law in a post-Erdoğan state is sure to face difficulty, as our recent past shows there are greater structural challenges to producing law that extend beyond political hurdles. Domestic dynamics present a serious barrier to the production of a sustainable public legal service.

For instance, the issue of taxes forms the basis of constitutional movements, and law cannot develop without the prevalence of direct taxes in society. But in our country, the segment of the population among voters who pay indirect taxes through written statements is so low, and it is so difficult to increase this percentage by way of politics, that citizens’ legal requests and the subsequent legal supply of institutions remain at very low levels. The both the supply and demand of resources remain low; as such, if the demand for law is low, then so too will supply remain limited.

It would be an accurate assessment to say that Turkey has entered a sort of vicious cycle that is not easy to break through inner dynamics. Such a task would take generations, but Turkey does not have the time nor strength to wait on the production of law, which we know forms a country’s very foundation.

Due to its shambling state of law, Turkey today faces geopolitical issues with the European Union and European institutions – but this is does not have to be the country’s fate. The same problems could be used as impetus for Turkey to mend relations and cooperate with Europe.

We should value the significance of the law, its global indispensability and remain aware that its production can be distributed over time with Turkey’s inner dynamics. And during this period of reconstruction, we must place the goal of EU membership at the very top of our priority list.

Turkey is in a severe economic and political crisis. The country can turn this situation into an opportunity, because the average citizen who has experienced a considerable drop to their living standard will have heightened hopes from a revitalised EU bid – just as the country’s support for bloc membership soared to as high as some 70 percent at the beginning of the 2000s.

What is vital here is transforming the exclusivity of the EU process into an internalised social movement. It is high time for the EU.