Roland Dürre
Monday April 25th, 2016

The Masters of Reforms.

Here is what happened before I wrote this article:
Currently, I have much-loved visitors from China. Yesterday, Sunday (April, 24th), our visitor wanted to see the Federal Talk Show “Anne Will“.

Well, there is nothing you will not do for your guests, is there? So we watch “Anne Will” together. The show is about the current EU politics and its relationship with the partner Turkey. Particular attention is given to Erdoğan, the twelfth president of the Turkish Republc (whom I personally see more as a dictator). The guests are mostly the usual candidates … (here is the link to the Show).

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 2015

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan 015

A Great Reformer?

Initially, it is quite boring. Then Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is praised by one of the guests as a great reformer.

What annoys me about this statement is that all the other guests not only agree, but that this also gives the dictator a better reputation in the assembled circle. As a counter-argument, you get the question why he now “abolishes all his (good) reforms”?

Before talking reforms, maybe you should think about the definition (Begriffserklärung) of “reforming”. So I first look up the term reform in Wikipedia.

The first item given in the listing says that reform is:
“The planned and violence-free change of prevailing circumstances“.

To me, this looks like a halfway valid definition. And alas – it is totally unbiased. It does not say anything about being “positive” or “good”.

Neither does the definition ask about the purpose of change. Consequently, a reform is still a reform, even if, for example, it introduces a (good or bad) dictatorship or a (perhaps just as good or bad) democracy.

The actual Wikipedia article on reform does not look very convincing to me. All it does is give examples for reforms out of history; political reforms in current Germany and church reforms. It also suggests that a reform only deserves the name if it causes a modification that brings considerable change.

It seems that the only way of realizing reforms in a democracy is legislation. Reform means introducing a new law. So where does the constant cry for new reforms come from? Since we do not have the strength to remove old legislation, it means we demand new legislation all the time. And that is exactly what happens both in the counties, on state level and in the EU at an inflationary rate.

For me, the history of the German Railway is a good example for studying reforms and the consequences thereof. Initially, they merged all the county railways to become the Deutsche Reichsbahn (DR). This generated one of the world’s biggest enterprises and the biggest job provider world-wide. The advantages were easy to see: now they could build “standardized parts” in huge amounts. This “reform” probably also made the organization rather capable. Allegedly, the German Reichsbahn actually was more punctual during the first years of WW-II than the DB AG and its competition are today.

After WW-II, the Deutsche Bundesbahn (DB) in West Germany succeeded the DR. In addition to the GDR taking over the Deutsche Reichsbahn, the Deutsche Bundesbahn was privatized and converted into the DB AG, along with it being divided into many small railway societies and an extension by “private” competition.
One could easily have a long discussion about the purpose of these reforms.

But back to the Anne Will Talk Show.
Initially, when the Erdoğan reforms were mentioned, I had to think of Adolf Hitler. After all, he was not only the greatest warrior of all times (GröFaZ), but also the greatest reformer of all times (GröRaZ)? After all, many reforms and the resulting legislation that is still valid today have been initiated during the Third Reich (labour, maternity protection, relationship between church and state – including the church tax, protection of cultural goods and much more).

Here is Turkish history as I learned it:
When I was a child, I learned at school and during my socialization as a citizen of the FRG that Turkey and the Turks are very friendly-minded towards us Germans. In military terms, Turkey has always been a good partner. The fear of the Turks as we had it in medieval times is no longer appropriate. To be sure, Turkish internal policies are a sensitive issue, because the separation of church and state is never an easy thing with Islamic countries. Luckily, however, the secular heritage of Atatürk (Mustafa Kemal Atatürk), who was the father of all Turks, was protected by the generals of the strong armed forces, which in doing so also guaranteed the Turkish democracy. And, of course, they also taught us that Turkish labour was also an important factor for the German economy. This was about it when it came to information about the NATO country and then still soon-to-be member of the European Community.

Well, perhaps Erdoğan and his reforms did bring some change.

RMD
(Translated by EG)
I took the picture from Wikipedia Kremlin.ru.
Встреча Президента России Владимира Путина с Президентом Турции Реджепом Тайипом Эрдоганом в Баку

1 Kommentar zu “The Masters of Reforms.”

  1. Rabba (Sunday May 1st, 2016)

    Seit Erdogan an die Macht kam, ging es mit der Türkei wirtschaftlich aufwärts, was man allenthalben sehen kann. Dies hat ihm große Sympathien eingebracht.
    Die Türkei ist ein mosleminisch gläubiges Land, also hat er der Religion ihren Platz im täglichen Leben zurückgegeben. Das hat ihm wieder große Sympathien eingebracht.
    Darüber sollte sich vor allem in Deutschland niemand aufregen, denn die Gründungsjahre der BRD waren von christlichen Parteien geprägt, die im Kölner Klüngel einen Platz für die Religion an den Geldquellen der Republik schufen. Die BRD war kein laizistischer Staat, wie die Türkei des Atta Türks.
    Aber es ist wie schon Faust bejammerte:
    „Man freut sich, dass das Volk sich mehrt,
    Nach seiner Art behaglich nährt,
    Sogar sich bildet, sich belehrt,
    Und züchtet nur Rebellen.“
    Das muss Erdogan auch gedacht haben, als sich intellektueller Widerstand gegen seine sultanhafte Regierungsform regte.
    Seitdem wurden Journalisten, Richter und Militärs verfolgt und eingekerkert.
    Kritik am Nepotismus und Bereicherung lösten Wutausbrüche aus und zu weiteren Verhaftungen.
    Zwischen der verlorenen Wahl im Juni 2015 und seiner triumphaler Wiederwahl im November gab es 1.000 Tote zu beklagen.
    Nun ist er völlig in den Despotismus abgerutscht und mischt in der Region tüchtig mit. Dabei hat ihm dass harte Vorgehen gegen Kurden in der Türkei und Syrien wieder Sympathien eingebracht.
    Vergleiche mit Hitler oder Nazis sind allerdings völlig daneben und typisch deutsch. Die Türkei hat keine Strukturen wie in der Weimarer Republik, wo eine kaisertreue Beamtenschaft die Republik bekämpfte und kadavergehorsame Militärs, die ihr Handwerk unter dem Kaiser lernten, auf einen starken Mann warteten.
    Erdogan ist ein machtbesessener autokratischer Herrscher, der die Zügel niemals freiwillig abgeben wird. Die Türkei ist so nicht reif für Europa und Erdogan muss genauso geschnitten werden, wie Putin oder die Mullahs.

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