Turkey’s referendum: a win or what...?

Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the YES Vote

Does the electoral process, any kind of it, justify the dictatorial alteration of Democracy? Are the formation of law and the democratic procedure of decision making enough for Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to be a Sultan? The formation of the legal-mathematical formula of the referendum, as in any electoral process, cannot decide and this marginal situation in Turkey unfolds the inner contradiction of democratic political form.

The net result of the mathematisation process of the Will of the People or else, referendum, in Turkey*, gave a precedence to YES votes (EVET) for about 51,4% against the NO votes for about 48,59%. In the following short comment about this extremely interesting situation - where Democracy abolishes itself not through a State of Emergency but through the 'Will of the People' - I am going to focus on the legal-mathematical formula and its inner contradictions.

Democracy’s inner contradictions are unfolding in such exceptional situations: a mathematical formula and a number are trying to represent the unity in separation of the Will of the People in order for the result of this representation to later become a legal form so something can become action reality through the regular democratic procedure; confirmation in the parliament, law of the state, executive government and state’s organs to enforce or supervise the implementation of the law.

The highest abstraction, in order to become one in the form of law, starts from the concrete; reaches out the great height of the legal formula and then, returns to the actuality, to the concrete, in order to enforce the decision which gathered the biggest absolute number in the ballot box. This, in this particular situation of Turkey’s referendum, far from being ‘’Erdoğan's Dictatorship’’ is the established State’s existence through Democracy: the active Spectacle of society, the state, continuously deducts from society’s content in order to return to it with the evidence of its own action, through and against society.

However, the tampering is already obvious: there is no Will of the People sufficiently expressed in numbers and if the difference between the numbers is not enough to become evident by itself, to be quantitative lawful, then there is a problem. Precisely this situation indicates the inadequacy of the mathematisation of the Will that is proposed from the elections. The 51% of YES vote is not legal even if typically, by the book of elections, it is. The opponents of YES vote receive this result as a sign for action against its illegitimacy and their action delegitimizes further the net result. It’s like a commodity to be sold in a lower price from that that the “common sense” can accept, therefore the owner is definitely going to react against it.

Thus, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan only managed to sharpen the fight against the regime amid State of Emergency and that is going to determine the legitimacy of the YES vote. Even if the WIll of the People in the Turkish province that supports Erdoğan is symbolized in a greater degree from that of the NO vote, the class struggle is something that cannot be identified with the democratic procedures while its center is not the political spectacle nor the face of the leader; even if this leader wants to be a sultan. The victory of Yes was turned into a temporary symbol of struggle against both the injustice of the electoral fraud and the marginality of numbers which wish to impose "pieces of will" on other ‘’pieces of will’’ of the people. The unsolved enigma of the democratic decision creates social instability because its base is not solid while the dictatorial form of governability just accentuates the social crisis.

The state in not the remote secret intelligence center that knows what society cannot understand; the state is blind, the leader cannot decide.

* the meaning of the question of Turkey's referendum was about to give by popular confirmation excessive power in the hands of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan through a democratic procedure. It's like a modern "Discourse on Voluntary Servitude", but a failed one.

Posted By

Apr 20 2017 11:54


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Apr 23 2017 11:45

What do u mean by inner contradiction? Can u elaborate more on it?