At a time when President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan announced the “Human Rights Action Plan,” the U.S. House of Representatives developed a human rights and democracy-focused document in accordance with the new administration’s foreign policy.
In brief, the Biden administration is asked to develop a new policy within the framework of liberal democracy in relation to Turkey. The document, which is in line with the statement U.S. Secretary of State Blinken made after assuming his position, is quite important in terms of reflecting the general ideological confidence of the unipolar world of the 1990s. Steps that can be included within the framework of the “Human Rights Action Plan” being taken in Turkey after the Biden administration came to office is an interesting coincidence.
This thus recalled the times when democracy and human rights were used as a weapon. As is widely known, the U.S. and Europe would prepare “homework that need to be completed” in the context of democracy and human rights, and then use them as weapons to ensure the continuity of their colonialist policy. However, as those times have long passed, the document prepared by the U.S. House of Representatives and the action plan announced by Turkey should be discussed from a new perspective.
The superiority Europe and the U.S. gained during the colonialist periods had provided them sovereignty in many parts of the world. The local forces in the areas that were dominated during times the West had unchecked power in every field, could not escape dissolution. As a result of the problems it caused, this process is still ongoing.
Ideological approaches regarding administrative issues are also a part of these complex problems. Back in the age when Europe and the U.S. were powerful, there was a world that they designed in accordance with imperial centers. When alternative power centers emerged, it became clear that the values system they developed according to this world would quickly collapse. Hence, it is not surprising that some groups, whose mentality has been shaped within the framework of colonialist relations, made statements based on past behavior patterns after President Erdoğan announced the “Human Rights Action Plan.” It was realized that values system, which gains meaning within Europe and the U.S.’s power relations, was established based on a certain central understanding.
As mentioned earlier, the values system in question was shaped in accordance with Europe and the U.S.’s absolute superiority during the colonial period. It must also be noted that different power centers cannot revive similar understandings of government and the form of relations that emerged during colonial history. The fact that new power centers hold new thoughts requires us to focus on the differences of religion, culture and civilization. The increasingly escalating tensions between the U.S. and Turkey need to be discussed within the context of the great change. This change is taking place in the West, however, it is seen that the groups in Turkey, which have internalized the disidentified critical comfort of opposition, do not have the strength to imagine a new world. Thus, they still lack the courage to question the West’s hierarchy of values.
Change is taking place in the West, however, this should not be generalized. The document prepared by the U.S. House of Representatives reflects the longing for the 1990s. It can be said that they could not really face the consequences of the 2008 crisis. They thought it was a flawless system. Surely certain setbacks were possible, but the West itself was a system. The perfect system image that developed over the centuries was almost completely destroyed during the pandemic period. A significant portion of the events experienced in the last year are part of the negative outcomes caused by the pandemic. This is quite natural. However, it is also clear that after everything is said and done, the resulting picture will be evaluated in the context of values. Therefore, the saying that “nothing will ever be the same,” which is frequently repeated during the pandemic period, should not be taken lightly. It is clear that the U.S. will ignore the change and resist.
It is clear that the “Human Rights Action Plan” announced by President Erdoğan does not recall the times we sought “reformation” to regulate relations with the West.
The times when Western European countries and the U.S., which advanced across continents and reigned over the world, were powerful and made the whole world kneel are ancient history.