Tuesday, November 07, 2006

de mortuis, nil nisi bonum

m. bülent ecevit is "officially" dead now. may god(s) judge him fairly - as we mortals are apparently incapable of it. i saw (on tv, betwixt zaps) this morning how turkey's premier lauded him and i am willing to bet precious parts of my anatomy there was never any love lost between them.
anyway ecevit was loooooooong dead, back in the 1979 by-elections, but this being a political paradise of zombie-ism, he lasted until he was undertaken for good by what should faaaaaaaar longer have been buried. leaving sycophancies of politico-elegism aside, let's take a look at (some of) his career achievements:
*acquired fame as the man who initiated the labor union / organziation, strike / lock out laws in the history of turkish labor. but what labor? at the time, numerically, about 90 out of 100 factories were state owned. the state produced 90 percent of industrial output and employed an outrageous portion of the work force, meaning about 1.8 people did the work of about 0.8 (do not take these stats literally but the coefficient of exaggeration will be staggeringly low if someone bothers to take a count)
hence, the state, the employer, forced itself to pay more to the "proleteriat", boosting its own enterpreneurial costs and establishing hitherto unprecedented credentials of economic productivity. however, that got ecevit votes from that new class of state-laborers who were now financially well above the traditional "owners" the state "fonctionairs", the "bureaucrats" the "memurin" who saw themselves as superior since they were generally "okumuş" (diplomé, schooled).
the labor movement? in the late 60's and the beginning of the 70's the pro commie DISK made its debut in opposition to the TURK-İŞ confederation which practically owned the state laborers, and targeted the privately owned industries - 1971, the military took over, 1973, DISK was effectively but not terminally emasculated. during the blood washed latter 70's DISK declared itself the "belligerent organization of the working class" and the end came on 9/12 1980. labor was surgically aborted from the political equation in turkey.
* when the military launched their "coup by communique" in 1971 (march 12) ecevit declared he was the target. he owned up the lukewarm left-of-center etatism of the republican peoples party (RPP), wrapped it in a vague aura of peronism, corporatism, populism and the like that eventually proved disastrous to the country and rechristened it the democratic left. his post 1983 anti-RPP, family size political affair derives its name from those times. however, the patchwork leftism of the RPP thrice carried him to the throne - well, two and a half times actually. the outcome was unpoliticallycorrectably a catastrophe.
* kenan evren, the strongman of the 1981 coup-proper (nothing in pen and paper abut it, that putsch communicated with bayonet and blood ) said ecevit was a brave man who dared land in cyprus. he also said he was sorry he had sent him to prison in after the takeover. when ecevit landed on the island, everyone of sound sense had expected turkey to withdraw from part of the controlled territory in return for a just settlement. but the politically smart ecevit, hailed then as the conqueror of cyprus (though he always denied this title, albeit, coyly) hoped to translate his charisma into votes and called for early polls. his partner in government, necmettin erbakan (for those who may not know/remember, he happens to be tayyip bey's sensei in politics) yelled wolf: "ecevit is giving cyprus, taken by martyr's blood, back to the greek!!!". down the drain, a settlement; no hero brave enough to bite that bait. after a few weeks, ecevit who resigned from the coalition, refused to continue as caretaker premier and practically walked out, leaving the seat empty. now that must need courage! when ecevit climbed to power, turkey had a reserve of $ 2 bn - a huge sum by the standards of 1974. in one year, the balance was $ minus 2bn.
oh, evren... few months before he was to step down in early 1983 after the elections, denktaş declared the turkish republic of north cyprus. another gift by the strongman to our democracy.
well, i am not sure but i think i heard evren (on habertürk tv) saying he was sorry he sent ecevit to be held in "yassıada". that is actually, the island near istanbul where the democrat party was tried after the 1960 coup d'etat.
* in the mid-70's, heydays of ecevit's popularity after cyprus, he used to tell local and foreign interviewers who asked him about his poetry: "well, every politician has to have a hobby to pass his time when his days in politics are over. an overgrown politician becomes comical, they must quit and deal with other occupations. my poetry will help me in retirement days because i plan to quit before i get old". to my knowledge, he did quit, he did not write one poem in about a quarter of a century.
* nil nisi bonum? is that why (at least in the orient) history, which meant inquiry in greek becomes complete historia (story, tale in latin) ?
* i am never one to interfere with celestial affairs but in case heavenly auteurs decide to judge ecevit, may them know mea culpa, tua culpa, sua culpa etc...

we acquiesced, did we not?


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