4 August 2017

SODEM President Tunc Soyer: We need to recreate our dream city in our resident city

The Association of Social Democratic Municipalities (SODEM) is an NGO founded for deploying the social democratic governance perspective and promoting the successful municipal practices in Turkey and abroad.

SODEM creates a common ground for social democratic municipalities to share experiences  and strengthen the network. Additionaly SODEM serves as a national and international know-how center much appreciated by mayors for providing RESOURCES and IDEAS for new projects.

SODEM is in direct contact with its members thanks to AKADEMİ SODEM formation, which provides options for more EU funds, effective network involving national and international press, the expertise establishing a path to Washington through Brussels, a media for joining a network of lobbies. AKADEMİ SODEM arranges local and small-scale meetings to keep the connections fresh between the SODEM members.

We need social democracy on this soil like never before. In Turkey, the gap between the highest and lowest income levels are 13 times and this places Turkey to the first place in income inequality in Europe and the fifth in the world.

Social democracy is a humane and contemporary approach to eradicate inequality and injustice via democratic methods and applications. This ideology had been formed as a lifestyle formula in thousands of years and offering a fair, equal, transparent and humanely order via inclusive, participatory, peaceful solutions answering our citizens’ common needs, who were dissociated because of the identity based politicies for decades.

Social democracy is a life style obtained by a fighting over dictatorships and wars and will be causal factor in the future thanks to strong background of history, philosophy and social sciences. Social democracy has been proven its efficiency in the past. The main problems in the West solved, a third World War prevented, a downfall Europe resurrected for a prosper and happy continent.

As local leaders it is mainly OUR duty to explain social democracy and its benefits and making people believe in it, to large crowds, who are unaware of the fact that the solutions for a better life lies in social democracy.

Young generations demand for  no-interference to their life styles, horizontal social order and natural protection. We witnessed their attitude in Gezi actions and in Cerattepe. The demands of the young generation pinpoint a need for a structural change in politics. And the parameters of the new politics supposed to be locality and social democracy.

The efforts for natural protection and eradicating poverty will not succeed unless the issues are covered locally. Everybody knows this fact: The way to the government leads through local governance. Nevertheless the mechanism is not clear.

We need to recreate our dream city in our resident city!

We need to examine how we did manage to accomplish this goal. This statement we make should include more promises made rather than excuses or compulsive legislations.

There are many drawbacks, but we know that nothing can stop a deed done with enthusiasm. I can’t imagine anything would succeed the Mayor’s sympathy to his city, his ancestors’ heritage and dedication to next generations, to the children.

There is one reason to accomplish tasks and many reasons for not accomplishing them. We will be exalted by how we will succeed by that one particular reason. But this is not enough, we need to establish a common sense of perception in Turkey.

The key of this common sense must to be social democracy and every municipality should evaluate their deeds in terms of social democracy.  In order to wide-spread good practices, we need to strengthen the communication between the local governments and promote good practices.

As our success would make way to the success in overall social democratic municipalities, also we will not be the only one to take toll of the failure.

We are eligible to turn our country into a heaven as it deserves, while some parties are tempting to do the opposite.

There are 236 social democratic municipalities in Turkey, covering a total of 20 million people. In Istanbul, which is covering one fifth of the whole population in Turkey, the central municipalities are social democratic. There are rare and beautiful examples in rural cities like Erzurum, Konya and Malatya.

Could there be brighter hopes than this in a period shadowed by wars? We have the greatest strength to drive this country from darkness to light. We are the hope. There is no bigger organized power but us. Therefor we will not fear, we will not consent, we will stay side by side. We will endeavor to be worthy of our ancestors and provide resources for the creative next generations, clever and bright teenagers in Turkey.

These foggy days will pass. We are the ones to work for a political spring and found a new Turkey, a new world. We will not be over-optimistic, but we won’t also dwell into pessimism.

We are gazing to a sea of opportunities to sail via the most sensitive compass, social democracy. Now it’s the time to overcome the challenge.

SODEM Member Municipalities and Contact Information