About his political life
In 2006 Baykam became the President of the Turkish Plastic Arts Association UPSD, and he got more and more in touch with other NGO’s, getting united for more democratic issues in full solidarity starting from 2008, he started writing new statutes for CHP with the assistance of two young politicians Arif Tuna Eryılmaz and Mustafa Devran Yürükçü. The aim was to reach a fully democratic party. Among other persons who contributed to this important work, were included Yekta Güngör Özden, the former President of the Turkish Constitution court, former Sarıyer Municipality’s Mayor, and spokes person of the Union of NGO’s Lawyer Aydeniz Alisbah Tuskan, member of the same NGO, Mehmet Kunt Political scientist and Baykam’s general coordinator then, Ceyda Akin, as well as Baykam’s mother architect and engineer Mutahhar Baykam among others. The goal was to succeed in establishing a leadership model within the party where the President is not anymore the person who picks up every single member of the parliament or every mayor; instead of that, all those candidates would be very naturally and logically elected by every circumscription, by all the registered members themselves. This new potential line of thought brought a real fresh vision and breath to the party especially among the younger generation. Baykam first presented the new statutes to Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu who was then the vice-president of the group of the party. Meanwhile the President of the party, Deniz Baykal, had a “cassette crisis” with his chief secretary whom had become a parliament member by then, thus he had to resign. Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu became the new leader in 2010. But in spite of all the dialogues between Baykam and Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, and all the democratic promises he had made to the General Congress of the Party, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu preferred to strengthen his own power within the party, instead of a much more democratic party with statutes that would be in tune with a real social democrat party. What Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu only wanted to do, was choosing few clauses from the democratic statute. Baykam had prepared and infiltrate them to the ongoing party life of CHP. But those were very “diluted” versions of the real revolutionary drastic changes Baykam had prepared (for example in the democratic statutes proposal, every single circumscription would elect its own representants and candidates for every single position. Or although President Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu had agreed after few years to give %25 eligibility quotas for the women and youngsters, their real election rights in tune with these quotas, in the elections were never favored: although they would be added to the lists, never were they in the right rankings were they could really be elected and enter the parliament. Baykam kept severely criticizing these situations in the speeches he made at the General Assemblies, in his conferences and articles.
In 2011, while Baykam as the President of the Turkish Plastic Arts Association as well as board member of the İnternational Association of Art, was holding a press conference alongside other artists in order to protest against the order of destruction of the Monument of Humanity erected by sculptor Mehmet Aksoy. After the end of the press conference, Baykam who was by his car, with two of his assistants was stabbed from the back-side with a “rambo-knife” by a killer hired obviously by some fundamentalist sects, who was arrested and placed in jail. He also stabbed one of Baykam’s assistants while trying to run away; he got a sentence of 30 years. Baykam who had suffered several organ wounds, survived miraculously through a long operation. He stayed two weeks in hospital. He stated after this heavy incident: “I already lost several of my friends to terror, since 1990. I had been expecting this attack for long years. Probably that’s how come I survived. I wasn’t shocked or in panic at all. So I did not faint and chose to deal directly on the spot with the aggressor who tried to run away...”
In 2013, Baykam participated like every other democratically aware and sensible person to the Gezi protests around Taksim Square. He swallowed enough gas among other tens of thousands of protesters. He had always been one of the main opposition spokesman against every religion-İslam oriented political Party, Milli Nizam Partisi (MNP), Milli Selamet Partisi (MSP), Refah Partisi (RP), Fazilet Partisi (FP) and finally Adalet ve Kalkınma Partisi (AKP), Erdoğan’s Party.
Baykam later tried to establish dialogue links between Gezi’s protesting masses/youth. CHP unfortunately Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu never listened to the intellectuals including Baykam who had brought a full report on Gezi and the political consequences of the times.
In 2014, at the Presidential elections, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu selected and appointed Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu to the greater surprise and disbelief of the masses, as well as the CHP members. No mass demonstration, no unity within the opposition nothing was ever done really for promoting the candidate that nobody felt close to. Baykam reacted very strongly against İhsanoğlu’s candidacy. He organized a general meeting with all the important NGO’s, to try to legalize the candidacy of Emine Ülker Tarhan, a well known State Prosecutor, a woman from Turkish Justice who had been a parliament member of CHP previously. She had to try to get 20 signatures from the opposition parliament members to legalize her candidacy of which she was informed with a call from Baykam, after the NGO’s had selected her instead of 3 other potential candidates. In spite of all the pressures coming from leftist and democrat intellectuals and NGO’s, no 20 signatures could be obtained from CHP Parliament members and Erdoğan won the presidential race easily.
At the 2010 and 2016 referendums, Baykam participated to the “No” campaigns. Before the first referendum, his book “No to Civil Dictatorship”, and during the second one “No to a One-Man Dictatorship” came out from the press and contributed to the opposition campaigns.
In 2015 it was found out that many politicians, writers and intellectuals were being tabbed by the Fethullah Gülen sects infiltrated police and judiciary links. The information was made public and Baykam was invited to the courthouse and informed of the situation. He became a plaintiff against the “FETO” criminal gang, led by Fethullah Gülen.
During the same year, 2015, Baykam was among the Kemalist writers that were sent away from the Cumhuriyet newspaper as Can Dündar became the edition -in- chief of the newspaper. This period lasted for almost three long years during which Baykam wrote at the largest news website, OdaTV. After the newspaper was “won” back in court by the Kemalist writers led by Alev Coşkun, ex-President of the Cumhuriyet Foundation, Baykam returned to the newspaper, and restarted his political column “Yakamoz” (Phosphorescence)
At the 2018 Presidential Campaign, Baykam sided openly with CHP’s candidate Muharrem İnce who lost the race against Erdoğan.
Baykam, who is still the UPSD President (Turkish Plastic Arts Association) has also been the World President of IAA (International Art Association) for the past 5 years and will remain at that post until spring 2021.
One of the spokesman of the democratic “Artist’s initative” since 2012 together with poet Ataol Behramoğlu and stage actor Orhan Aydın. Baykam is still considered as one of the main opposants of the AKP regime, with all his articles, speeches and his TV debates.