New Turkey: Eyes on the Ground

“Eat, ye gentlemen; this appetizing feast is yours. Till you are satisfied, nauseous- eat till you burst.”

 

These are the best words to describe Turkey’s last 12 years under an Islamo-fascist regime. Since the ruling party -namely AKP- became the absolute and suppressive power, Turkey has undergone numerous radical changes, especially in social norms, education, economy, and foreign affairs. Popping up out of almost nowhere – with astonishing global support and financial resources- AKP won the votes of conservatives and liberals.

 

During their first five-year-long rule, even the most skeptical secularists started to question their biases about these allegedly conservative figures; hence a minority of them actually voted for them. During the time of the general elections in 2007, a great number of people were expecting a coalition, until the unexpected happened, and once again, overwhelmingly, AKP became the ruling party.

 

During the Istanbul Bing Overseas Seminar, Asia Chiao and her classmates explored the city's complex history through a study of sties, sounds, and smells. Photo courtesy of Ali Yaycioğlu.
Photo courtesy of Ali Yaycioğlu.

That is when all the nightmarish years began. First, on claims of unproven treason scenarios the regime took thousands of soldiers, journalists, and politicians into custody, then sent them to prison without solid proof they committed such crimes. Concomitantly, Islamic rules and regulations hit the education and civic institutions. The State started to convert more than half of the public schools into religious education spheres. Then came the speculations to open mesjids in kindergartens which grew violent. People started to protest these alarming changes, though civil rights organizations have been faced with several charges; not surprisingly, yet again the main allegations included secret witnesses. Whilst society was in shock, the government, under a cloud, started to engage in conflicts, first with Israel and then with Syria.

Although there was no historical conflict between Israel and Turkey, Israel has long been a scapegoat for Turkey’s Islamists and secularists. The myth of Israel being an occupier and a security threat to all the countries located in the region has deep roots in Islamist dialectic. Thence, for a figure like Erdogan, the leader of the AKP, using this well indoctrinated hatred was a conditio sine qua non that has always received massive public support. His position was strengthened in the 2009 World Economic Forum, where he stormed out after clashing against Israeli president Shimon Peres. The debate was about the never ending Israeli-Palestine Conflict and, not surprisingly, as an Islamist, Erdogan used Israel’s isolated situation very well.

 

 

Then, in his return to Istanbul, he was greeted by thousands of people chanting their pride in their prime minister. On 31 May 2010, the Gaza Flotilla Raid –when Turkey lost 9 of her citizens- escalated the crisis even further. These two particular incidents provided a huge amount of support for Erdogan as the new so-called “hero of the downtrodden Muslims”, not only in Turkey but also in Arab countries. However, despite his vigorously applauded performance on the political stage, behind closed doors, Erdogan’s government continued intense trade and military negotiations with Israel. This hypocrisy has never found any significant voice in the mainstream media, for whom whitewashing the status quo is nothing but a must for their survival.

 

Erdogan’s second maneuver of raising conservatism in Turkey was his well-tailored case against Syria, where he used Assad’s oppressive regime as the surface cause for his sectarian hostility and for many politically practical reasons. In this groundless propaganda attack, Erdogan received implicit financial support from United Arab Emirates and Qatar. By arming the rebels in Syria-and in Iraq to some extent- both Turkey, Qatar and UAE aim to establish a Pan-Arab League in which the Qatari ruling family, namely al-Thanis, is the leading force. In this bloody multi-dimensional game, Erdogan put forth tremendous effort to persuade both the West and the East that he is everybody’s handy chap.

 

Whilst the tension was at its peak, he stood by Obama’s government and continued lobbying against Assad. Then, when Russia, Iran and, later, China threatened to intervene, Erdogan stepped forward and started to arm rebels-and later IS in Iraq-in every secretive way possible. During the conflicts, more than 70,000 people were killed in Syria-and the death toll is still growing exponentially. Syrian rebel groups like Al-Nusra Front, Ghuraba al-Sham, and Pakistani Taliban later developed into another terrorist organization once known as ISIL (Islamic State In Iraq and the Levant) and then re-named shortly as IS. Against almost 39 opposition forces, Assad’s regime only received armament support from Russia, North Korea, Iraq, and Belarus, and non-lethal support from countries like Venezuela, Angola, and China.

 

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Since 2012, Erdogan’s Turkey has become a transport and money-laundering hub for Syrian and Iraqi battlegrounds. Having said that, Turkish government also provides medical service for (formerly known as ISIL) IS in border cities like Hatay and Gaziantep. This terrorist organization has not just been clashing with Syrian Government Forces, but also with Kurdish allies of Syria and Iraq. As of April 2013, IS supposedly has 80,000 militia (up to 50,000 of them have been fighting in Syria and 30,000 in Iraq.) Within a couple years, these huge numbers of radical Islamists have become a global dilemma not only for that region, but for European countries and even countries as far away as Australia.

 

When you look at this horrible tableaux, you can easily pick out Erdogan and his carefully selected allies. Despite the occurrence of major uprisings -known as Gezi Movement- in Turkey, a politically and historically speculative character like Erdogan was elected as the 12th president of Turkey in 2014. A great number of people were enraged by the suspected manipulation of results, and reports of fraud have had widespread media coverage. Meanwhile, “tyrant”, “war criminal”, and “Islamist fascist” became common synonyms with the name “Erdogan”.

 

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Yet, on 7th of June 2015, when general elections were held, AKP- Justice and Development Party-and its long time commander-in-chief Erdogan, lost their majority. They failed to win an outright majority in the parliament, giving Erdogan’s tyranny a serious knock onto its abdomen from the oppressed majority of the country’s people. Poll threshold, set prior to the elections by the government, was absolutely destroyed by Kurdish opponent party HDP-People’s Democratic Party- and the other opposition parties. In this very prenatal phase, it is hard to predict what Erdogan and his fellows-in-crime(s) will do with this new equation. Some speak about a coalition with one of the opponent parties-although none of them seem too keen on engaging at all with AKP- others cheer for pushing AKP out of the parliament and establishing a CHP-MHP-HDP coalition and starting to put cases together to prosecute AKP members before the supreme court. In the latter case, Erdogan may certainly receive a “special” treatment and find himself the first culprit of his false sultanate.

 

Whatever the case may be, we must thank this Islamist criminal for one thing only: that during his regime, a considerable number of people here in Turkey started to comprehend what Islam really is all about – oppression, hate-speech, division and sectarian stratification, fraud and rape of the human rights, and abolition of mind in every aspect of social and private life. Being a militant atheist now, I know I can speak through concrete evidences that are embodied by a deceased rebel’s once lively flesh, in the eyes of the impoverished masses, child brides, spooky figures of clergy, social stratification, the so-called new Islamist elite, and the devastation of education and science.

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