Erdoğan’s scapegoats: the West and Gülen

İHSAN YILMAZ
İHSAN YILMAZ


Date posted: April 30, 2014

İHSAN YILMAZ

 

Last week I wrote that Erdoğan has a “Hobbesian-Machiavellian” state mentality and does not seem to be bound by any natural law, universal standards, human rights, international obligations, ethics or morality.

It seems that for him the only criterion is winning elections and thereby keeping power. He is ready to do whatever it takes to keep power and become more powerful. That is why he insists on saying things that are known to be untrue and comes out with unproven accusations against other people, groups and countries in an attempt at psychological warfare. To this end, he will continue to demonize both the West and Fethullah Gülen, who is portrayed by Erdoğan as a puppet of the West.

He will continue to use anti-Western and anti-Israeli sentiments in his public rallies and also deepen and intensify these sentiments. Responding to the criticisms of the German president, Erdoğan simply said, “He may think that he is still a Christian priest,” knowing very well that his nationalist, conservative 43 percent of the public has all sorts of stereotypical, demonizing images of “crusading Christians” in their minds. He is both using and fortifying these negative sentiments.

As I wrote here last week: “To win the presidential elections, he will continue to polarize society; he will continue to invent some nebulous and abstract enemies to present himself as the victim, and he will continue to imagine a postmodern Western Crusader attacking the bright potential leader of the Muslim world, himself. He will continue to frame the Hizmet movement as a puppet of these dark Western, even Judeo-Christian, forces, since he does not have enough time to fabricate a new enemy with the presidential elections very close. To ‘prove’ his case, he may need a serious clash with the West, and trying to open the Hagia Sophia as a mosque will give him this opportunity. Western reactions to this attempt will be used skillfully and craftily to make his point.”

He already started this game in his talk with PBS’s Charlie Rose. He stated that he will ask for the extradition of Gülen from the US. By mentioning this, he wants his voters to believe that Gülen is a criminal who is protected and supported by the US. Whatever reaction the US authorities give on this extradition issue, it will be used by Erdoğan. He knows very well that there is not a shred of judicial evidence against Gülen and that, despite his pressure, prosecutors have not agreed to write an indictment for Gülen, being aware that a few years later, when democracy and the rule of law return to Turkey, they can be held to account. Nevertheless, he will continue to talk about this issue to “prove” that the West is against him so that voters must unite behind him or any candidate he deems suitable for the presidential race. He can even push for a ridiculous extradition application to be made to the US, and when this is refused, he will use this in his public rallies as evidence to show that the US is working with Gülen to topple his government. As I said, he is not bound by ethics and knows very well that corruption is a fact in Turkey but prefers to present himself as the victim. He has skillfully pushed Western observers into a dilemma: When they speak out against the increasing authoritarianism in the country, he will use this reaction to fabricate a crusade against him and Turkey, but if they do not react, democratic people, groups, forces and institutions in Turkey will be very resentful. The man is a political magician. May God save us and our democracy from him!

 

Source: Todays Zaman , April 30, 2014


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