The anomaly of war


Date posted: September 15, 2016

BURAK BEKDİL

The anomaly of war, French essayist Emile Auguste Chartier wrote, is that the best men get themselves killed while crafty men find their chances to govern in a manner contrary to justice. How much of that applies to modern Turkey remains unknown – though predictable.

Normal, in the new Turkish political lexicon, could be best defined as “a brief period of fewer anomalies between two long periods of anomaly.” This, sadly, marks the “New Turkey” that our leaders promised to grant us a few years earlier.

The country has been in a state of emergency since the failed coup of July 15. But was it a peaceful, normal country before July 15, with half of the nation hating the other half, an ethnic civil war and bombs killing thousands in the name of an ethnic land or a Sharia state? Now in addition to the tens of thousands of home-grown Kurdish terrorists the government is cracking down on tens of thousands of home-grown devout Muslim terrorists – without court verdicts proving that they are terrorists. This is the Turkish purge.

It is an old Turkish joke: A car is stolen and the police are unable to find the thief. Frustrated, the superintendent gathers his officers and shouts at them: “I want that solo-working thief caught at once! Understood? Or I’ll have you all posted to all sorts of unpleasant stations and duties!” The next day the police squad happily brings in 11 thieves. One of the officers proudly announced to the chief: “Sir, they all confessed to the thievery.”

A bureaucrat friend reminded me of that joke a few days ago. And he added: “If, one of these days, I ordered my personnel to bring me a list of Gülenists in our department, they will come back and hand me a list of at least 600 personnel. The trouble is our department has only 400!”

This is a non-violent, modern day version of the German “Röhm Putsch,” or the Soviet “Yezhovshchina.” Anyone can be the victim of what looks like a witch-hunt because he or she had studied secondary school here or high school there, if these schools are believed to be “Gülenist” schools; while, on the other hand, the energy minister, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s son-in-law, publicly says that he, too, studied at a Gülenist school.

It is understandable that the government has the reflex to minimize risks in what it rightfully views as an existential war. But, when, hopefully, the danger is over Turkey will not be a peaceful, normal country. Normal, in the years ahead, will only be a brief period of fewer anomalies between two long periods of anomaly.

Mr. Erdoğan’s populist rhetoric has invariably been based on convincing the average Turk that his beloved country is surrounded by (real or imaginary) enemies, outside and inside the country. That rhetoric, and consecutive policy-making, has created powerful and weak state and non-state enemies. The post-putsch Turkish “Yezhovshchina” should respect universal norms of law. It does not. Injustice will create new enemies within, enemies who, let alone being Gülenists, hate Gülenists; enemies united around the feeling of being victimized.

This columnist has often found the government’s pretext to fight (real or fake) enemies childishly amusing but shrewd at the same time: We are about to revive our glorious past and the enemies are trying to stop us.

The wrong diagnosis worsened Turkey’s “health.” Why should the world’s major powers feel envy for a country with barely $8,000 or so per capita income? And the deliberate policy to polarize… Until recently we could talk about polarization. Now we have polarization and hostility among different groups of Turks along religious and ethnic lines. And we are adding the “Turkish Purge” into the flames. Not a good mix.

Source: Hurriyet Daily News , September 14, 2016


Related News

Students give International Turkish Olympiad a moving sendoff

İPEK ÜZÜM, İSTANBUL The 11th International Turkish Olympiad, a competition in which Turkish speakers from around the globe recite poetry, write essays and sing songs, wrapped up on Sunday with a ceremony at İstanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium. Nearly 250,000 people attended the event. Students from 140 countries participated in this year’s 16-day Olympiad, fascinating local […]

Turkey’s first intercultural dialogue center built on trust, offers quality services

The official data from the regional police department shows that there are 30,000 settled foreign citizens in Antalya and the surrounding cities. According to Kundak, this number could reach 100,000 as high when taking unofficial numbers into account.

My opinion on the book ‘Imam’s Army’

Conspiracy theory is very widespread in Turkey,  society is currently polarized. Those who share a positivistic and Islamophobic mindset refuse to recognize that religion can assume a positive role and hold the Gülen movement responsible for nearly all evil. ŞAHİN ALPAY, Monday April 11, 2011 During my contacts with European parliamentarians, officials and Turkey experts […]

Why Erdogan Is Soft On ISIS

Turkey’s government and the media that support it have an odd attitude when it comes to violent acts carried out by ISIS: It’s as if the “cultural/ideological dialects” of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) government somehow malfunction. The government is politically accountable if ISIS actions do not stop in Turkey. Trying to cover this up with nonsense like “ISIS is the same as PKK and the Gülenists” only increases this accountability.

Turkey’s Koç: I met with Gülen; there is nothing wrong with that

The CEO of one of Turkey’s largest conglomerates confirmed on Sunday that he met with prominent Islamic scholar Fethullah Gülen in May, but dismissed government claims of conspiracy plots.

Yet another woman detained due to Gülen links shortly after delivery

Sultan Çetintaş, who gave birth on Monday to her third child in the Turkish province of İzmir, was detained on Tuesday over alleged links to the faith-based Gülen movement. Çetintaş was taken to the courthouse with her one-day-old baby after undergoing a C-section.

Latest News

Fethullah Gülen’s Condolence Message for South African Human Rights Defender Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Hizmet Movement Declares Core Values with Unified Voice

Ankara systematically tortures supporters of Gülen movement, Kurds, Turkey Tribunal rapporteurs say

Erdogan possessed by Pharaoh, Herod, Hitler spirits?

Devious Use of International Organizations to Persecute Dissidents Abroad: The Erdogan Case

A “Controlled Coup”: Erdogan’s Contribution to the Autocrats’ Playbook

Why is Turkey’s Erdogan persecuting the Gulen movement?

Purge-victim man sent back to prison over Gulen links despite stage 4 cancer diagnosis

University refuses admission to woman jailed over Gülen links

In Case You Missed It

A way to hide the truth: the Hizmet Movement

Erdoğan’s ‘Reichstag fire’

After 50 days, Turkish university director out of Malaysian jail with UN refugee card

Smear campaign against Gülen today harsher than in Feb. 28 era

Turkish businessmen’s helping hands reach out to Romanian flood victims

The Hizmet movement and participatory democracy

Gülen’s lawyers slam Erdoğan’s ‘slanderous’ unsolved murders remarks

Copyright 2024 Hizmet News