Erdoğan, Hizmet, assassins

İhsan Yılmaz
İhsan Yılmaz


Date posted: January 15, 2014

İHSAN YILMAZ

When he resigned from his party, former Interior Minister Idris Naim Şahin, a very long-time confidante of Erdoğan and one of the founders of the Justice and Development Party (AKP), powerfully stated in his letter of resignation that as a founder of the AKP in 2001, he was profoundly disturbed by the way the party had been ruled.

Şahin underlined that “when it comes to governing, it is understood that [the party] prefers the guidance of a small oligarchic staff comprising politicians and bureaucrats, whose intentions are uncertain.” He has been a longtime friend and political partner of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, since the time when Erdoğan was mayor of İstanbul in the 1990s. His insistence that “the government is run by a small oligarchic elite in a way that excludes broad segments of the party constituency and the Turkish people” is very explanatory vis-à-vis Mr. Erdoğan’s shockingly undemocratic and increasingly authoritarian performance over the last two years, since he received 50 per cent of the vote in the 2011 general elections.

This narrow oligarchic group comprises a number of bureaucrats and some young advisors who owe their political existence and future to Mr. Erdoğan since they are not elected politicians. In a piece that he penned on the online news portal Rotahaber, Editor-in-Chief Ünal Tanık gave some details about this narrow oligarchic elite. Tanık writes that Erdoğan has given up regularly getting feedback from his party’s parliamentarians for years, and since 2013 even his ministers have begun to lament to their close circles that they do not have access to Erdoğan.

Tanık also wrote that Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay, National Intelligence Organization (MİT) Secretary Hakan Fidan, current Minister of the Interior and former Prime Ministry Undersecretary Efkan Âlâ, deputy Yalçın Akdoğa, Ministry of Education Undersecretary Yusuf Tekin, Finance Ministry Undersecretary Naci Ağbal and AK Party Deputy Chairman Mahir Ünal are the main figures of this narrow oligarchic clique.

It seems these advisors have told Erdoğan that the Hizmet movement has sway over only 1 percent of the voting population, so it can easily be sacrificed. Thus, the movement’s criticism on the lack of freedom, democracy, media independence, increasing authoritarianism, mistakes in foreign policy, Shanghai rhetoric, hostility towards the European Union and a frozen democratization process do not need to be paid attention to.

Recently, Erdoğan picked a fight with the Hizmet movement to change the agenda focusing on the serious corruption allegations about his friends, relatives and even his son. On Tuesday, he went so far as to accuse the Hizmet movement of being modern day Hashishiyyas, who were hashish-consuming intoxicated assassins (also known as Hashashins) of 12th century Persia and Syria. In popular culture, it has been believed that the Hashashins did their assassinations in full view of the public, often in broad daylight, to terrorize the rulers. The term has been used by Muslim sources metaphorically and in an abusive sense to denote irreligious social outcasts. The great Seljuk ruler Nizam al-Mulk was assassinated by the Hashashins.

Judging his performance during the Gezi protests, when Erdoğan purposely fabricated allegations that Gezi protestors consumed alcohol and did “immoral” things in a mosque, it is not shocking that he has labeled Hizmet volunteers as Hashashins. Nevertheless, the fact that Erdoğan refers to the Hizmet volunteers as Hashashins without any evidence and that he and his media have been increasingly using the word assassination seriously worry me. This heated polarization must end as soon as possible before it is too late.

It is the duty of the president, the speaker of Parliament and the prime minister to act decisively and very efficiently to end this tense polarization and uphold the rule of law and independence of the judiciary without any delay.

Source: Todays Zaman , January 15, 2014


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