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Thou shalt not take the name of Erdogan in vain
by Thanos Kalamidas
2016-08-21 10:36:39
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Over a month since the failed military coup in Turkey and the only ones who have really lost in this Mediterranean country are democracy, progress and freedom. The one, only one, who has definitely won is not Turkey or the Turkish people, but the all mighty Sultan, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Using the coup as an excuse, Erdoğan has manage to establish one more authoritarian regime in Middle East in patterns laid by other authoritarian figures before him in the area, to name two Saddam Hussein and al-Assad family. These patterns demand opposition in prison or discredited and disappeared, freedom of press dead and under full control, information totally regulated.

A month later, the numbers of imprisoned, questioned, detained has reached the 60,000 people – as far we are able to know - with unknown number of tortured, perhaps killed and these numbers keep growing since Erdoğan has started arresting football players now. Nowadays in Turkey, “thou shalt not take the name of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in vain” is a dogma and anybody that violates it goes to a very secular hell, the Turkish sultan has for long obviously prepared.

There are hundreds of conspiracy theories surrounding the failed coup, always depending on what side you hear. Half of them tend to conclude that behind the coup was the Sultan himself while the other half – mainly Erdoğan’s supporters – believe that the Americans were behind the coup.

The idea of the Sultan behind it is stirred mainly from the fact that Erdoğan has really profited from it. Literally profited, since the corrupted leader came in total control of all the institutions that could oppose or rise any kind of accusations against him. And there are plenty of accusations or suspicions going around, all of them enduing with billions of dollars and euros escaping abroad. Plus that he was oddly prepared with lists and names on who to punish, lists that extent not only abroad but even to ...the national football team. In fact, now there is absolutely nobody to oppose Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey. The whole country is a hostage to one man.

Conveniently Erdoğan has also created a scapegoat which usefully for the Sultan lives abroad, in USA. Conveniently, because Erdoğan uses the Gülen-threat as the “perfect” excuse to ex-terminate everything his paranoia – or guilt - leads him into. Useful, because he suddenly has a new card to toy Americans and Europeans while keeping the bogyman alive for his compatriots.

erdo01_400_01Gülen is a strange case for every outside observer. Erdoğan has already proven - to all of us - that appearances often deceive and the man who was going to modernize Turkey and liberate the Turkish people from a military establishment that controlled every aspect of the Turkish life has become modern Turkey’s worst nightmare. With that in mind, nobody knows what is really going on with Fethullah Gülen. After all, Gülen was Erdoğan’s best friend and ally a few years ago and the man who helped him become, first mayor of Istanbul and then prime minister.

However, everybody is innocent until proven guilty and Fethullah Gülen has shown anything else than guilt. The man is an Islamist academic with progressive and moderate ideas for a state that can combine democracy, science and faith. He has invest in education and science and often spoke about equality and tolerance including religious tolerance. The man has been anything but open to talk and exchange ideas, exactly the opposite of Erdoğan’s late behavior.

Nevertheless, Erdoğan thinks that Fethullah Gülen is behind the military coup and the attempt against his life. Actually Erdoğan believes that Gülen is behind an organization that has infiltrated every part of Turkish life, academic, military, security, judicial authorities, business, even sports and through them he tries to control Turkey. A small addition to that, there are also Americans included, who are allegedly using Gülen and his influence in Turkey for something …only the Americans Erdoğan know but according the Sultan, that’s why they protect him and don’t let him to the hands of the Turkish …justice.

The whole thing with Fethullah Gülen doesn’t make sense at all, but what makes sense is the fact that Turkey under Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has become a fascist dictatorship, doesn’t matter how he, his allies or his debtors like to call today’s Turkey. Debtor because there is a strong hypocritical and schizophrenic behavior towards Erdoğan from the west. While everybody acknowledges that the Sultan has crossed all the red lines, still they talk, negotiate even encourage him. Merkel called him a great ally and while Austria tries to stop any negotiation for a membership between Erdoğan’s Turkey and EU, the German finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble, speaks about a valuable partner, both of them somehow compromise whatever Martin Schulz, the president of the Euro-parliament and Federica Mogherini, the representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs have said about the irregularities and the democratic violations in Turkey by Erdoğan. The other side of the Atlantic seems to have a few interests in Turkey that keep them quiet at the moment and pretending that nothing really happens.

Is it Sultan’s sudden love for Putin and on his knees apologies to the modern Czar for the shot plane or the fact that Turkey is the only pathway to middle east and the inflaming areas, like Syria and Iraq. But that the same time doesn’t mean danger for the westerns? To depend on an unstable corrupted character with personal agendas and nuclear bombs hosted in his territory?

Under Erdoğan’s instructions and orders this minute Turkey is a country that lives under constant fear, because nobody knows who’s going to be accused as cooperator with the “traitor” next and if the motives are real or just a personal grudge from the occasional accuser. Anything you say or you write even in your personal journal can be received as a threat against the Sultan and anything you have said in the past is a proof of guilt. Freedom of press is suppressed with hundreds of journalists under threat or in prison. Censorship is the magic word for the Turkish press. Minorities like Kurds, idealistic, religion or sexual minorities are under constant threat with the Kurds living something that under different circumstances – for example if it was unveiling in Kosovo – it would have been called genocide. Suspicions of money laundering and cooperation with extreme and terrorist elements for profit – money and weapons for oil with ISIS – and suspicions for connections with enemy organizations. I mean all this sounds like ...Saddam Hussein.

Over a month since the failed military coup in Turkey it sounds that it is not only democracy that has lost in Turkey but all of us. Of course, if we still want to call ourselves democrats with democratic principles.

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Emanuel Paparella2016-08-22 11:58:33
The following excerpt from an August 2, 2016 New York Times article by Josh Keller, Iaryna Mykhyalyshyn, and Safak Timur may convey the magnitude of Erdogan’s purge of his adversaries. If Americans were targeted at a similar proportional scale this is how it would look:

1. Almost 9,000 police officers fired: Like firing every police officer
in Philadelphia, Dallas, Detroit, Boston and Baltimore.

2. 21,000 private school teachers suspended: Like revoking the licenses of every third teacher in private elementary and high schools across the United States.

3. 10,012 soldiers detained Like taking nearly one in 60 members of the U.S. military into custody.

4. 2,745 members of the judiciary suspended Like suspending every state judge in California, Texas, New York and Georgia.

5. 21,700 Ministry of Education officials fired Like firing nearly every third employee
of the U.S. Department of Education.

6. 1,500 university deans forced to resign Like forcing all American university deans to resign.

7. More than 100 media outlets shut down Equivalent to President Obama’s issuing arrest warrants for conservative journalists, closing television and radio stations and censoring dozens of news-related websites.

8. More than 1,500 Ministry of Finance officials suspended Like suspending nearly everybody at the U.S. Treasury who regulates banks and designs and prints money.

No wonder Vice-President Biden is in urgent consultations with Erdogan as we speak. Surely he knows those alarming statistics.

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