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The more Turkey changes the more it remains the same thing

Reader comment on item: Turkey, Closest to Leading the Middle East
in response to reader comment: Turkey changes

Submitted by Ianus (Poland), Jan 26, 2013 at 05:23

MikeKu ,

It's fine to meet someone who worked for the US government in Turkey. One is not so often privileged to see among us common mortals men in so high places doing their secretive business there and making and discussing polics and weather with Turkey's modern sultans and visirs and sharing with us the official Turkish version of reality.

Let me humbly say a few casual things about what you wrote.

The neoliberal turn in Turkey as everywhere else has produced the same nefarious effects. It radically redistributed wealth and income upwards - the rich became richer , the poor poorer and the army with its many monopolies and oligopolies, participation in fraudulent privatization schemes and other scams in the banking, industrial and real estate sectors has become the new principal crony capitalist and the guardian of Turkish neoliberalism - with all the wealth it has played into the army's hands - to a much greater extent than of Ataturk's dubious legacy.

> Erbakan, I recall built mosques instead of schools and was taken out. Erdogan was in jail for 3 years and should have been banned from politics thereafter precisely for the Islamism that Turkey is now undergoing.<

Erbakan could build mosques and widen Islamic curricula in schools because he had struck a big deal with Turkish militiarists during the undeclared civil war in Turkey in the 1970-ies. You may well remember that Kemal abolished Islamic indoctrination in schools. The unintended result of it was that the Turkish youth, dissatisfied with official lies, corruption and social injustice of Kemal's system ,embraced leftist ideas which led to conflict with the rightist militarists in power. Demands for more democracy and equality, students' riots, workers' strikes, anti-governmental demonstrations, propaganda and agitation, assassinations, arrests, provocations by the "Gladio" terror groups and others posed a real threat to public order and, more importantly, to the Turkish militarist -bureaucratic establishment. It seemed unable to cope with the mounting tide of protest with its usual means of police state inherited from Kemal. So the militarists made an agreement with the slumbering dark force of Islam. Islam was set free to get rid of communism and tame and enslave the minds of the youth – in brief the same tactic your government used in Afghanistan with remarkably similar effects. Erbakan could build mosques and teach Islam but finally he was forced to leave the political stage. But the dark force the militarists called in to eliminate their communist opponent refused to return to the cage. It demanded its permanent share of power.

I can hardly agree with your take on who is to blame for Islam's public reappearance in Turkey. In my opinion it's neither Erbakan nor Erdogan because if it weren't they, then somebody else would do the same. They are just superficial manifestations of a much graver and deeper problem that has hardly been addressed. What I mean is that during all the Kemalist era Islam has actually never disappered but it has merely gone undergournd , to the Catacombs waiting for the Kemalist tempest to subside. You may not have seen it in streets and public squares, but it has never left Turkish hearts and minds. Just like the shi'as' imam it was in occultation waiting for its hour to come back. What Kemalism did for Islam was making it more resistent, immune, hypocritical, secretive and cunning. It taught it a good survival lesson while the militarists in their scramble for wealth and offices which neoliberalism opened for them unlearned theirs.

> Attaturk took Turkey out of the Middle Ages and brought into the 20th century.<

If the 20th century may be defined as the age of genocides, then Kemal fully deserves this succinct description. Completing the Armenian genocide , exterminating c. 1 mln Greek Christians and 700 000 Assyrian Christians with cruelty unparalleled even in Ottoman history makes him one of the main heroes of the age of genocides –Hitler's favourite master. That your government has never recognized or is going to ever recognize any of his genocides doesn't make any difference here.

I bet this topic never popped up during your cozy talks with "Ciller, Erbakan, two of the Ozal brothers, others". Your government is careful enough to warn you against touching upon such subjects, isn't it? "Who remembers the Armenian genocide?" Hitler once asked. "Definitely not the US government!!!" I would answer.

> Jews and Christians prospered.<

In 1922 there were 200 000 Jews in Turkey. Five years later only 80 000 remained. Hardly seven years after that Kemal staged anti-Jewish pogroms in Thrace. He discriminated all, Turkified some by force, others he downed and sucked dry with racket and harassments. He forced them to abandon their names, their native Ladino language on behalf of Turkish names and Turkish language, abolished their own traditional school system. His followers denied in 1947 Israel the right to exist. But "Jews prospered", didn't they?

More tragic was the fate of Christians under Kemal whose hands are stained with the blood of some 2 000 000 Christians, not to speak of routine discriminations, pogroms, expropriations and expulsions of Christians afterwards from the fascist state he created and your government has been the main nanny, defender, sponsor and ally since 1947. Thus their blood is also on yours as the Turk is too cowardly to stage massacres and provocations like those of Constantinople in 1955 or Cyprus in 1974 without first making sure that the American master will be benevolent to what's being planned.

In short, I am afraid that the fairy tales the Turkish customers of the US Department of Agriculture told you and you have reproduced here will be put to a better use on a different forum.

>Erdogan is a hypocrite of the first order; chastizing Israel for defending itself against Gaza rockets but he has no problem in sending his troops into Iraq to pursue PKK "guerillas." You can't have it both ways.<

Maybe he has learned his hypocrisy from someone better than himself ? E.g. from Turkey"s new prophet and demi-god Ataturk - a perfect liar and hypocrite who survived thanks to Soviet Russia and yet betrayed the Soviets and jailed communists; who told the Kurds he would liberate the caliph and respect their aspirations if they just helped him exterminate the infidel Greeks in Anatolia - to depose afterwards the caliph and massacre the Kurds denying them even the right to exist as Kurds; who promised the Americans fabulous profits from a grand concession (the Chester Concession) he was never going to grant them in exchange for such a trifle as covering up his genocides and siding with him him at the Lausanne Conference.

Whatever you may think of Erdogan, he has still a very long way to go to achieve Ataturk's quality and scale of lying and deceiving.

> The Turkey I knew was moderate and progressive.<

They showed you what you wanted to see. They always do that with all visitors. The credulous are easily hoodwinked as there are many lovely window dressings across Turkey, I admit.

> I would probably find myself very uncomfortable walking in Istanbul with all the hijabs for they lead to discrimination against women, Jews, Christians and the end of freedom of free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of assembly freedom to criticize.<

You felt very happy walking in places that were virtually drowned in Christian blood, places of unspeakable atrocities and sufferings that have never been atoned for, happy to give resources and working on behalf of people who pay millions of dollars to corrupt your superiors to make sure they will never recognize or even mention what the Turks had done. All of that didn't make you feel uncomfortable, did it? But out of a sudden you panic seeing hijabs everywhere in Turkey? What a surprise after all the soothing fairy tales of "secularism" and "Ataturk's legacy" you heard from your Turkish cronies.

And don't tell me that Kemal's Turkey knew any freedom of speech. A single wrong word uttered in a wrong place could send you for 3 years to jail for "denigration of Turkishness" or "tarnishing the memory of Ataturk" or other thought crimes. And what sort of freedom of religion do you expect in a nation that is 99,8% Islamic thanks mainly to Kemal's genocides and expulsion of everything non-Islamic ? Probably, that of admiring the emperor's new religious clothes ?

> I suspect that Attaturk would be turning in his grave if he saw Turkey today.<

It depends which Ataturk you mean? The one of 1919-1921 would welcome it as the result of his own premeditated action. The one of later years would be too drunk to realize what's going on. He loved to get drunk too often and during his last years was tipsy almost all of the time.

But speaking of turning in grave, don't you think that those 2 mln Christians exterminated by Ataturk are also turning in their graves (if they have found any in this ... land of Turkish barbarity) seeing such a "Christian" nation as the US in bed with by far the greatest butcher of Christianity in recorded history ?


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