Teachers are the one and only people who save nations.
The state will not be constituted with the Sultan, it will be constituted without him,
against him and despite him.
– Mustafa Kemal Atatürk
The hydra-headed Recep Tayyip Erdoğan continues to go from strength to strength. The news that, on Friday evening, the military – or at least parts of the Turkish military – had effected a coup created justified exhilaration among many Turks. Finally, now was the time that the tyrannical Erdoğan, along with his increasingly vice-like stranglehold over his country, would be quelled. But by Saturday morning it was already a pipe dream, showing just how galvanised and bullnecked the leader was. Not only that, but despicable articles like this in the Daily Mail praised the citizens and not the army. What is important is that those unacquainted with Turkey’s politics realise not only that a successful coup would have been a great victory for Turkey, but that the Turkish citizenry is largely unrepresented by those we have seen in the press over the weekend abusing and beating the army.
Many questions remain unanswered for those who are relatively new to the nation’s politics. How [or when] can a military coup be a good thing? How can we support a military that fires on its own citizens? Surely most of the Turkish electorate support their leader as we have seen them thronging the streets? How can people criticise the system of a democratically elected ruler? This last question has already been answered, at least here on Heathen Harvest. In 2013 I wrote on how Erdoğan had bribed large portions of the electorate to gain votes: and this 2016 coup is his new grab for power. The tea and rice boxes have gone out the window – now he is canvassing for votes with blood.
If it sounds extreme that’s because it is. Tayyip was the one who encouraged his supporters to go out onto the streets on Friday night – weaponised only with their Turkish flags – and to meet the military head on. In the majority of cases like this the people would be sitting ducks, and it would be unthinkable for a leader to ask them to go in such a manner. But what actually happened was altogether more surreal – the army backed down – in spite of the fact that they must have known there would be civilian opposition, and in spite of the fact that bloodshed is an unavoidable occupational hazard in a coup. Indeed, there was bloodshed, as horrific videos away from the major news sites will show the curious, but mostly military. So why did this happen? And what did happen?
There are four parties at play here: Tayyip and his toadying cronies [at least the ones he forces into supporting him], the divisions in the army that oppose him, the electorate who voted for him, and who have gone out into the streets as the lemming-like automatons they are, and the majority [yes, majority] of the Turkish people who oppose him. There are two most likely scenarios, both of which suggest that Tayyip knew that the coup was going to happen. The first, as suggested by Fethullah Gülen, is that the coup was orchestrated and “staged” by Tayyip in order for him to weed out who in the citizenry and the army opposed him, and for him to impose further restrictions on his country while looking like a triumphant hero. The second option is that he didn’t directly stage the coup, he purely knew that one would happen at some point, but he allowed it to go ahead since he was confident of winning. Either way, the net result is the same and he comes out victorious.
Those who opposed Tayyip in the army have now been pulled, literally kicking and screaming, into daylight. It seems that many of those who were involved in the coup thought there would be a groundswell of support which never came about, most likely because the electorate who oppose Tayyip expected a bloodbath and didn’t want to get caught in the military/pro-Erdoğan crossfire. Many of the military involved in the coup were duped into thinking they were on a training exercise, and it was only when civilians started climbing on their tanks did they realise they had played into a coup. In this situation they had no choice but to back down: confused and betrayed, they were now playing a losing game. They were grossly underarmed and undermanned but now the administration knew who its opposers were. Yesterday’s forced meeting of the four major parties ensured that a coup could never happen again, which presumably means changing the constitution in some way as yet unrevealed. Along with sacking over 2700 judges and calling for a “purge” of the nation detaining 6000, Erdoğan now controls the army, the legal system, the opposition and he knows who his detractors are and their contacts, and their contacts ad infinitum nauseum. Along with talk of reimposing the death penalty, he has become a modern-day Hitler. The army opposers even look like concentration camp victims, held together like cattle in an abattoir awaiting their fate. I, for one, fear the slaughter of a large quantity of detractors at some point in the near future.
And what of these civilians who have been lauded in the press as the heroes of the day for stopping the army? Are these civilians really the Turkish people we should be proud of? Who do any of us know in their direct peer groups – or indirect peer groups – who would go out lynching members of an opposition? Who would cut the throats of men and beat them in the streets with barely a second thought? The mindset – and mindlessness – of the Tayyip-supporters is as bemusing as it is frightening. These are the supporters of radicalism and religious fundamentalism – the very type that gives Islam a bad name – when most of the Turkish people want to move forward and retain Islam as a precious, secular 21st century religion to be proud of.
Make no bones about it, the future for Turkey looks grim – and because of one man only – and that is the very definition of a dictator. Many Turkish citizens are afraid of speaking up against Tayyip to each other lest they be tracked, and those who have been found by the government as speaking up against him on social media have been punished. This is not only a repression against Kemalist values, or a repression of free speech, but a repression of free thinking. The gambler doesn’t know when he’s at his peak, only when he’s past it – and likewise Tayyip’s greed will topple him eventually – but not before he’s turned Turkey until a totalitarian country with his people either oppressed or waving their flags in his face like lobotomised Stepford Wives. Not content with holding the EU for ransom he is now biting the US hand that feeds him, cutting off Incirlik airforce base and playing further into the hands of ISIS.
All must be aware of the tragic truth of the Turkish autocratic regime and the necessity for its cessation. Not only because, as the 21st century presents more of a cybercosmopolis in our hands, it affects other relatable humans whom we can talk to at a touch of a button or swipe of a screen, but that Recep Tayyip Erdoğan looks to go the same way as some of history’s most dangerous men. The spirit of Atatürk may look down on Istanbul and Ankara with horror, but its essence is still there with the true patriotic people of Turkey, and in his name the autocracy must vehemently be opposed.
Written by Lysander