June 5, 2014

Turkey's never-healing illness

Sadık Çınar

By late 2010 the AKP became very open to Modernist ideology contamination in order to secure its power in the long term. The ruling people of the AKP and especially Recep Tayyip Erdoğan are of the people who believe that the new Turkey project targeting 2023 (even 2071 in some discourses) can only be achieved by extremely strong governments in which all the other institutions, identities and groups are submissive to their power. The AKP and Prime Minister Erdoğan started to acquire possible future opponents. In this process the HAS Party's (Voice of the People Party) and DP's (Democrat Party) charismatic leaders Numan Kurtulmuş and Süleyman Soylu joined the AKP with some powerful assignments within party management.

The AKP turned into an Islamist party by putting the “Milli Görüş” shirt back on. Erdoğan began to impose his views on all segments of society. For example the AKP introduced alcohol restrictions, not by invoking its adverse consequences on human and social life but labeling the drinkers as drunkard (ayyaş)”. Erdoğan openly declared his aim of creating a religious youth, he tried to ban unmarried adult students from sharing the same home, he aimed to ban abortion, imposed restrictions on Caesarian sections, etc.

The groups which the AKP couldn't acquire or which opposed AKP policies have been demonized by Prime Minister Erdoğan. He constantly chooses insulting language against his surviving opponents. When criticizing the views of main opposition leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, he said, “As you know he is an Alevi,” in order to trigger and use the tension toward the Alevis. He used the infamous expression of “infidel İzmir” (which is a city of strong secular values) implicitly in one of his speeches. He labeled Gezi protesters as looters and drunkards and accused them attacking a hijabi woman, which turned out not to be true. The last group to get their share of Erdoğan's demonization is the Hizmet movement. Hizmet's firm stance against the AKP government's policy towards the closure of private tuition centers and its media's investigative approach to the massive graft investigation of AKP ministers have made Hizmet and Fethullah Gülen Erdoğan's main enemy during the past six months. Almost all of his speeches have been allocated to demonizing the Hizmet movement. The length of the damning discourse used by Erdoğan against the Hizmet movement is far longer than the space allocated to this blog post.

Excerpted from the author's analysis published on Today's Zaman, 05 June 2014, Thursday