Famous Turkish poet Murathan Mungan once said, "You can be everything, but not be disgraced in Turkey," and this aphorism has never been so loyally translated into real life in Turkey before.
Particularly after the graft and bribery scandals that went public on Dec. 17, 2013 -- which caught them red-handed -- the members of President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's regime, including ministers, bureaucrats and pro-government media outlets, have been telling lies in abundance.
These lies have become the norm in Turkey despite the fact that even one of them is enough to make the entire country feel disgraced. The lies, particularly including the inconceivable, immoral ones told by Erdoğan, are being poured down on the public on a daily basis, and they can be compiled into dozens of volumes. Thus, if one asks, "Who sits in the disgraceful throne of thieves and bribe-takers?" I would snap "lies and liars" in response.
Lies are nothing new to the Turkish political scene. Actually, we can also say that they are nothing novel for politics in general. Already, etymologically speaking, the word "politics" is a compound word, and its Latinized form is associated with lies. As you know, in Latin, "poli" means "multi-," and "tica" means "face." Thus, one may suggest, "multi-faced" people use lies abundantly. Of course, we cannot say that all politicians are liars or multi-faced impostors. But we can safely suggest that the Erdoğanian dictatorial regime, infamous for theft, bribery, looting sprees and unlawfulness, deserves to be defined with respect to the etymological meaning of “politics.”
Those who rush to parrot the grand lie, uttered by Erdoğan immediately in the wake of the graft and bribery scandals that went public on Dec. 17, 2013, that there is a "parallel structure" trying to overthrow the government, have been manufacturing a new lie every day during the last 15 months. The politicians and media outlets of the Erdoğanian regime are capable of spurting out so many lies in just one day that those lies could make a full-sized book. We are talking about the lies marketed everywhere by Erdoğan and his circles full of yes-men, and devised by dozens of pro-Palace newspapers and TV stations over the last 15 months.
Virtually all of these lies are exposed as shameless and untrue only minutes after they are tossed into circulation, but this does not discourage the lie-mongers from coming up with new ones. It is so interesting and disturbing that the ruling party's politicians, bureaucrats, journalists and organic intellectuals who have turned into a lie-machine like Erdoğan do not feel disgraced when their lies are exposed. They don't feel ashamed.
For instance, none of them resign from office in a dignified manner after their lies are exposed. Having submitted to this systematic effort to deceive the general public and pit diverse social groups against each other, sowing seeds of hatred and animosity among them, and having become part of this despotism, the judicial authorities are not taking any worthwhile steps in the face of these lies.
The corrupt teams of Erdoğan's dictatorial regime, who circulate new and preposterous lies every day, and who wallow in the mire of extensive moral corruption, do not receive the reactions they deserve from the public recipients of the lies they tell through their teeth. This unresponsiveness paves the way for corruption -- into which the Erdoğan regime is immersed with its sins and crimes in a swirl of political desperation -- to penetrate into the deeper layers of the society. In the Erdoğanian dictatorial regime where thieves and bribe-takers reign, society is becoming increasingly and irreparably corrupt.
Of course, Erdoğan's dictatorial regime's disgraceful lies, which make a fool of the entire nation, did not begin with the lie, “The graft and bribery scandals that went public on Dec. 17, 2013, are actually an attempted coup." The lies told during the Gezi Park protests in June 2013 were as scandalous as the lies they have been uttering without interruption during the last 15 months. There is no limit to their sickening lies, starting with the Kabataş lie -- in which it was claimed by Erdoğan, who was prime minister then, that a politician from the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) headscarved daughter-in-law was violently attacked, along with her baby, by a group of around 100 mostly nude protesters wearing leather at the Kabataş ferry station in İstanbul, in early June of 2013, at the height of the Gezi Park protests. Although the Kabataş lie alone would have been enough to force the government to resign and make the politicians, organic intellectuals and journalists who were part of this lie feel so disgraceful that they would be unable to interact with innocent people, all these people continue to occupy their positions shamelessly. They can even shamelessly talk about morality and virtue.
The lies that are way bigger than the Kabataş scandal - -which has been gradually exposed to be a despicable lie over time -- continue to be poured down on the public in the form of the bottom layers of the "parallel structure" grand lie. And Erdoğan and his media do not bother to learn about the fate of their lies, but move on to manufacture new ones every day and every moment. And they can easily find prosecutors, police officers and judges who are ready to disregard professional ethics in launching unlawful investigations against the targeted groups by bringing together the newspaper clippings about these immoral lies and lie-tainted statements. And these investigations are then followed by the operations that seek to manipulate public perceptions…
What are these lies? For instance, one day they publish a headline story stating that Fethullah Gülen, a well-respected Turkish-Islamic scholar, works for the Vatican, and the next day they say that he is a spy working for Mossad. Another day they tell the lie that he is a spy for the CIA, and then they rush to claim that he is a radical fundamentalist who tries to establish a regime based on Islamic sharia law. Most recently, they try to portray Gülen as a Mason based on a document that is evidently forged. The pro-palace media outlets ran headline stories for days stating that he lives in a palace worth of tens of millions dollars in the US and that he has mansions on the Bosporus, a palace in Ankara and a villa in Bursa... The lies about how Gülen has fled to South Africa, how he gave up fleeing to Canada at the last moment and how it is a matter of time that he will be extradited to Turkey continue to make their way into headlines in Erdoğan's disgraceful media outlets.
The words "pineapple" and "rosary" picked from an unlawfully wiretapped telephone conversation had been marketed as the secret codes of a clandestine organization for months. Erdoğan's media outlets ran headlines for days suggesting that these words were secret codes for diamond smuggling. For 15 months, the Gülen, or Hizmet movement, and Gülen have been the main items on the agenda of Erdoğan's trips to foreign countries. The Obama administration and its European counterparts have repeatedly criticized Erdoğan for reporting his counterparts as saying something they didn't say. But did Erdoğan feel ashamed of these clear lies? Did he regret his acts? No, not in the least! He just justified Mungan's above-mentioned aphorism.
Of course, Erdoğan hasn't kept these recklessly and wantonly manufactured lies confined to his media. He has shamelessly used these lies at public rallies, TV programs he attended and like a primitive tribal sorcerer, he has vulgarly danced on the honor and dignity of the innocent people he targeted with his lies. This relationship hasn't been one-way. Sometimes, he has used the lies invented by his media for propaganda purposes. At other times, his media has taken the immoral lies he has invented and run headline stories based on them.
Thus, they have become so ruthless as to paint the educational institutions close to the Gülen movement as the dens of a terrorist organization, and their teachers and students as terrorists and militants. Innocent people have been targeted as if they are criminals who are more dangerous than terrorists. A humanitarian and relief organization was targeted by certain media outlets for days until it was banned from performing relief activities by a Cabinet decision. A highly successful and strong bank, Bank Asya, was effectively confiscated by the ruling mafia based on the despicable lies manufactured by Erdoğan and disseminated by his media. The businessmen who are members of the Turkish Confederation of Businessmen and Industrialists (TUSKON) were targeted by this media with lies, and they found themselves being shown on TV as members of a "clandestine organization that rules the world.”
The Erdoğanian dictatorial regime and its media outlets, which know no bounds in lies and immorality, haven't hesitated to use Erdoğan's daughter Sümeyye in an effort to boost the agitating effect of their lies. He wasn't offended in the least by a newspaper's use of the lie that the main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) will assassinate his daughter Sümeyye, but he went further to use the same lie shamelessly in public rallies for days and weeks. Although this conspiracy has been proven to be a lie, Erdoğan continues to use it.
As I said above, if I list all the lies they have manufactured during the last 15 months, dozens of volumes of books can be written. Unfortunately, as if they were addicted to lies, they needed bigger lies over time. As their needs for lies grew, they become more ruthless and disgraceful. Eventually, before heading for Slovenia, Erdoğan publicly stated on Monday that he read the ruling Justice and Development Party's (AKP) election manifesto during a live broadcast press conference, but five hours later, he said during another live broadcast conference in Slovenia that he didn't read it.
After this article in which I talked about only a small portion of the lies on which the Erdoğan regime sits, Mungan's above-mentioned aphorism certainly needs to be amended radically and construed anew. Perhaps it is time that we reword Mungan's aphorism as: "You cannot be disgraced, but be a king in Turkey, which has turned into a Kingdom of Lies, if you are a despicable person infamous with your shameless lies."
Published on Today's Zaman, 31 March 2015, Tuesday