October 7, 2014

A nation fast asleep amid war cries

Bülent Keneş

The war is right next door to our country, and we can clearly hear the war cries. One would need to be totally blind and deaf in order not to hear the war cries and alarm bells and not to be horrified by the potential disasters. I don't know if this is attributable to the fact that wisdom or foresight has completely abandoned this country or because of the enchantment or illusion created by the black propaganda and lies being generously poured down on the nation by dozens of embedded media organs, but it seems that these war cries and alarm bells sound like a lullaby to the ears of the nation.

But let me be fair to the government. The ruling party -- which sees Syria as part of Turkey's "domestic matters" and perceives itself as the "owner of the Middle East" or the "game-changer in the Middle East" and predicted that Bashar al-Assad would "go in days or weeks" -- might have failed to change the game in the Middle East, but it has managed to make the Syrian crisis and the bloody chaos in Iraq a nightmarish domestic problem for Turkey. Just as the government asserted, Syria has increasingly become a "domestic problem" for Turkey.

Despite the changing regional and international conditions, it subordinated the helm of the country's foreign policy -- and its "in-depth" strategy -- to "Assad must go," and this unwise, short-sighted and stubborn mentality has made diplomacy -- which is the sphere of cool-headed maneuvers and rational moves -- an arena for adolescent self-affirmation. In the hands of foolhardy decision-makers, realpolitik was replaced by the turbulent emotions of an insatiable individual or group to surf a heavy sea of ambitions, while national interests, which are supposed to be treated with an institutionalized and established approach, were substituted with personal whims and greed. Those who tried to bring a realistic approach to the agenda were despised as "lobbyists for little Turkey" or "proponents of the old Turkey."

As the hubbub of the noisy, ambitious lot grew stronger, common wisdom's voice was lost in the resulting commotion. The collective memory or national experience was further undermined with an empty and unfounded show of power, good-for-nothing hectoring and bullying and black propaganda for so-called heroism. Turkey, which used to be a source of peace and stability in its region under the leadership of the old Justice and Development Party (AKP), was converted into a country that is increasingly being intoxicated by self-styled black propaganda that exaggerates its own power and that is dragged into an adventure with an unknown finale by the same politicians who are enamored with that virtual power.

As Mr. Fethullah Gülen, the opinion leader of the global Hizmet (Gülen) movement, aptly noted in one of his recent statements, these reckless politicians who are at the helm of the country remind one increasingly of members of the Community of Union and Progress (CUP), which caused the great Ottoman Empire to suffer tragedies with its foolhardy emotions and insatiable lust for power.

I cannot agree more with Mr. Gülen, who voices the following concerns and wishes: "Just as Ittihadists (CUP) were overcome by their emotions to push the country into an adventure, they [this government] should refrain from causing this nation to suffer from the agonies of the First World War by entering a war needlessly. They [Ittihadists] finished off the Ottoman Empire, a great state in the balance of power among nations. I hope God Almighty does not allow this tiny country (Turkey) which is isolated from its environment and whose surrounding has turned into a ball of problems for itself to be dragged into another adventure at the hands of the poor and impotent politicians whose hands are tied and who are misguided in every initiative... May God Almighty not entrust this nation to the half-witted..."

The ruling mentality has totally abandoned the policy of reinforcing the country and making it prosper as a whole and, instead, set on monopolizing all the power in the country with an urge for an egocentric concentration of power. Unfortunately, it has stripped the decision-making processes of their sound basis, introducing arbitrary bases for them instead. Consider this: If all government decisions are taken using the same procedure as the recent Cabinet decision that sought to paralyze the charity organization Kimse Yok Mu (Is Anybody There?), which is known for rapidly extending a helping hand to disaster-stricken people not only in Turkey but also around the globe, then we all must pray to God that He save us from this ambitious, neo-Ittihadist lot's shortsighted quest for adventure and power!

As you know, Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç previously stated that he did not know of any Cabinet decision regarding Kimse Yok Mu, but it soon became clear that he had personally undersigned the decision. However, Arınç opted to act in a hard-boiled manner in the face of this apparent contradiction. On Sept. 30, Arınç publicly lied on a live broadcast program, saying, "I didn't hear about such a decision," but when his lie became obvious, he opted for a scandalous self-defense to cover up his lie: "As I undersigned the decision about Kimse Yok Mu, I was in no position to ask, 'What's happening? Why is this happening? Why on earth is this happening?' for hours... Of course, we read the beginning of the decision, but we didn't think about it in depth... I don't care about Kimse Yok Mu, but you should..."

As you can see, even Cabinet members fail to read the texts bearing their signatures, and the government's deputies in Parliament automatically approve government-introduced bills without questioning; and the government is taking the entire country to war. The ruling party -- which lost its secrets to the German, UK and US secret services -- is dragging the country toward a disaster from which the country will not be able to recover for many years to come.

Our government officials are grabbing with four hands any anti-Assad group, just because they seek to make Assad go at any price. But the ties of our government officials with radical organizations are best known to themselves and those who closely monitor them. These secrets, unknown to us, but known to both sides, and which we can guess at with pretty good accuracy, have virtually taken Turkey hostage. Add empty courage to this enforced slavery and ambition-induced blindness, and you can see how Turkey is running toward a fiasco.

This ambition-induced blindness is exactly the same lack of foresight that reduced Turkey's influence in Palestine, Libya, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, the Balkans, Europe and elsewhere and made the country suffer defeats, big and small. This lot of incompetent but ambitious officials is dreaming of great power based on the blood of Turkish soldiers who will be killed as a result of their decisions, but history teaches us that they will eventually be held responsible for their acts.

Published on Today's Zaman, 07 October 2014, Tuesday