President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, systematically keeps on holding the ones who oppose him as hostages, putting them under absolute quarantine and isolating them. He gets angry when compared to a dictator, but as soon as someone opposes him, he punishes them with his power over the judiciary. He is making people scapegoats and threatening their lives as he labels every bit of criticism as ‘’foreign interference.’
Erdoğan was recently quoted as saying, “Nobody can defile the venerable Adam. It is our duty to cut out the tongues of the defilers when it becomes necessary,” as he targeted the famous singer and songwriter Sezen Aksu in an address he made at a mosque. After getting highly adverse reactions, he was forced to say that he did not mean to target Sezen Aksu. Although he learned this the hard way, he can’t get away with threatening everyone, and the violent words he used are never to be forgotten. In fact, the Sezen Aksu song in question was from 2017, and the song’s title was ‘Living is a wonderful thing’. It remains unanswered why he chose to attack the song and threatened to cut the tongue of the singer in 2022.
Of course, Erdogan’s behaviour towards people who oppose him is not entirely new. Declaring that he does not recognise the decisions made by the European Court of Human Rights and the international conventions which the Republic of Turkey co-signs is only going to keep his European peers concerned. On the other hand, this has been ‘judicial torture’ for the likes of imprisoned politician Selahattin Demirtaş and the imprisoned businessperson Osman Kavala. They are waiting for the European Court of Human Rights decisions to be implemented.
Erdogan’s attitude towards the former co-chair of the People’s Democratic Party (HDP), Selahattin Demirtaş, has turned into a catastrophe.
And no one can hear from Abdullah Öcalan, the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) leader, who has been living in severe isolation for years and whom even his lawyers and family members do not have access to as all appeals the lawyers for a visit are lawlessly rejected. There is no doubt that the strict isolation policies that are implemented on Öcalan are special warfare tactics.
If there is a situation that can not be explained within the law, that means there is a crime committed by the state.
The Republic of Turkey does not hesitate to break its own laws in this case.
Author Stefan Zweig explained very well what isolation and extreme quarantine really means in his book titled ‘The Royal Game’. Zweig described the mental and physical effects these methods had on people from the protagonist’s point of view, which were practised in the 1940s in Nazi Germany.
I find the book very useful for explaining how similar the isolation-torture techniques used by the Nazis in the 1940s are to the isolation imposed upon Öcalan.
In the book, the protagonist, Lawyer Baron Rothschild is taken to the Metropole Hotel, which serves as the Gestapo Headquarters in Vienna, and is locked up in a room. This hotel is a torture house at the same time, and the torture is inflicted through isolation.
“They did not do anything to us, they placed us in nothingness, because as we all know, there is nothing that can hurt the soul so much as nothingness… There was a door, a bucket and a barred window in the room. The door was locked all the time and it was not allowed to put anything on the table; no books, no pens or papers. The window faced a fire exit. All that surrounded me and even my body were possessed by nothingness. They had taken away every sort of object from me… I did not see anyone except a guard, who was not allowed to say or asked anything. I did not hear any voice. My eyes or my ears, none of my senses were being used. A person would just be alone with nothing to do, with some wordless objects around like a table, a bucket, a window. A person would live like a diver inside a glass bowl in the darkest and the quitest of the oceans, like a diver who’ve realized that the rope to the outer world has been broken and he is never going to be pulled out of the silent depths of the ocean. There was nothing to do, to hear or to see; a person would all the time be surrounded by nothingness, and the thoughts would also be fluctuating up and down continuously. As intangible thoughts are, they need a concrete foundation. Otherwise they’d lose their meaning, rotating around themselves. Thoughts can not exist in nothing. A person would wait all day long for something to happen and nothing would happen. A person would wait and wait, a person would think until getting a headache, think and think … But nothing happens. A person would stay lonely, lonely and lonely.”*
Even just to think that a person would face this can cause a headache.
Isolation-torture aims to destroy our souls to the last atomic particle, and expects us to go mad. The protagonist of the book got out of this torture as a chess grand master but the wounds in his soul would never heal.
This horrifying isolation imposed upon Öcalan, the efforts to get some results out of it, and the fight given by an organised will against the state is all ocurring in front of the public. This same process is now imposed upon all people who are opposing Erdogan and his power. Erdogan’s policy of turning his supporters into his guards is paving the way for disaster.
And President Erdogan still gets angry when called a ‘dictator’, but the truth always ends up being on his opposite side.
As Danton said, “Truth, bitter truth!”
People are hardly able to stand under the weight of price increases. Hunger and poverty spread like virus. Social unrest is growing within. Even the kings are defeated but Erdoğan continues defying this with all his arrogance.
* The Royal Game, Stefan Zweig