Turkey is going through a great crisis, and is applying policies of oppression and violence as its way of overcoming the crisis. Anyone who has any kind of grasp of world political history will say that oppression and violence policies are often applied in case of a crisis, whereas in a climate in which no returns are achieved from this, fascistic procedures intervene. It is quite possible for us to use this determination as a starting point to interpret the Justice and Development Party (AKP) government’s belief that there is no choice for the whole of society but itself, and its attempts to render itself sovereign by means of all the state tools it holds in its hands.
I should note that there is a side to optimism, melancholy and denial that normalise methods of oppression and violence and rock one’s sense of reality. The need to preserve ourselves by keeping things we would rather not believe far from our agenda allows a broad arena for the oppressive policies of government, increases populist rumour and veils the truth.
For a long time now in just such a climate, Turkey has been trying to trample on the fluctuating reactions, and most importantly on the sense of uncertainty.
The fact that the main opposition and the five parties it has allied with have been unable to develop a policy to overturn this state of uncertainty renders the future of Turkey, as it approaches new elections, rather scary. As uncertainty, distrust of state institutions and question marks over the elections pile up on top of one another, a broad “anxiety disorder” is spreading rapidly like a virus.
Despite this, we can say that is virtually impossible for the administration to achieve returns from a policy that sentences society to despair. I am still not of the opinion that the insistence of those who hold power in their hands on turning this impossibility on its head, forcing the opposition to its will and suppressing the rising objections, will change anything.
A system based on oppression and violence cannot be rescued from the obsession of believing that it will be there for ever. This obsession veils the eyes of those running the government. The more the crisis of mismanagement deepens, the worse the political blindness gets. The AKP government is currently in the absolute darkness of total blindness.
That President RT Erdoğan, referring to the Gezi uprising of 2013 in which 10 million people took part, persisted in repeating lies that had been exposed, even inventing a new lie by saying, “they set fire to mosques”, and publicly subjected the millions who took part in the Gezi uprising to sexist abuse by calling them “sluts”, strongly indicates that the state of mind of the government he is in is really not good.
It is particularly worth pointing out that his statement, “they set fire to mosques” has a direct connection to provocations which have made their stamp on Turkish politics.
We need to remember that provocations directed at minorities like the pogrom of 6-7 September 1955, the Maraş massacres of 1978, the Sivas massacre of 1993 and many such similar massacres came about on the back of expressions of this kind, and also that these massacres not only changed the direction of Turkey’s politics, but also opened up deep wounds.
It is clear that the EU’s repeated statement, “we are concerned” at each of Turkey’s anti-democratic developments, far from putting the AKP/MHP (Nationalist Movement Party) coalition’s policies of oppression and violence into reverse, has become a ball and chain for the EU. All must now see that Turkey’s foreign policies are determined by provocative lines like the expression, “they burnt the mosques”, and also that it turns the slightest adverse reaction from the West into anti-infidel propaganda for use in its domestic policies.
The attack signals that Erdoğan is sending towards North and East Syria (Rojava) cannot be dealt with independently of this. Erdoğan, who uses every compromise the West makes to his policies of hostage-taking and blackmail in his “Great Leader” campaign, now desires to be granted a “victory”, to be won in the coming elections.
The things that Turkey wants in order to raise the barrier it has placed before Finland and Sweden joining NATO are not unknown, of course. Erdoğan plays quite openly, not feeling the need for the niceties of diplomacy, forcing them to grant him a victory by saying, “Your money or the Kurd’s life”. It is unclear whether this policy of blackmail will work or not, but Erdoğan is sure it will, and is pushing it.
Society in Turkey is preparing itself for radical change, but Erdoğan believes that he can suppress this.
We can say that both Turkey and the EU are at a turning point from this point of view.
It is quite clear that whatever it is that places its stamp on Turkey’s second century will also affect the whole of Europe.