Erdoğan’s discriminatory discourse
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan says: “I am a Sunni, Kemal [Kılıçdaroğlu, leader of main opposition Republican People’s Party CHP] is an Alevi, Selahattin [Demirtaş, the presidential candidate of Peoples’ Democratic Party] is Zaza.”
Erdoğan says: “Hey Kılıçdaroğlu; I say I am a Sunni; why can’t you say you are an Alevi?” He says to Demirtaş: “You say you are a Kurd, but you are a Zaza.”
A few days left to the elections, he is making his dives.
But he does all this in a very professional way. He introduces the elements that will hush those who would tell him “you are spreading sectarian and ethnic discrimination,” meticulously in his speech.
He says in the same speech:
“I respect Alevis. Just as I make my sect public, so should he.”
And then he adds:
“It was said in the past that people were afraid to say, ‘We are Alevi.’ Presently, there is no reason to be afraid of saying we are Alevi. Come out and say you are Alevi.”
He does not know that saying “We are afraid to say we are Alevi,” does not mean “we want to yell 24/7 that we are Alevi,” but it means, “We need a peace and a situation of brotherly ties where saying we are Alevi does not lead to any negative consequences.”
Or else, he pretends to not know it.
He cannot answer questions like, “Why would any Sunni say they are Sunni, why would any Alevi say they are Alevi or Zaza say they are Zaza during campaign rallies? What good does it make? What will come out of it?”
He does not answer, though he does know the answer very well.
I bet had he been an Alevi and Kılıçdaroğlu a Sunni, he would not have opened this sectarian subject. And those who would have opened it; he would have stormed against them, accusing them of discrimination.
And I also bet that had he been participating in politics in a society where Alevis were the majority, he would have done everything in his power to make people forget his “Sunni” identity.
And if he could not make it forget, then he would have talked sweetly, saying, “Being a Sunni or Alevi is not important, my brothers. Our God is one, our book is one, are prophet is one ... We are all Muslims.”
But no; at this stage there is no need for such expressions. And Erdoğan is acutely aware of that.
He is very much aware of how it is comfortable to lay your back on a majority...
He is very much aware that when he says “Kemal is an Alevi,” this sentence will be understood by the Sunni majority as “If we vote for Kemal we would be damned.”
When he says “Selahattin is not a Kurd, he is Zaza,” he is very much aware of the kind of questions this sentence will create among Zazas and Kurds.
He is also aware this type of discrimination he is using will be sent to the garden of the forgotten after the election, following a balcony speech when he says “We are endorsing all of the 75 million people.”
What he wants is this:
A week before the elections, he wants everyone to declare theirs sect and ethnic background and votes are cast according to that.
That’s why he has been talking about sects and ethnic backgrounds during the last week of electoral campaign. The slogan is clear.
“It doesn’t matter whether there are sectarian or ethnic divisions, all I want is one more vote.”
In short, he is saying “what’s important is to get one more vote.”
The answer is ready to those who would say, “You are doing something wrong.”
“What do you mean, what mistake ... Don’t you see I get one more vote. As the nation supports me, there is nothing wrong...”
He thinks he will be vindicated by the votes given to him by the majority. He is not aware that being right has nothing to do with the majority.
In an area where Sunnis are chopping off the heads of the Alevis; where Alevis have grudges against Sunnis, where Kurds hit at the Arabs and Arabs hit at the Kurds; where sectarian and ethnic wars go full swing, where chopping off heads has become a national sport, where mosques are demolished with ceremonies, where shrines are bombed with ceremonies, where internal wars became part of the routine; a favorite presidential hopeful of a country that is being tried to be pulled into trouble, using the ethnic and sectarian card just to secure one more vote. He does not refrain from discrimination just to get one more vote.
There is only one thing to be said against this dangerous game:
“May God protect this nation with its Turks, Kurds, Alevis and Sunnis...”