The American “visa embargo” as the Turks perceive it, further strained Turkish American relations already troubled with issues related to Iraqi and Syrian Kurdish developments along with the presence of an Islamist mullah in the United States, whom Ankara believes to have masterminded the July 15, 2016 coup attempt. Why did Turkey arrest and accuse a Turk employed at the U.S. Consulate in Istanbul for involvement in the 2016 coup? Why are the second and allegedly third Turkish personnel of the American mission said to have been placed on the wanted list?
Particularly, since the arrested Turk working for the U.S. consulate was a liaison in drug trafficking and security issues between the Istanbul police and the consulate for more than 20 years, could it be a new invention that he might have some connection with the Fethullah Gülen gang? Weren’t the police, particularly the police intelligence, contaminated up to the neck with that gang until yesterday?
Something nasty is evolving. Tensions with the U.S. are pushing the dollar and euro exchange rates up. Tomorrow, interest rates will start climbing as well. Inflation has already hit two-digit figures. Can Turkey escape an economic and financial crisis just by raising taxes while continuing extravagant “prestige expenditures”?
In 2015, I was at Stanford University in San Francisco. I was to speak on “Political Islam, jihadism, the Muslim brotherhood and Turkey’s AKP (Justice and Development Party)” at the Biannual World Association of International Studies Conference. It was a very sad day. Because of the time difference, by the time I was in the packed conference room, terrible photographs were pouring in from my friends about the tragedy, the carnage in front of the Ankara Railway Terminal. Some terrorists organized the wildest heinous attack on a group gathered for peace. Some 102 people perished, scores were seriously wounded and condemned to carry the scars of the attack for the rest of their lives.
Who staged the attack? What was the aim they had wanted to achieve with such carnage? How many people lost their lives in between the June and November elections that year? Everyone has tons of answers to questions like these, including political assumptions reflecting the post-June 2015 election trauma. Instability of all sorts has become a very serious concern for the Turkish people ever since the 1999 earthquake, the consequent 2001-2002 political quakes and a terrible three-way coalition government badly administered during that period.
At my presentation at Stanford, I remember to have underlined my conviction that in democracies, coming to power through elections is nothing but a routine, stressing that only in democracies, governments come and go through elections and that must be respected. Should Turkey have avoided the first coup in 1908, or if we have to concentrate on the Republican period, in 1960, perhaps many of the problems related to democratic governance would have been resolved by now. Turks can tolerate anything but instability…
Some say there has been an unfinished fight between the Ottomanists and the Islamists and the republicans, secularists and Kemalists, going as far as the very early days of the foundation of the republic. Is it so? Now, has come the time for revenge…
Turkey must of course achieve transformation and change of government through democratic elections. This putschist illness this country has inherited from the Ottomans and tradition as well as the revanchist Islamist mentality needs to be cured.