Swindlers and the swindled in Turkey

Swindlers and the swindled in Turkey

What an interesting society Turks are. Sülün Osman was a famous Turkish swindler of the 1950s and 1960s. He was reported to have “sold” many of the landmarks of Istanbul to newcomer Anatolian peasants during those decades of “gold rush” from rural to urban. It was with his stories, films and plays on his life and “great accomplishments” that many generations in Turkey have grown up with.

Imagine, a clever guy in his twenties makes good money first by selling many people eye glasses that he has reportedly claimed show other people nude once they are worn. Why would one want to see all other people nude? That’s a nice and philosophical question but the answer is rather simple: Sheer sexual perverseness I would say. A psychiatrist might say sexual obsession or something else. If hundreds of people buy such glasses, obviously it might be said they have a serious social mental condition. Such a situation should tell something not only to psychiatrists and social scientists but perhaps to the political authority of the country as well.

If such a horrible and disgusting act of cheating can be given impunity, worse might follow. That’s indeed what has happened. The same boy launched “Farm Bank” in 2016, collected millions of dollars from “investors” and one day vanished to Uruguay. There was indeed a farm, established with a soft loan provided by the Agriculture Ministry. However, neither the sheep, nor the cattle people assumed to have bought and believed the “Farm Bank” guy would take care of them on their behalf were all products of a genius mind that developed excellence in cheating.

Of course Turkey started working on a dossier for his extradition and would perhaps soon ask Uruguay to extradite the criminal boy. How? Is there an agreement of judicial cooperation? Is there an agreement facilitating extradition of criminals between Turkey and Uruguay? There are many questions that require an answer from Turkish authorities.

Was that all? Unfortunately, not. The perfect mindset of the Turkish society, or at least a section of the Turkish society became clearer when it was reported that 1,600 people were swindled by someone who claimed: “If you pay me 500 Turkish Liras [to cover my expenses], I can save your money that was swindled by Farm Bank.” It’s really unimaginable that 1,600 people each gave that unknown man 500 liras to save their money and lost that as well.

Turks are indeed very interesting and perhaps a society that is too easy to fool. I am no different. A journalist colleague promising to construct summer houses for journalists had collected a huge amount of money over a three-year period. He did not buy any land. He had no plans to construct the summer houses. Yet, every other month he sent pictures of land on the seaside and the alleged plans for the summer houses and such.

It was too late once we all discovered those small amounts of monthly payments that we indeed ignored had exceeded 70,000 liras in total. Were we all gullible enough to be fooled by a colleague? As in all segments of society, there are swindlers among journalists, as we have learned the hard way. Now, the court case is continuing against him.

Albert Einstein is often quoted to have said “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” Since Turkish society is very scientific and sees everything with its eyes wide shut, there is no doubt about whether Turks have a lame religious understanding. Turks are of course not fatalists and try to solve all their problems by reasoning through science and conviction.

All the “intelligent choice” produced by the polling booths reflect what a great capacity the democracy-devoted nation has. Science without religion or religion ignoring science might be problematic, but what about fact, fiction, realty and virtually everything shaped or decided from the very same source? How is it that we have developed so many Sülün Osmans in this society?

Yusuf Kanlı, hdn, opinion, Turkey