Collective schizophrenia in Turkey

Collective schizophrenia in Turkey

If countries were human beings and could be put to a therapist’s chair, Turkey would probably be sent to a clinic instead of being prescribed regular sessions. Before one overcomes the shock from one absurdity, one would be showered by five more (often heavier) blows.

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç’s recent remarks that “There is no racism in Turkey” and “When we look at Europe and other countries we see how far behind us they are and we feel really sorry” sounded rather like a Saudi prince saying “There is no gender discrimination in the Kingdom” or “When we look at Europe and other countries we see how far behind us they are in gender equality and we feel sorry.”

In a country where Hitler is almost as popular and publicly praised as he used to be in Germany eight decades ago, (while minors get prosecuted for insulting the president), and polls reveal extremely xenophobic trends Mr. Arınç prefers not to see what has become a Turkish pastime.

True, in democracies individuals have a right to say whatever they want at the expense of sounding weird. But apparently there is a tendency in Turkey to abuse that right.

Why, otherwise, would the vice president of an NGO promoting women’s rights recommend that male children inherit more than their female siblings? That is precisely what Sümeyye Erdoğan, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s daughter and the vice president of the Woman and Democracy Association (KADEM), said in a recent speech.

Ms. Erdoğan rejects any link between Islam and gender inequality in most Muslim countries. But how does she justify the inequality between the two sexes when it comes to inheritance, in light of the Muslim holy book that commands that “God decrees a will for the benefit of your children; the male gets twice the share of the female”?

Simple. Ms. Erdoğan, the promoter of women’s rights, said the following: “[People question] why more inheritance goes to the male child and less to the female. When we analyze this, we see that this is because the male child is given the responsibility to earn [a family’s] living. So naturally it is only natural and fair that the male child inherits more.” But what if the male and female children of the family decide not to marry and take the responsibility to earn a family’s living? What if the male child prefers to spend his money on gambling while his widow sister has to raise four children?

Then there is the curious case of Etyen Mahçupyan, Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu’s chief advisor who has said he “feels more Ottoman than Armenian” – explaining why he occupies the seat he occupies.

Hats off to Mr. Mahçupyan for admitting, in a recent speech in Gent, Belgium, that Turkey is not a democracy and it never has been. Instead, he said, it is simply democratizing itself. His boss, who claims that Turkey is an “advanced democracy,” needs an explanation.

But beyond that little disagreement, Mr. Mahçupyan’s other remarks that “70 percent of AKP supporters are aware that there is corruption,” and that “[they vote for AKP] because they prefer corruption to a coup d’etat” is more than problematic. Mr. Mahçupyan admits that the AKP is corrupt, but apparently thinks there would be a coup d’etat if Turkey is not ruled by the AKP. Or he thinks that the AKP’s supporters think if its corrupt rule ends it would amount to a coup.

These are not signs of a sober analysis. Why would it be a coup if voters pushed a corrupt government from power?

How bizarre! Turkey is an advanced democracy and at the same time it is not a democracy. Fortunately, there is no racism in Turkey, but Google produces 12.2 million results if one types “Turkey” and “racism.” Meanwhile, Turkey’s pro-women’s rights NGO thinks female children should inherit less than their male siblings.

Clinical psychiatry at once, please!