Erdoğan: Shaken but not stirred

Erdoğan: Shaken but not stirred

It is not surprising at all that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has officially declared war on half the population of the country he rules. Before May 31, he was only at an increasingly less silent war with the same people, a war that very much resembled the medieval inquisition: Either you convert to what we think is the correct religious practice, or you will dearly pay for it -- in poverty, in misery, in jail or in your grave. That, he thought, was an offer the “not-Muslim-enough Turks” could not refuse. They proudly refused the offer.

Meanwhile, this new stage of the war – the level just before civil war – has unveiled all the known dynamics of how the Islamist mind works. A quick compilation of the list of culprits for the now month-long Turkish unrest as uttered by official Turkey will reveal, also, the list of the usual enemies your Turkish Islamist would mentally harbor but not always reveal: The West (because they are enemies of Islam), foreign powers (because they are enemies of Islam and always conspire against Turkey), the interest rate lobby (because earning interest revenue is a sin unless we name it otherwise, e.g. “income-sharing dividends”), financiers (because they are crypto-Zionists), bankers (see financiers), stock market speculators (see financiers and bankers), Kemalists (because they are the biggest enemies of Islam), the drunkards (because drinking is a sin), leftists (because they are infidels), Jews (just because they are Jews) and the Shia (because they are perverts who masquerade as Muslims).

Mr. Erdoğan may be thinking that he is the God-sent Messiah to show the way to Sunni Turks and hoard the secular and non-Sunni Muslims towards the path of Allah. He may be thinking that every means is justified in this holy mission including lies, slander, dishonesty, even killing; the holiness of the mission justifies every unholy act. He probably thinks that with the democratic choice of one half of Turks he has every right to make the other half an offer they cannot refuse.

Hence, sadly, half the Turkish population is facing a post-modern inquisition. The next level in the war might bring back dark memories from Turkey in the 1970s: people killing each other because of the way they dress, the way men trim their mustache, the newspaper they read, the neighborhood they live in, the songs they love, or the coffee shop they attend. Remember that a dozen Turks were killed by other Turks on the Turkish Street every day just because the Turks felt compelled to make an offer the other Turks could not refuse: Convert or die.

That would certainly not be the Turkey Mr. Erdoğan dreams of. He thought he could Islamize the not-yet-sufficiently-Islamized Turkey by creeping indoctrination based on reward and punishment. Too bad, he has only partly succeeded. Now he has a big problem with millions of Turks who refuse the offer and stand against the Sultan’s post-modern inquisition. Mr. Erdoğan knows that he would not be the winner if the next level of the war makes a time machine-propelled journey back to the 1970s, or if the untamed Turks generated the first ever large Turkish political diaspora in history.

This is a losing war for Mr. Erdoğan. Not because he is doomed to lose power in the foreseeable future, but simply because his ambitions for the post-modern Turkish inquisition are beyond even his powers. Too sad, he won’t see in his lifetime a 100 percent, all-too-pure, religiously aryan Turkish Sunni population that dominates not only the Muslim world but also half the world. The trouble about mortals who have too big ambitions is that they are mortals and their ambitions are too big.