How nearly 50 million Turks will ‘get the hell out of Turkey’

How nearly 50 million Turks will ‘get the hell out of Turkey’

Most useful idiots took it literally when Turkey’s then-emerging class of “reformist” (or post-modern) Islamists promised in their 2002 election manifesto that:  

“Our party [Justice and Development - AKP] views law not as a means to frighten or punish but as a means to provide justice.” The manifesto then promised “a state of law and a justice system in compliance with universal norms.” 

Then came the day when the post-Islamist leader, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, pledged to raise devout [Muslim] generations. Now, 13 years after the generous promise in AKP’s election manifesto, we more or less precisely know what “justice” means for power-greedy Islamists and what devout generations may look like. 

Justice, among countless other examples of extreme partisanism, is to prosecute, with an arrest warrant, an opponent because he says he does not view the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) as a terrorist organization. It is not to prosecute, citing freedom of expression, three pro-government men because they have said they do not view the PKK as a terrorist organization. Under the AKP’s Islamist “justice,” Turkish prosecutors are too close to the point of investigating whether a suspect is pro- or anti-government before taking any further legal proceedings.  

And the promised “devout generation” can one day be crowds of thugs, led by the colourful young AKP MP, Abdurrahim Boynukalın, that attack newspaper buildings and vow to beat journalists. It can be about feeling repentant for not having beaten journalists before. Another day it can be about hiring hitmen to beat columnists.  

Mr. Boynukalın, the former leader of the “AK [party’s] youth,” has hit the headlines once again, forcefully reminding the nation about the other things the AKP’s devout youth can be about. “These men,” he said in a speech, “Thought that they could swear at Muslim values … and that ‘no one can touch us.’ The AK Party’s youth removed that immunity three weeks ago” when the AKP’s youth attacked Hürriyet’s building in Istanbul and printers in Ankara.    

Three weeks ago, during the attack on Hürriyet, Mr. Boynukalın boldly exhibited some of the other features of a devout Muslim generation. He vowed that the Doğan media company, which owns Hurriyet, will “get the hell out of Turkey” when Erdoğan acquires additional executive powers “whatever the electoral outcome of Nov. 1 will be.” That could be a tough task.  

Apparently, Mr. Boynukalın’s – and the devout youth’s – democratic culture dictates an opposition-less country. But pushing nearly 50 million Turks who do not share his passion for President Erdoğan could present physical difficulties – unless, of course, Mr Boynukalın is thinking of building concentration camps or believes that, with God’s mercy, nearly 50 million bad Turks will perish overnight. 

Pity, Mr. Boynukalın’s brief political career was temporarily shelved when the AKP management did not put his name on the parliamentary candidate list for the Nov. 1 elections. He deserves better, and hopefully will get it one day. For instance, he could have been an ideal education minister, if not a future prime minister. 

All the same, Mr. Boynukalın is wrong about the prospects of nearly 50 million Turks “getting the hell out of Turkey.” Those “infidel” Turks do not have another homeland to go. But he can always take the jihad highway to join the al-Nusra Front, al-Qaeda’s Syrian franchise, a group he has publicly and passionately admired. But no, he would not do that. He loves al-Nusra and he loves his homeland, but he dislikes militarism: He avoided being military service by paying for an exemption.  

Mr. Boynukalın is not just Mr. Boynukalın. He is the typology of the devout youth Mr. Erdoğan passionately hopes to raise: Devout in rhetoric, militant in behavior, a part-time believer in democracy as a Muslim Brother could be, rigidly obedient to his sacrosanct supreme leader and a true patriot who “buys” his military service while weeping over our fallen soldiers.