Stable Turkey: Enjoy every minute!

Stable Turkey: Enjoy every minute!

On June 7, 2015 Turks went to the ballot boxes and deprived the ruling party, the Justice and Development (AKP), of its parliamentary majority for the first time since it came to power in November 2002. The next day Burhan Kuzu, today an MP and presidential advisor - and then a senior AKP member - said “The nation has chosen chaos. Now enjoy it.” Hence the AKP’s slogan, “Vote for Stability!” for the subsequent re-elections on Nov. 1. In October, then Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu said “Peace and stability are our primary vision.” A day before the Nov. 1 election, he predicted that “Turkey will vote for stability.” He was – kind of - right. 

Since Turkey “voted for stability” it has been competing with Syria, Iraq and Pakistan – if not Afghanistan - in terms of casualties in terror attacks and the amount of blood spilled – except that there have not been coup attempts in Syria, Iraq, Pakistan or Afghanistan, at least since Nov. 1. 

This is Turkey’s “new stability”: A stable decline into dystopian terrain.

Only in a dystopia could one imagine a government investigating people, on terror charges, because their cars have number plates featuring the letters “FG” – an alleged reference to Fethullah Gülen, the leader of the terror organization that masterminded the July 15 putsch attempt. 

In Turkey, like elsewhere, motorists often do not have the luxury to choose the letters on their vehicles’ number plates – the traffic police registry department decides on number plates, often randomly. 

Ironically, this columnist’s Vespa has number plates with the letters “AK,” which should, by the same logic, prove his loyalty to the AKP. Funny that the AKP bigwigs now believe they can detect and nail crypto Gülenist terrorists from car number plates - a task that the mighty Turkish state’s intelligence capabilities have failed to perform. 

Only in a dystopian land could one imagine the government releasing tens of thousands of criminals in order to make room in prisons for the tens of thousands of officials, academics, journalists and businessmen suspected of having links with the failed coup of July 15. As a friend wrote, “We wish the government would empty lunatic asylums and place therein [some government members]. The bunch they would have released might run the country better!”

What better irony could a dystopian state create than going after civil servants for meticulously following orders from the same dystopian state? 

In 2003, the AKP government’s then foreign minister [and later president] Abdullah Gül, with then Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s passionate nod, sent a decree to all Turkish diplomatic missions abroad, ordering them to support Turkish schools in their respective countries operated by then His Majesty Mr. Gülen “the Hocaefendi.” In other words, the AKP ordered Turkish diplomats to support a terrorist organization. In other words, it took the AKP government 11 years to annul that decree. Eleven years!

And 13 years after ordering its diplomats to support the Gülen schools abroad, the Foreign Ministry called on around 300 diplomats serving at missions abroad to return to the country as part of an investigation into the Gülenist terror organization. News reports say that diplomats who are found to have had liaisons with the Gülenist organization will be laid off. 

In other words, the Foreign Ministry is telling its personnel: “You will be fired if you followed our orders when we sent you that decree.” Ironically, some diplomats may have been posted to “unpleasant” missions or even have been suspended for not passionately supporting the then-charity-and-now-terrorist Gülen schools at the time. 

Yesterday’s “terrorist” diplomats vs. today’s “terrorist” diplomats… Only in dystopian lands could one observe such tragi-comic governance.