The winner loses all

The winner loses all

As opposed to Graham Greene’s 1955 novella “Loser Takes All,” in Turkey, six decades later, it appears that the “winner loses all.” On the night of June 7, the winners will win again. All the same, as always, they will be tense – probably even tenser than before. They will cheer victoriously but they will look pensive and unhappy. They will be angry, ready to pick a fight with any phantom that they imagine is their enemy. If they are forced into a fragile government they will start hunting the enemies within. 

In vain, they will keep trying to build a fake country: Sin-free and dry. They won’t find peace until they make the other half of Turkey exactly the same as the half they command, control, and manipulate with holy books in their hands and holy words in their mouths: Ostensibly sin-free, so boringly dry, and privately full of sin. 

“Having” one half of the country will not satisfy them, so long as the other half continues to smartly mock and passionately hate them. They know that they will look so miserably funny to one half of Turkey and probably the rest of the democratic world. They will remain the bad joke that they have always been, like a fountain constantly irrigating a pool of powerful black humor. They will get angrier. And look more amusing. Until they get even angrier. 

We in the not-so-dry half of the country will keep drinking to their health! We will smile and remind each other that Orson Wells was at least partly right when he said that “Popularity should be no scale for the election of politicians. If it depended on popularity, Donald Duck and The Muppets would take seats in senate.” And we will laugh at the Turkish Muppets, carefully avoiding calling their leader Donald Duck in order not to insult their leader - or Donald Duck. 

We will recall some of the best quotes of the founder of political Islam in Turkey, the late Necmettin Erbakan, who once declared that all those who did not vote for his party were from the “religion of potatoes.” 

Then we will recall how one week before the June 7 election a Muslim cleric, in a public speech, claimed that the Prophet Muhammad bestowed upon Ahmet Davutoğlu the prime minister’s seat. We will privately wonder what the prime minister, a devout Muslim, must have made of his “alleged relationship” with the Prophet – a great sin in every school of Islamic faith.  

We will recall the playboy/actor/model-turned-Islamist who said a Muslim could not vote for Turkey’s main opposition party - the same man who also wished “May God take from my life and add to [President Recep Tayyip] Erdoğan’s.” We will smile and drink to their health – both the playboy/actor/model-turned-Islamist and the president. We will always remain grateful to them for giving us so much laughter. 

And they will get angrier. Angry like the father who is proud of his devout but not-so-bright son but unhappy with the good boy’s maverick brother - his own son who he privately hates. The rebel boy who mocks both his father and his obedient brother. The willing black sheep of the family. That ungrateful son whom the father cannot kick out of the family home…

They will be the victors. Unhappy and angry victors. For that, they will hate one half of their country even more. And they will be hated by the same half even more. Privately, they will know that the loyalty of the good half would quickly fade on the day that the lira started to trade at five against the dollar and seven against the euro, from 2.5 and three the previous day. They will be shocked to see other devout men rushing from one rally to another, with holy books in their hands and holy words in their mouths, declaring war on their former comrades in arms. 

They are the winners who lose all.