Turkey: Discover the power!

Turkey: Discover the power!

In 2014, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan suggested that a more suitable PR slogan for Turkey should be “Discover the Power,” instead of “Discover the Potential,” which was recommended by the country’s union of exporters. So, discover the power – in a few lines of facts. In the same year, 9.2 percent of Turkish women could not read or write exhibiting an illiteracy rate five times higher than Turkish men.

Turkey is where 76 percent of people do not wish to be neighbors with someone who would support a political party other than the one they support; where 83 percent would oppose their daughters marrying someone supporting a party “distant” to their ideology. 

Unsurprisingly, Turkey recently featured a man who filed a criminal complaint against his wife over insulting President Erdoğan. “I would file a criminal complaint even if I had a father insulting and swearing at the president,” Ali D., the husband, was quoted as saying in the pro-government Yeni Şafak daily.

Turkey is where the interior minister, after four suicide bombs killed nearly 200 people in a span of seven months, boasts that the security forces thwarted 18 suicide bomb attacks in two months. It’s where people do not know whether they should be happy for so many unsuccessful bomb attacks or be sorry for the loss of life – or that so many different groups are dedicated to terrorizing their lives. 

Turkey is where the government has been systematically supporting “moderate” groups –the shy wording chosen to avoid the more realistic label “less violent jihadists” – in the bloody war in a neighboring country. Some of the “moderate” groups were present at a meeting in Ankara. Their flags featured such moderate names as the “Islamic Army” and the “Army of Mujahedeen (the “Army of Jihadists”). 

Keep discovering Turkey -- the power. Turkey is where the Directorate of Religious Affairs (Diyanet) enjoys an annual budget bigger than the budgets of a dozen ministries combined. One of Diyanet’s most recent fatwas (religious jurisprudence) includes that Muslims should stay away from listening to songs that may arouse sexual desire. It is the same government department that recently banned a “rocker imam,” known by his band “Rock N Imam,” from appearing at a concert in Portugal. Songs arousing sexual desire and an imam’s rock concert in Europe have been averted with God’s will; Turkey can now boast a sin-free Muslim country where one in every seven girls becomes child brides. Hence, Turkey’s ranking of 125 out of 142 countries in gender equality (according to UNICEF), or of 130 out of 145 (according to the World Economic Forum). And hence, Mr. Erdoğan’s pledge to not follow “Western standards” of gender equality. (Turkey proudly boasts, also, that only 2.9 percent of its mayors and 1.1 percent of its employers are women).

Keep discovering the power. Turkey boasts –most probably– the world’s most insulted president. Justice Minister Bekir Bozdağ has said the number of cases awaiting prosecution for “insulting” President Erdoğan has reached 1,845…since he was elected about a year and half earlier. Why, really, does Mr. Erdoğan, hold the title of being the world’s most insulted president? If insulting any president is a Turkish pastime, why did the previous presidents not have a similar record? Does Mr. Erdoğan ever think why do so many Turks tend to “insult” him? 

Not just that. Turkey –keep discovering the power– boasts an average four murders a day, up 261 percent from 14 years ago. Not just that either: In the same period when “good Muslims” have been ruling, prostitution rose by 790 percent, sexual harassment by 449 percent, sexual abuse of minors by 434 percent and drug addiction by 628 percent (according to the main opposition leader, Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu). 

Keep discovering the power.