Shakespeare, Chekhov and Dario Fo’s links to Gülen

Shakespeare, Chekhov and Dario Fo’s links to Gülen

There is a story that the State Theaters will only stage local plays this season. Even though this would be very difficult practically and technically, along with the fact that the Culture Ministry has said, “This does not mean that foreign plays will not be staged,” I could not understand how this decision would contribute to the “spirit of national mobilization” we are currently experiencing.

Hey, what do you want from foreign plays? I mean, is Dario Fo the assigned “imam” for comedies of the “Fetullahist Terrorist Organization (FETÖ)?” Did any of the soldiers of King Lear infiltrate the Turkish Armed Forces and plot a coup d’état? Is it Anton Chekhov who allocated the “Cherry Orchard” as a plot of land for the FETÖ school? Were “the three sisters” actually the hierarchical sisters in the organization of the Gülen Community? 

If the aim is to select most of the plays from local writers to make theater more popular and draw more spectators, as far as I know, the sponsored private theaters do not have any issue about drawing more viewers. They actually have an issue of not being able to find halls to stage their plays. 

Reporting from the heart of elitism 

Nowadays, the term “the elites of the republic” is being heard frequently. This is the new soup du jour of those who dislike Atatürk.  

You would think that Mustafa Kemal was born in a mansion and drove a Porsche to the military school. He ate caviar for breakfast and when the weather got too warm in Thessalonica, he would take a dip in the swimming pool of his villa. Then he saved the country with the help of his father and became the founder leader thanks to his uncle’s connections. 

“Elite” means the leading, most successful, best and most select of a group, profession or sector. For instance, elite schools are the best schools that give the best education. They do not need to be expensive.

For instance, in the past, the Science High Schools, the Anatolian Highs Schools would draw all the elite students. These students were the intellectually elite students of Turkey, not the richest. 

Of course, I’m talking about those good old times when exams were conducted justly. In those systems where equal opportunities are provided and where competence is the criteria for promotion, elite individuals or institutions are the most successful, intelligent, hardworking and efficient. Being elite is not like possessing a designer bag as some half-wits think. It is a reputation earned justly. 

Except for the headscarf ban in universities, the republican era that frequently is attacked has offered more or less equal opportunities. For instance, a citizen born in a poor village or poor neighborhood was able to attend free-of-charge state schools and could become a CEO, a professor, a prime minister and even the president. Not because they belonged to a social class or had fortune; it was only due to being an elite in intelligence and performance. Mustafa Kemal Atatürk was an orphan from Thessaloniki; Recep Tayyip Erdoğan was from a modest family and neighborhood.  

This went on for long years. For instance, when I grew up, elite minds went to elite schools because entrance exam questions were not given to anybody beforehand. 

We have reached this level thanks to those founding leaders, politicians, doctors, artists and businesspeople who have worked hard for their positions. The “elite” they use in the negative meaning is the “privileged minority,” without any special intelligence, knowledge and skill, but who have grabbed a position with nepotism and cronyism because they belong to a group, a power center; for instance, a member of the royal family; for instance, FETÖ.

To those who call me a member of the elite, yes, I am an elite but not in the privileged sense. I attended good state schools by passing the entrance exams, started working at 19 and have been working ever since. What I do and what I produce is visible. 

But we saw the negative meaning of “privileged elites” on July 15. I guess many of them have fled the country…