It is beyond politics

It is beyond politics

What has been happening in Turkey recently is no longer a matter of political criticism and disagreement, it is now simply a matter of despair and sorrow. It is beyond politics. It is no longer a matter of rights and wrongs but a matter of the survival of sanity and emotional wellbeing, which are under serious threat. We should acknowledge that this is beyond politics. 

Even if I were not an observer of politics and a long-term politically engaged citizen, I would find it difficult to survive the challenges of the times, which go beyond politics. Most recently, a group of mob attacked the funeral of the mother of Kurdish issue-focused Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) deputy Aysel Tuğluk. Tuğluk was condemned as a terrorist and the burial of her mother in a cemetery in Ankara was objected to by the group. Eventually, the old woman’s body had to be removed from her grave and sent to the city of her birth, Tunceli, which is a stronghold of Alevis and Kurds. 

I have known Aysel Tuğluk for almost 20 years, and although there are many points of political disagreement between us, I have always thought she deserves respect for her political determination and her critical mind. A tough woman who survived many political setbacks, including the death of her brother in prison after the 1980 military coup, she was unable to talk when I phoned her (while she was given permission to be outside of prison for two days) right after the terrible event. After so many political difficulties that I have experienced, it was a huge challenge for me to hear her trembling voice on the other end of the line. 

All this goes beyond politics, beyond rights and wrongs. It is simply a matter of humanity. If a society loses its sense of basic human values, the rest is mere triviality. The loss of values is the most frightening thing to happen in any human community. Death is the ultimate reminder of equality among human beings, revealing all differences as trivial. So the loss of a loved one is the ultimate matter of compassion. It is terrifying to know about the existence of people who care for nothing other than their so-called political convictions in such a moment. This can only promise a very dark future for any society. It goes beyond politics, and unless it is acknowledged as such by all segments of society, only tragedies will follow it. 

Finally, it is at least a sign of hope that the ruling party condemned the attack as well as the opposition. But still I am not sure if all feel and understand the real threat to society as a whole. The current state of affairs not only signals further threats for Kurds, Alevis and political dissidents, it also shows that at the end of the day no party, no political circle, or even the strongest leader, can govern the cruelty and mindlessness of the mob mentality. And indeed we may not be far away from that end of the day. 

It is beyond politics.