Uludere and politics as a conspiracy
Uludere was a terrible event and has been a controversial issue from the beginning. Now, there is a new controversy concerning U.S. involvement in intelligence which led to the bombardment of 34 civilians, as a report leaked to the Wall Street Journal states that the initial intelligence originated from an American Predator drone.
Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reportedly thinks that “this news is meant to make life difficult for the current [U.S.] government.” One may think that this news actually made life difficult for the present government in Turkey. Nevertheless, since the present government does not care much about “accountability,” it is understandable for Erdoğan to be more concerned about the present U.S. government.
Government circles and the prime minister were quick to denounce the news not because they intended to shoulder the whole responsibility and clear their U.S. ally from any sort of involvement. On the contrary, they were trying to avoid any further scrutiny of the event and hinder any possibility of an apology. In fact, this is not the whole story; pro-government circles believe that the plot is more complex and that all “evil forces” are involved. It is thought to be the joint operation of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), the Israeli lobby and their American friends who are trying to hinder the sale of U.S. Predators to Turkey. Nobody can rule out the role of political lobbies in such controversial issues, but political thinking and conspiracy-mindedness are, and should be, different things. Otherwise, it is “crazy politics” are destined to follow.
The Kurdish policies of the present government seem to be following this path. Since Erdoğan and the government never want to question their policies and never tolerate anybody questioning their moves, any failure of government policy is thought to be either the responsibility of others or a conspiracy against them. This understanding of politics is doomed to fail to achieve any sensible advance in the way of solving the Kurdish problem. Besides, it is rather awkward to be over-skeptical concerning the political motives of not only Turkey’s “enemies” but also its “friends.” So much so that the U.S. is, on one hand, being portrayed as a friend whose support is crucial and, on the other, as the center of “fıtna.”
It is often the Israeli lobby which is seen as the center of the plot, but pro-government journalist do not hesitate to define the U.S. as “the mastermind” of the plot against Turkey along with the PKK, “the deep state” and Israel. The discourse of “global Ergenekon” is nothing other than the grand return of the ultranationalist motto of “Turks have no friends but Turks” (Türkün Türkten başka dostu yoktur). Accusing all sources of the opposition to be internal extensions of the external enemies of Turkey is nothing other than banal expressions of authoritarian populism.
It is very alarming to observe that politics in Turkey have regressed to such levels of conspiratorialism, skepticism and self-righteousness, which will lead to more authoritarian politics and will create more problems rather than solve the existing ones.