The genie is out of the bottle

The genie is out of the bottle

Once upon a time, there was a country where fundamental norms of democratic governance were pushed aside to satisfy the ambitions of an absolute ruler. The supreme leader, who, like an opinionated mother-in-law, had an idea about everything and knew far better than anyone else about what to buy, what to sell and even how many kids a couple should have, was also very talented at making mountains of profit from investments that he might not even have made in the first place.

This great leader, a magician, was so successful that even though he had no money in his pockets and was compelled to ask for scholarships from businessmen friends to educate his children when he entered the business of public administration, he created miracles in less than two decades. Though at the height of his career, he did not feel ashamed to publicly complain during the visit of a foreign dignitary that the top executive’s salary was so little that he was unable to live on it, he indeed became one of the top 20 richest politicians in the world with his “unzeroable” assets of all sorts.

Once upon a time, in that same country of fraudulent politicians, a lady chief executive who spent less than a decade in top politics but managed to build huge businesses, farms and a seaside palace worth millions in any currency explained away her wealth as an inheritance from her mother, who was a primary school teacher. Well, primary school teachers must be earning rather extraordinarily well in that country. 

Another politician became very prosperous thanks to the gifts presented during the circumcision ceremony of his son. The people of that country were so clever, of course, that they accepted all such explanations as “reasonable” and never ever thought of any wrongdoing. If some had second thoughts, they were skillfully convinced by society anyhow that “the one who holds the honey pot licks his finger.”

The supreme leader had everything he wanted. He even made the country construct for him an imperial palace with more than 1,000 rooms, but he was not satisfied. He wanted to be officially declared the elected sultan if not the caliph of not only his not-so-small country but also of the entire neighborhood and even distant lands who shared the same politico-religious culture. Was he not the hero of the streets of the entire neighborhood? Why would he not be the capable leader to replace all those freaky, small, local politicians?

Would it not be in the best interest of his people and the others?

That sectarian obsession was not only difficult to achieve but also contradicted with the country’s long-established, fundamental “peace at home, peace abroad” foreign policy principle, but anyhow, that was the will of the all-powerful chief. What was a principle anyhow? What would happen if it were ignored once or twice? The climate of the neighborhood was believed to be spring. Hopes were high. Expectations were great.

Street after street, people were rebelling against their local administrators, some lynching once very powerful dictators in sewage canals while some were forcing former king-like rulers to flee somewhere else and abandon the government.

Yet, soon it was discovered that it was not spring but the hottest summer putting everything ablaze. Coupled with the agitating policies of the elected almighty leader aspiring to become the new caliph, the fire in the neighborhood spread and went out of control, driving millions of people to flee the devastation, not only to the country of the almighty leader, but also to some new regions, causing some in the world to wake up to the reality of how odd the developments indeed have been unfolding in that part of the world.

The almighty leader wanted very much to acquire a constitutional shield to protect himself, his family as well as his political clan from any claim of wrongdoing. Yet, he was so adamant in collecting all power in his hands that he demonized and declared as “terrorists” some old “comrades in arms” whom he accused of efforts to create “parallel governance” in the country. Indeed, it was he who created parallel governance ever since he elevated himself to the top executive position and left the government to a caretaker. Yet, as political opponents were dealt with and almost annihilated, the sultan believed he could take over the former partners and consolidate his firm grip on the country. He did not consider for one second that the embattled political opponents might embrace the “parallelists” and form a “democracy front” against him.

Curbs on the media gradually climbed to the dimension of brutally attacking and even physically occupying opposition media organizations… The absolute leader was constantly preaching how neighboring streets must be governed, how leaders of other streets should behave. He was always angry. When some foreign journalists wrote a joint declaration asking him to uphold the ideas of the freedom of the press, the supremacy of law and just elections and other such principles, he was enraged: “Those foreigners must mind their own business,” he intoned.

As is said, those living in glass houses should not throw stones. What will be the result of the elections in Turkey? Whatever they might be, Turkey will no longer be the Turkey of yesterday. The genie is out of the bottle.