Where is this community?

Where is this community?

The word “cemaat” (community) circles around in Turkey whenever there is a debate on any topic whatsoever. It is by far one of the No. 1 actors in political crises.

There is a distinction between “from the community” and “not from the community” in the business world. The same goes for the education, justice, police and media sectors. The presence of the community and its power are mentioned everywhere.

How many are they? Who are they? What do they do? How do they live? How relevant is it that they are members of the community and the job they do, the position they occupy?

There are many theories, pieces of information and allegations to answer these questions; however, most of them are based on assumptions.

The reason they are based on assumptions is the members of the community do not openly announce their identity and stance.

Really? Why? What is there to conceal and hide?

Isn’t Feb. 28 over? Isn’t being a member of the community no longer a risk, but a “favored” position in this country?

[HH] A closed box
This obscurity confuses people, especially those who are not members of the community. The fact is opponents of the “cemaat” and those who have a critical eye toward them are eliminated one by one, that they are jailed without trial, that it is announced books are “as dangerous as bombs,” that the community is mostly discussed and interpreted by those who are not from the community. As experienced in the MİT (National Intelligence Organization) crisis, the word “cemaat” is not even mentioned once.

They all unavoidably trigger the paranoia of “The community is under every stone!”
The obscurity and opaque structure are sources of suspicion, especially for those who are not from the community.

Did the police stage an operation? Well, it must be the community.

A crisis going on in the MİT? It must be a clash between the government and the community.
New appointments are made in the university or justice system? It must be that the community has brought in its own guys.

Was there a new tender announced? Oooo, definitely, the guys from the community will win it.

The list goes on and on.

[HH] Paranoid environment
Members of the community and its sympathizers are generally uncomfortable with these generalizations. Due to the pointing of fingers at the community at every opportunity, at every incident, they label them saying, “They are from Ergenekon [gang]. They don’t want Turkey to change.”
In fact, from what I have seen and as far as I know, every sympathizer of the community is not a monster. I’m sure there are perfectly nice, honest people among them.

But, unless the members of the community openly say, “Hey, I am from the community. Ask me whatever you wish; let me try to answer,” as long as they are hidden under a curtain of fog except for a few spokesmen and experts, the polarization becomes more distinct, and anxiety increases.
In contrast with the positive things the community promises, the values it believes in, the “democratic country” it defends, an environment of fear and paranoia arises.

And this is exactly what we are experiencing today.

Mehveş Evin is a columnist for daily Milliyet in which this piece appeared on Feb. 15. It was translated into English by the Daily News staff.

MEHVEŞ EVİN - mehves.evin@milliyet.com.tr