Turkey’s Increasing Syrianization — Politurco.com

In Turkey, everything loses its value on every passing day under the Erdogan regime. Legislative, executive and judiciary branches of governance are extremely eroded and abandoned to self-destruct. With the critical dysfunction of the separation of powers, things fall apart. What has been happening in Turkey recently obviously shows how the country suffers greatly from the bad governance of the incumbent Erdogan regime.

In addition to all this, Erdogan and his regime have started to occupy the agenda and the political spheres in other countries. Germany’s Merkel is one of the strongest leaders of the world and even though she rules the country almost perfectly, she was challenged by the opposition with the claim of being lenient against the Erdogan regime in the face of the gross human rights violations in Turkey. Even though Merkel and the EU know everything about Turkey and the severe violations of human rights perpetrated by the Erdogan regime, they say almost nothing about but dry criticisms.

Turkey with the Erdogan regime accelerates towards the cliff and the result of this ride will not only be fatal but also for the region. It seems the EU deals with the Erdogan regime by repeating the mistakes it make while dealing with the Assad regime. Erdogan-led Turkey made the Western powers believe that the Assad regime was in the throes of collapse and that an intervention would speed up the process. Hence, a coalition of powers interfered with Syria to take the Assad regime down. Since 2011, Syria has been extensively destroyed but the Assad regime remains strongly entrenched. Despite this, the EU meets and greets the Erdogan regime, holds official meetings and keeps largely silent against the human rights violations in Turkey, seemingly thinking that the Erdogan regime will soon be meeting its end due to bad governance and that if not, a slight impetus may help to take him down when necessary. Erdogan used to do the same with the Assad regime. Erdogan and Assad used to organize ministerial meetings between the cabinets of the both countries and went on holidays together shortly before the eruption of the civil war. Erdogan who wanted to topple Assad years before now treads Assad’s path and built strong relations with Assad’s friends, namely Russia, Iran and China. One can see the shift of political paradigm and the U-turn of the Erdogan regime running a NATO country.

God knows when the West will look in Erdogan’s eyes and say it frankly, but the time they deem as the best may be the most likely when all has already been said and done. What’s more, this time the EU may even find itself inside the very mire it has so far managed to keep at bay.

The things that might happen in years in any other country are now happening in Turkey daily or in no later than a week. For instance, the last week in Turkey witnessed Erdogan sacking the head of the Central Bank and the head over heels plunge of the Turkish lira in international markets. Within the same week, Erdogan signed an executive decree on A4-size printed sheet and withdrew Turkey from the Istanbul Convention without consulting with the Parliament. While the US Administration and the European Parliament were just contented to condemn the Erdogan regime for that swift move, an opposition member of the Turkish Grand National Assembly was arrested by the regime-tutored police at the Assembly premises after he was illegitimately stripped off his MP status by the ruling party-majority parliament. A young prominent bioengineering professor who was dismissed by the Erdogan regime via a statutory decree lost his life at a construction site when a crane broke and crushed him. While inadequate academics get appointed as university rectors in Turkey, the most successful academics — following the revocation of their teaching licenses and the usurpation of their professional and citizenship rights — are condemned to work under tough conditions for making their living in return for meager wages. Actually Turkey dies each time when an academic is silenced and when a woman or a child is subjected to violence and abuse under the Erdogan regime.

Turkey is not any more a normal country where the institutions and the check-and-balance systems function. If the head of the so-called autonomous Central Bank is to be dismissed, it is Erdogan who decides for that; if he believes it is unnecessary for Turkey to ratify a treaty or international convention, he simply signs to withdraw from them all. In the wake of the intense criticism against Turkey’s withdrawal from the Istanbul Convention, the speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly said Erdogan had the right to decide anything about the country so much so that if he wanted the country to de-ratify the Montreux Convention, he could sign an A4 sheet and let that happen. See the pomp and might and — as the Turkish ultranationalist political slogan goes — “Tremble and come to yourself!” Not only the leader behaves irresponsibly by taking spur-of-the-moment decisions, also the speaker of the Turkish Grand National Assembly — which has unfortunately been reduced to the function of a rubber stamp in the wake of the July 15, 2016 coup attempt — heedlessly endorses him. No wonder, no one else except the US and the EU (oh, possibly the Russian Federation too and should I say China as well?) will be surprised if the Erdogan regime wakes up one morning and declares, “We have withdrawn from the NATO”.

No one cares about Turkey and what goes on in my beautiful country. People are trapped in Turkey by the Erdogan regime and are unable to do anything. The West cares only about Erdogan’s feasibility and malleability but not his human rights violations. Most devastatingly, the opposition parties in Turkey simply watch and tirade while Turkey gets pushed to the edge of an abyss. The culture of fear permeating every nerve and fiber of the society petrify the masses despite immense discontent. The Erdogan regime silenced all free media outlets and severed the possible ways of communication among people so that they should be manipulated easily. A substantial portion of the population in Turkey either are incapable of thinking what is right for them or simply stand by and watch the events thinking the disaster will not strike them.

In the first year of the Syrian civil war, southern Syrians used to think that a limited civil unrest raged in the northern part of the country and that it would not affect them by any means. Thus, they continued their lives as usual. I never forget the headlines of the newspapers which used to show two different Syrias. Pictures of the carpet-bombed and razed northern cities shared the same pages with the pictures of the people sunbathing in the southern beaches. Some of those who eventually decided to migrate from Syria to Turkey said they used to hear about a war but had not given any attention to that. The Turkish bordering Syria could also pick the Syrian national TV broadcasts and if the alternative media had not documented the intense clashes in the northern Syria, one would also be fooled by the entertainment shows on the Syrian TVs that not a single bullet had been fired in the country. When the stray or guided missile started striking the houses in Turkey and claimed innocent civilian lives, the Turkish public opinion woke up to the fact that an intense warfare raged next door.

The same thing is happening in Turkey now. With the lack of free media, the media outlets under the financial and ideological tutelage of the Erdogan regime depict a rose-tinted Turkey image at home and abroad. In a country where the slightest fluctuation of the currency and the stock exchange condemn thousands more down the poverty line, TV shows and newspaper cover pages laud Erdogan and his policies. Celebrities with multiple-digit contracts host shows where belly dancers gyrate and empty-pocketed audience clap in joy even for a short while. While the Erdogan regime plays to the top ranks in the league of human rights violations, the Turkish state broadcaster TRT collaborates with the Undersecretariat of the National Intelligence Organization (MIT) in an espionage-themed soap opera to justify and glorify the excesses of the Erdogan regime in the eyes of the public opinion as heroism. Millions watch and ignore the fact that everything they see in an episode is indeed inflicted real-time on their own parents, sons, daughters, neighbors or relatives. Many other TV shows are strategically and purposefully produced and screened in today’s Turkey for managing perceptions. Truth be told, the incumbent regime has been notoriously successful to hypnotize the masses in Turkey.

Yes, it is sad to observe as Turkey exceedingly slides on a slippery path of transformation towards becoming a second Syria in terms of political, social, religious, and ethnical divisions while everyone watches mutely. No matter how alarming the circumstances are, no seems or wishes to notice. In recent past, political analysts used to discuss whether Turkey was transforming into Iran, Malaysia, and even Pakistan. These discussions have already been outdated. Turkey has already passed those stages one after another and, just like runaway train, is now steered on the lines of Syrianization. Time’s running out as well-wishers keep on shouting at the machinist about the abysmal detour ahead. Does the machinist really wish to notice? Time will surely tell.

Originally published at http://www.politurco.com on March 26, 2021.

Educator, Author and Activist

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store