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HomeHeadlineErdoğan Faces Rejection on the Global Stage

Erdoğan Faces Rejection on the Global Stage

Turkey’s agenda is focused on UEFA’s decision to suspend national football player Merih Demiral for two matches. MHP leader Devlet Bahçeli made a written statement calling for the national team to not participate in tomorrow’s match against the Netherlands. As if a button was pressed at the Palace, AKP ministers, deputies, pro-government journalists, bureaucrats, and ‘aktrolls’ are all making statements condemning UEFA.

As always, opportunists and profiteers are in ‘gas them up’ mode. Again, as always, common sense has disappeared. Forget other issues; the incident of Merih Demiral making the ‘Bozkurt’ sign alone is enough to show and prove Turkey’s current state of ‘Kath-ı Rical.’

The old term ‘Kath-ı Rical,’ defined as “the inability to find qualified personnel in state administration and other areas requiring merit,” perfectly describes modern Turkey. In fact, Turkey’s problem is not so much the lack of qualified personnel but the rewarding of banality, incompetence, and immorality, while honest, decent, and quality cadres are being purged.

To summarize briefly: Under Erdoğan’s one-man regime, footballers have become part of the Palace’s propaganda apparatus. Pro-regime footballers even appear in advertising campaigns according to the AKP’s political agenda. Of course, those who pledge allegiance to the Palace get the national jersey and high-paying contracts.

The regime’s nationalist-religious jargon naturally reflects in the statements of the footballers. Therefore, Merih Demiral’s action should not be seen as spontaneous or unconsidered.

If there was state wisdom, the Football Federation and politicians would step in and have Merih Demiral make a statement to ease the tension and minimize the damage. Because UEFA’s rule of ‘no political messages on the field’ is very simple.

It is not a ban specific to the ‘Bozkurt’ sign. But the opposite was done. Merih Demiral escalated his statements, and everyone, starting with AKP officials, fueled the fire.

The result is clear; Merih will miss two crucial matches. The TFF not only mismanaged the process but also worsened the situation with its subsequent statements. The Federation’s officials are so incompetent that they don’t even know that Merih’s penalty cannot be taken to CAS.

They practically became a subject of social media humor.

So what did the whole of Turkey miss while talking about these developments?

This point is very important. Erdoğan and his partner Bahçeli are overlooking significant issues, especially the Sinan Ateş trials. Imagine, the late Sinan Ateş’s wife, Ayşe Ateş, named Izzet Ulvi Yönter and Semih Yalçın from the MHP leadership in the courtroom. The MHP leadership was directly accused. We saw in the trials that all kinds of crimes, including forgery, were committed to save the MHP leadership.

Under normal circumstances, we should be discussing this, but the issue was diverted elsewhere.

The AKP side is no different. The economic crisis, human rights violations, historic corruption, and scandals are not being discussed. The role of Erdoğan’s regime in the Sinan Ateş assassination is being overlooked. Erdoğan’s intelligence apparatus knew from the start that Sinan Ateş would be killed, just as they watched the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi minute by minute. They did not prevent the Ateş murder; instead, they exploited it for their political agenda.

This case has also given life to the shaky MHP-AKP alliance. Erdoğan holds the leverage and, in Sedat Peker’s words, is dismantling the MHP piece by piece. Bahçeli cannot challenge him. If Erdoğan pursues the Sinan Ateş case, he could send the entire MHP leadership to prison.

Meanwhile, the Merih Demiral agenda has also overshadowed the ‘Mossad Scandal.’ It will be remembered that after it was revealed that Erdoğan’s regime continued trading with Israel during the genocide process in Gaza, the MIT launched an image campaign claiming they had conducted operations against Mossad agents in Turkey.

The arrested suspects were headlined in the regime media for days. After Fidan’s image campaign, they were forgotten. While Turkey debated Merih Demiral’s ‘Bozkurt’ sign, the suspects labeled as ‘Mossad agents’ were released. Even the regime courts couldn’t hold them any longer.

Erdoğan will not be welcomed in Germany

So what is the ‘unwanted man’ issue mentioned in the headline? Naturally, while these things are happening in Turkey, other countries are closely watching us. Everyone is aware of everything. During such a period, President Tayyip Erdoğan is going to Berlin to watch tomorrow’s match. However, Erdoğan will not be welcomed in Germany. In fact, their media and opposition politicians (such a statement would not be expected from the ruling party) openly say ‘don’t come.’

Under normal circumstances, even if a country’s president comes for a match, they are accompanied at a high level and photographed together. But German politicians will not meet with Erdoğan. No program has been planned for him.

If there was state wisdom, they would develop closer relations with Germany, where millions of Turks live, and open the door to the EU.

The same situation applies to the US. Erdoğan is also an unwanted man in the US, like in Germany. Although, due to Turkey’s strategic position and political interests, the White House or the Biden administration wouldn’t openly say “Don’t come!” However, diplomacy has another kind of language.

For instance, President Biden did not invite Erdoğan to the White House during his term. So to speak, he ignored Erdoğan. He always delayed matters related to Turkey. Although Erdoğan’s regime and its propaganda apparatus tried to keep this situation limited to the White House, the reality is different.

In Washington, especially in Congress, there is almost no sympathy for Erdoğan and the AKP. Even the lobbying firms, which were paid millions of dollars, are ineffective. For example, the latest letter from the US Congress tells us a lot. As known, 142 members of the US Congress wrote a letter to President Joe Biden, calling for action against human rights violations in Turkey.

So, one out of every three congressmen signed this letter regarding Turkey. Although Erdoğan’s media attempts to discredit the message with various perception games, the numbers are clear. Let’s look at similar letters written in the last 3-4 years.

In Congress, where the Armenian lobby is very strong, the letter sent to Biden regarding the Armenian Genocide had 107 signatures. The letter about the humanitarian drama in Gaza had 86 signatures, the one about the refugee crisis on the US southern border had 77, the one highlighting human rights violations in India before Prime Minister Modi’s White House visit had 75, the letter condemning Hamas for the October 7 attacks had 55 signatures, the one condemning Israel’s attack on NGOs in Gaza had 40, the one aiming to prevent the sale of F-16s to Turkey had 34, and the one supporting Israel had 24 signatures.

In the pre-election period and the middle of summer in the US, 142 members of Congress signing such a letter shows how much importance is given to human rights violations in Turkey. And of course, the influence of the Gülen movement. Imagine; Erdoğan, who was once esteemed and respected in Washington, is now an unwanted man. The same applies to Germany.

Without Turkey’s strategic importance, he wouldn’t get any invitations from any civilized country. To overlook this reality, Erdoğan and his partner Bahçeli cling to the Merih Demiral agenda.

In fact, Erdoğan might even make the ‘Bozkurt’ sign at tomorrow’s match!

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Adem Yavuz Arslan
Adem Yavuz Arslan
Adem Yavuz Aslan is a leading Turkish investigative journalist in exile based in Washington, D.C.
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