Felix, the Latin word for happy, is my Christian baptismal name. But real life doesn’t always make me feel like that, despite the general belief we read and hear about that “life is what you make it”. Philosophers and theologians, in particular, have come out with a controversial “felix culpa” concept, literally translated — happy fault — a deep thought about which gives rise to all sort of strange, but true real situations on the ground in private and public life.
Having taken Bible Knowledge as a subject and done some level of literature in Latin, though neither am I a philosopher nor theologian, I recall cases the likes of the Blessed Virgin Mary accepting going pregnant without nuptial vows; disciple Judas Iscariot taking part in plotting the fatal betrayal of Jesus Christ and thereafter going ahead to take his own life; Pontius Pilate passing a capital punishment on Jesus despite seeing no guilt.
All these incidents have a “fault” (culpa) elevation. But, looked at it from the other side, where could the pride of salvation among Christians have come from in the absence of the daughter Maryam experience and disciple Judas’ role? Incidentally, the Holy Quran beats other scriptures by devoting a whole chapter on Maryam. The 972-word, Chapter 19 with 98 verses, surprisingly mentions Maryam more times than the Bible.
Because this is not an analysis of or an expose on faith, it suffices (to quote from Islamic studies.com) and assert that “Allah is able to do whatever He wills and can make an impotent man and barren woman give birth to a child.” Such stories, including the Bible’s case of John (the Baptist) and the Quran’s twin Yahya narrative, abound in the scriptures, although they don’t bear the felix culpa element. But, looked at from a different angle, though, hasn’t God also made potent men and fertile women childless? “…Thy will be done”, goes a section of the all-time famous “Our Father…” Christian prayer.
Away from faith and focusing in the direction of how countries are ruled, could what has befallen and is still befalling the people of Turkey (wherever they are) under the Erdogan regime and his ruling Justice and Development (AKP) Party and, as it is being witnessed and felt by the rest of the world, be part of the country’s and global felix culpa? That is the question. Why has the Erdogan’s Turkey turned into a persecutor leaving its people deemed as dissidents and neighbors, the likes of members of the Gulen movement, the Kurds, Syria and Iraq — to do the perseverance?
Anybody who has read about the foundation, rise, growth, decline and eventual collapse of the Roman Empire, cannot forget a prologue of Livy (c.59 BC-AD 17) calling for his every reader’s “… attention to the matters of life and morals of the community and the men and qualities by which through policies at home and abroad, the empire was born and enlarged. Then as the standard or morality gradually slips … with the relaxation of discipline and morals first gave way, as it were, then sank lower and lower and then began to decline precipitously until we come to our own time when we can hear neither our vices nor their remedies.”
Furthermore, those who have read Said Nursi’s (1877-1960) Seedbed of Light, will remember him emphasizing that “moral laws are absolute. They are not relative. Efforts spent on spicing our actions in the interest of our desires points in the wrong direction. This is why, as it is noted, we substitute legal and illegal, right and wrong with attributes. And a State is created along these lines.” Said Nursi sort of left behind an (or self-) observation point when he said “human beings are usually susceptible to shedding positive knowledge as they go down the learning lane. Instead we pick and treasure meaningless and sometimes wrong convictions which eventually lead us astray.”
From the scriptures, Livy and Said Nursi perspectives, what do we observe as taking place in Turkey today? For every positive mode of live, it is the opposite that is happening under the Erdogan rule. What are the chances of the thread of events playing the felix culpa role so that the people of Turkey would be delivered from the tribulations affecting them through the Erdogan regime conduit?
From the outset, Turkey has lost all the basis and foundation of democracy. The country is no longer a democracy. Not in the least. Executive aggrandizement through systematic gradual eroding of institutional checks and balances, undermining political rights and violation of civil liberties is commonplace.
If Turkish politics curves of tolerance and suppression were to be equated to the economics demand and supply curves, the equilibrium would be what we experience as the Erdogan regime and ruling AKP party reluctance to step down through democratic means against subsequent constituents’ willingness to tolerate democratic breakdown. Could this be a blessing in disguise – felix culpa?
Media pluralism is nonexistent in the mainstream as the regime owns and directly controls 90 % of all media. To get a press card one must be compliant. In 2020 alone more than 600 cards were revoked. Today, the government, through a new media law, has virtually killed the Turkish media, leaving the players in exile as the source of what is taking place on the ground, depicting the reason for foul cries about extradition of people like Dr. Bulent Kenes, for exposing the Erdogan regime repressions. The more Erdogan pleads with foreign states for deporting critical media personnel living in exile, the more the world understands the gravity of the situation on the ground in Turkey. A form of felix culpa?
In the post-July 2016 coup attempt, which the world now knows was a false flag, fragrant human rights violations have taken place to the degree of genocide within the framework of state of emergency (OHAL) and subsequent statutory decrees(KHK). In this process, nearly 8 million people from all walks of life, including their families, have been fired from their jobs, investigated, deprived of their freedom, ostracized from society and almost driven to annihilation even though they had nothing to do with the fabricated coup.
A total of 152 000 civil servants were fired without even taking their statements for their views about the government or about their alleged affiliations with the Gulen movement. Workplaces known to be close to Hizmet were closed and nearly 200,000 employees dismissed or deprived of all their inalienable rights. There have been critical figures of abductions, enforced disappearance, social isolation, marginalization, dehumanization and demonization.
About six months to the forthcoming parliamentary and presidential elections, public persecutions at the hand of the Erdogan and ruling AKP Party coming to light must be creating some level of a felix culpa reality in the mind of the electorate, the absence of a fair environment notwithstanding. People’s perseverance cannot be for nothing, however unaccountable those in power can be.
The Erdogan regime has, indeed entrenched itself in domestic and foreign politics in a manner that threatens the Turkish people at home and in exile. But its gradual slip in morality, coupled with the vivid relaxation of discipline particularly in the last decade, has seen it sink to a level observed by Livy about 40 years BC (more than 2,060 years ago). The level (terminal?) where leaders’ consciences have since been silenced for recognition of vices and identification of remedies. The result of which has been the collapse of many empires. Could this, even in the least, signify the beginning of the end of Erdogan? What a felix culpa could that be?