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HomeHeadlineThe Rise and Erdogan: A Tale of Ambition, Power, and Exploitation

The Rise and Erdogan: A Tale of Ambition, Power, and Exploitation

Let me tell you a story today if you’d like. A success story! The rise to the top, the ascent of a skilled person, a master, a leader, in broad strokes! A short but effective biography! A Middle Eastern epic!

Born poor. Grew up in a shantytown. No special qualities in his education, intelligence, personality, or life. He is aware of this. His eyes are always on others, above. When he can’t have them! He desires money and power. He places these desires at the center of his life. He shapes every decision, every move, every thought around this center. Not about what he is or should be, but about what he has or does not have.

As I said, his eyes are on high. Opportunistic, incompetent, cunning. Scratching, a hunter in hunting mode, his nose sniffing well. Perhaps the opportunity of his life is very close, who knows? And behold, what he has been waiting for happens. By chance, he meets someone. Pious, Islamist, conservative, whatever you call it, a social circle with few suitors in those days! Tall, a bit of a tough guy according to the culture of the neighborhood he lives in, like many Anatolian children who have experienced violence in their lives, a young man burning with the dream of the days when everyone will bow to him! There must be many beauties life will offer to this young man, even if they are not yet apparent in those days, the ambitious young man is climbing the steps to power in his new environment with rapid strides.

One feature that is present in all Islamists is also present in him to a certain extent: Machiavellian.

He has sworn to crush every obstacle in front of him. He is determined to eliminate anyone and anything that could hinder the opportunity he sees. Everything is permissible on the road to his goal. And that goal is to fill his stomach first, then his pocket.

Poverty has worn him out. While he dreams of gold leaf on a low table around him, he gives the impression of being modest, idealistic, sacrificial, mature, pious, and religious to those around him. However, he longs for the luxurious life he believes he deserves but has never achieved.

Since the days when he operated a canteen as a reserve officer, he noticed the prosperity in places with financial transactions, not just noticed but also gained experience. “Let me see, can’t we run the state like we operated that military canteen?” This question is always on his mind. As I said, may poverty be blind!

He enters politics. He speaks well. He establishes a good network of relationships. Of course, he quickly stands out among the Saadet Partisi (Felicity Party) members. He gets close to Erbakan. Despite Erbakan occasionally reminding him of his ignorance, he sees his influence in practical politics. Erbakan, who knows the suspicion of the Turkish people towards the educated, understands his people well enough to allow this young and ambitious Islamist to open the doors of success.

Now, the poor and frail young man is gone, and an experienced Islamist demagogue, close to power, has arrived.

The path to the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality Presidency is opening up in this way. Islamists tell a story that everyone wants to hear. What matters to them is to reach power, and the way to do that is to get people’s votes in democratic elections. No matter how disgusted and hated they are, this democratic game will give them absolute control. The important thing is to come to power, and if necessary, you can go on persuasion tours in taverns and nightclubs. There is no one in the party who can do this job better than him anyway. In addition to Erbakan’s eccentric and antipathetic attitude, his pragmatic Machiavellianism, which gives syrup to everyone’s taste, is in harmony with the pragmatism of global Islamism. The common cultural basin produces similar prototypes. His surroundings, where the most profitable gain is accepted as trade, naturally do not find the intertwining of politics with trade strange.

Thus, the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality is perceived as “Walk, my servant!” He is determined to walk. He does not need anyone to lead him. Indeed, he is walking rapidly, even running. By skipping two or three steps of power’s stairs, crushing anyone in his way like a bulldozer, he completes the practical training of the Middle Eastern “politics science” school with the highest averages. He never graduated from university, but he was well trained in the school of Islamist politics!

In a snapshot, he takes the ring on his finger and shows it to the people. He tells them that this ring is his only capital or accumulation, and if he ever becomes rich, everyone should know that it was obtained through theft. Like a prophet predicting the future, what he said will one day become clear. Billions of dollars will be placed on that ring. “What did you buy and sell? What trade did you do? Where did that money come from?” Questions like these cannot be asked in the circles he grew up in. Even if asked, these questions will not be answered.

Not to mention that no one doesn’t know what he sold or what trade he did. The capital of the Islamist is the God he claims to believe in, his prophet, his book, and his religion. He stands out as one of the most skilled practitioners of this trade. This is also true in the world. Whatever it is, what they call the “cause” is actually the cause of their pockets. It was inevitable for the ambitious one to be a thief! The legitimization of theft with religious covers is not something we only see in him. Wherever in the world, that known social environment, those people with that known profile produce.

Now we are approaching the ships! But is it really accurate to say ships? After all, didn’t he once say, “Ship and little ship!”? Islamists exploit any topic that suits their business. There is no ethical/moral filter. While exploiting, he looks at two things: the power he will gain and the material he will gain. Even in the most sacred and important matters for him, this perspective is the main determinant. Nothing can be a moral restriction or obstacle to an Islamist in anything that will bring power and money. If there are moral standards that restrain the adherent of the religion he believes in, which there are, these do not mean anything to the adherent. The one product he sells, the God he claims to believe in, his religion, and all the sanctities including his prophet, can someone who believes be involved with ethics? A religion in which morality is eliminated has been created. A brand-new religion has been created. This religion has only one function; to legitimize what its adherent does and to gain power for him. The Islamist sees it as a lever and a lever as a tool. You can understand this from him saying ‘inshallah-mashallah’ even when stealing.

He criticizes Israel fiercely 24/7, even declares the terrorist Hamas an ally, and gives Turkish passports to Hamas terrorist barons! But with the family’s ships and little ships, he does not neglect shipments to Israel, saying “With the permission of Allah” and “mashallah” under the instructions and knowledge of his father. While his father is giving fiery speeches to crowds in the squares, his son is exporting essential goods to Israel’s ports like lions under the straw, saying “thank God.” As I said, exploiting the sentiments they hear is wonderful. Israel is an excuse, Islam is an excuse, religion and book are excuses, but the little money and ships, luxury life, and palaces with golden toilets that are “destined” for themselves are fantastic!

They deceived the country. They deceived society. They wasted. Wasted!”

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Dr. Mehmet Efe Caman is a Scholar of Politics at Memorial University of Newfoundland (MUN). Dr. Caman’s main research focuses on Democracy, democratization and human rights, Turkish politics, the Middle East, Eurasian politics and post-Soviet regions, the European Union. He has published a monograph on Turkish foreign policy, numerous book chapters and scholarly articles in English, German and Turkish about topics related to his research areas.

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