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Turkey: The country where hypocrisy and theft are praised as “Alhamdulillah”

Let me begin this article with a sentence that is said about Turkey and I am sure there are different versions of it: “I watch the news in Paris, and I go out to the streets in Beirut.”

A news, as you know it, is the flagship of the pool media, and I don’t think it would be an exaggeration to say that. In this analogy, Paris represents order, cleanliness, justice, and social welfare. Beirut, on the other hand, represents the city where religious and ethnic conflicts take place in its streets, where dozens of people lose their lives every day, hundreds are injured, hunger, poverty, chaos, and anarchy prevail.

Where did this come from?

It came from what Beşir Atalay said on a program he conducted on Zoom.

Anything else?

It also came from the short speech titled “Gaza and Palestine for Youth” published on YouTube by Mehmet Görmez, the former President of the Directorate of Religious Affairs, who, during the treacherous military coup attempt on July 15, 2016, learned about the coup while having dinner with the head of the National Intelligence Organization, Hakan Fidan, after receiving a phone call from his wife.

You know, there is a saying, “I was amazed!” to express one’s astonishment at unexpected events. It’s a beautiful expression. It conveys the meaning clearly. But in today’s Turkey, I think it would be more accurate to say something like this: “I wasn’t amazed.”

Why?

Because both of them are filled with arguments that anyone with a reasonable mind would endorse regarding the injustices they express in terms of social and economic order. Both of them are filled with evidence and examples that even non-believers cannot object to, from both religious aspects such as verses and hadiths, scholarly interpretations, and historical events. Both of them have united around the common denominator of “being a Muslim” and expressed their views on injustice, empathizing with the suffering of their fellow believers, using all possible means to help them, with solid convictions that even those hostile to Islam, even hostile to humanity, would not accept.

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But then why was I amazed, I mean, not amazed?

I wasn’t amazed because they turned a blind eye to the injustices happening in the country they live in. I wasn’t amazed because they couldn’t see, hear, or know, maybe even showing the same sensitivity towards the injustices suffered by their close relatives, friends, and acquaintances, and because they haven’t uttered a single word about these negatives, which are like the “silent devil,” so far.

At this point where justice has become the lapdog of politics, I wasn’t amazed that they did not express any remorse despite their share in it, and that they continued their arrogant attitude.

Let me be clear, I don’t mean only the heartless injustices done to the members of the Gülen Movement. I mean the disproportionate injustices inflicted by the state on almost everyone who is opposed to the AKP, including Kurds, Armenians, Alevis, Syrians, and other religious communities. When these people, who have played a role in bringing the country to this point, arrogantly lecture about justice, separation of powers, constitutional rights, and basic human rights and freedoms, it makes one cringe.

I won’t drag this on.

During times when such thoughts cloud my mind, and emotions take over, the articles I write can sometimes detach me from rational ground. That’s why let me relay a conversation that took place in the open visitation room at Çankırı Prison recently. But as I finish, I’ll have one sentence for these two individuals.

Here’s what happened: two women were talking while waiting for the prisoners they had called. Both of them are middle-aged. Both of them wear headscarves. One asks the other.

  • “Who are you waiting for?”
  • “My son. How about you?”
  • “I’m waiting for my son too.”
  • “Why is your son in prison?”
  • “Because of FETÖ.”
  • “Oh, really? Alhamdulillah. My son is in prison for theft.”

An understanding of Islam within which serving religion, faith, nation, and humanity is considered abnormal, while theft is considered normal.

Where has the country and its people gone, O Lord?

A headscarved, conservative Muslim mother saying “Alhamdulillah” for theft!

And this happened during the time of the AKP government, which claims to be Muslim and conservative.

To those two individuals, I have this to say: You also have a share in saying “Alhamdulillah” to theft. You know it, and you are aware of it, right?

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AHMET KURUCAN
AHMET KURUCAN
Dr. Ahmet Kurucan is a an author and scholar focusing on Islamic Studies and Law.
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