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Who really cares for Turkey?

It is really difficult to write a weekly column on Turkey. In most countries, columnists write about a popular issue of an important week. That is pretty ordinary in states where democratic and social institutions are functional. Unfortunately, for the last couple of years, this has not been the case in Turkey.  Every day, something more critical hits and scours the scene. During any seven-day week, months-heavy agenda occupies the national headlines and discussion circles, upsetting the existing crucial state of affairs closer to an abyss.

Let’s see what happened in Turkey last week, particularly.

On Monday, Erdogan appealed resolutely the public to convert their foreign exchange and gold into lira assets. Erdogan’s this move was teased on the social media as ‘we saw many thieves but this is the first time we see the one who calls people into his presence.’

The next day, the US State Department released its 2020 report on Human Rights Practices in Turkey and documented numerous and significant human rights issues, mentioning the critical junctions on how the Erdogan regime founded and has sustained a state of fear with its inhumane, and arbitrary practices including torture, target killings, abductions, imprisonment of the political opponents, lawyers, students, and journalists and human rights activists. The report slipped a huge obstacle on Erdogan’s path of reconciliation with the White House. It was especially not warmly welcomed in Erdogan’s White Palace in Ankara in the wake of a joyful morning of having received an invitation from the Biden administration for the Leaders’ Summit on Climate. 

Ian Bremmer, an American political scientist and journalist, published a news analysis video about the near and future possible relations of the US and Turkey. He claimed that his sources in the White House had hinted that the Biden administration was preparing for acknowledging the Armenian genocide by an official declaration on the April 24 Armenian Genocide Remembrance Day. Apart from all other political discussions, I am sure this stark change of the US stance against Turkey would drop the bomb on the already frayed administration in Ankara. Bremmer says Biden is known as a man of his word and adds that even though this acknowledgement would bring unwanted consequences for Turkey with Erdogan at her helms, Erdogan himself would not be really in a position of battling against the US amid snowballing economic crisis.

Prof. Dr. Sedat Laciner, a renowned Turkish academic and political scientist, was hospitalized contracting the coronavirus at a Turkish prison. There are thousands of political prisoners kept as hostage in Turkish prisons amid the pandemic by the Erdogan regime which released all prisoners including terrorists, murderers, rapists, and drug users but not the most educated inmates who have been imprisoned on baseless allegations of attempting the so-called coup on July 15, 2016. Turkey needs people like Dr. Laciner; unfortunately, they are abandoned to death in prisons.  

On April 1, while everyone fools their friends across the world, students from the Bogazici University were on the streets of Kadikoy, Istanbul to protest the Erdogan regime for arresting their friends. The students protested the government for appointing a trustee rector without holding an election and demanded the resignation of the airdropped rector by the Erdogan regime. The riot police unleashed disproportionate force to disperse the crowd. The critics witnessing the scenes remarked, “Today is the Turkey’s ‘I can’t breathe day’”as the police clamped down on students no different than in the George Floyd incident and beat them inhumanely.

The next day, Devlet Bahceli, the Chairman of the ultranationalist Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) and the ally of the Erdogan regime, made a call to shutter the Constitutional Court of Turkey permanently. Is that something new? Not really. He makes this calls often. What’s strange here is that the Constitutional Court has already been dysfunctional and under his and his allies’ tutelage for many years. No one has really understood why he asked for the closure of the Constitutional Court.

On Friday, the pro-Kurdish legislator, Omer Faruk Gergerlioglu, was forcefully detained inside his house. His MP status was stripped by the majority of the votes of the ruling party MPs ten days earlier. The Erdogan regime revoked his MP status just because of retweeting a Twitter post and got him sentenced for a two- and half-year jail sentence.

While all these terrible events daily happen in Turkey, the opposition parties do nothing. Yes, they do not openly applaud the politics of the Erdogan regime but they also do not do anything substantial slow down or stop the bad governance. They simply watch the collapse of the country and provide cosmetic opposition. A young man who remarked during a street interview said: “This opposition parties do nothing. There are hundreds of things happening daily in the country and they simply do nothing. Why? Even one of those parties is strong enough to force the government to step down. How can it be possible that there is a terrorist organization with millions of members in this country? Reportedly, ISIS was made of only 30.000 militants who rendered the region into a hellish state. That is what a real terror organization is and what a real terrorist group can do with 30.000 or even by a bunch of people. Why nothing chaotic happens in Turkey while there are so-called millions of terrorists who are falsely claimed as troublemakers? Why doesn’t the opposition party do something against this misconception?

If there were more MPs like the Gergerlioglu, the Erdogan regime would not be able to move even an inch ahead and do most of the things it does arbitrarily now. Every week in Turkey has been the same since 2013. Turkey moves farther and faster towards the cliff without any protective device. The collapse of the law and order across the country would be unthinkable. It is a country where some assumes the Constitutional Court unnecessary, the Parliament secondary, the dissidents as unequal citizens, the participants of the Gulen Movement, the Kurds, Alevites and Armenians as inhuman and democracy as a vehicle which you get on when needed and get off when you are done with it. When the country falls, the residents including Erdoganists, Kemalists, Nationalists, Leftists, Rightists, Elitist, Laicists, and Democrats will altogether remain under the rubble. Let’s hope that day will never come.

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Engin Yigit is a Politurco columnist, activist, and author. Follow him at @enginyigtt.

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