BY GAREN YEGPARIAN
That’s what the President of Turkey is saying, “Ben büyük taşakleri var” = “I have big balls”!!!
He, coupled with his sycophants, dependents, and fellow-travelers in the Adalet ve Kalkinma Partisi (Justice and Development Party), is appealing to the worst strains, aspects, parts, of the Turkish psyche.
Of course none of this is accomplished through explicit statements. It is done through non-verbal communication. Multiple goals are pursued: intimidation, self-aggrandizement, ego (a seemingly inescapable component of anything Erdoğan does), but most importantly, electoral advantage.
Suruç, July 20, peaceful rally, bomb goes off, dozens killed, ISIS allegedly responsible.
With Suruç as the excuse, in late July, Turkey nominally signs on to the United States’ efforts to aerially bomb ISIS, granting permission for the U.S. to use the Incirlik air base in Adana (sited on land rightfully belonging to an Armenian) for U.S. planes on missions targeting ISIS. But, instead of targeting ISIS, Turkey bombs Kurdish bases, not just on its territory, but in Northern Iraq, too.
In early October, Turkish helicopters violated Armenian air space on two occasions, allegedly due to bad weather. Also, the patriarchate was attacked the Armenian in Bolis. Could this be shades of the massive anti-Armenian, anti-Greek, anti-Jewish vandalism and looting of the 1950s?.
Last week, at another rally, this time in Ankara, two bombs went off, killing over a hundred people and injuring hundreds. Interestingly, witnesses cite the absence of police in the vicinity of the rally until after the attacks. Then, the police appeared and started using tear gas, making it more difficult to leave the area or help the wounded. Salahettin Demirtaş, leader of the opposition Halklarin Demokratik Partisi (HDP) sardonically described the situation thus: in Ankara, where a bird can’t fly undetected by the intelligence service, how could this kind of attack go off?
Even the conservative wing of U.S. polity, not known for its anti-Turkey mindset, contends that Erdoğan must have had a hand in the Ankara tragedy, as explained in “Why We Should Assume Erdogan Played a Role in the Ankara Bombing,” a piece in “The National Review”.
All along, since the June elections held in Turkey which cost the AKP its parliamentary majority, members and supporters of the HDP have been getting attacked or killed.
The pattern is unmistakable, especially when you recall the brutal treatment of the Gezi Park protesters and Ankara’s bellicose attitude towards Cyprus as the latter develops offshore gas fields.
Erdoğan is sacrificing countless lives (disproportionately Kurdish), tearing at the already weak fabric of Turkish society, and reigniting the hot war with the PKK (Kurdish Workers Party). All so he can seem macho, a tough guy, a “leader,” a real Turk, thereby gaining more of the chauvinist (extreme Turkish nationalist, Pan-Turkic) vote in Turkey’s upcoming November 1 election. If his party, the AKP can garner a majority this time, then he will have an easier time changing the country’s constitution to grant him, as president, far greater powers, whereby he could rule as a latter-day, neo-Ottoman, sultan.
He’s counting on the same strain of barbarity persisting in some sectors of Turkish society that comes down the centuries from their invading, marauding, ancestors.
This is no way to run a country or build a decent future. The fact that most of the U.S. media are giving him a complicit “pass” in this respect is not only repulsive, but dangerous as well—for the people of Turkey and U.S. Turkey relations.
Let your local newspaper editors know you want thorough coverage of this. Meanwhile, deluge those publications with letters exposing this horrifying state of affairs in Turkey that could, unsurprisingly, lead to anti-Armenian pogroms.
On an unrelated, but important note, if you live in (or are visiting) the Los Angeles area, and have not yet seen Aram Kouyoumdjian’s new play, “Happy Armenians”, do so quickly, only two weekends are left.. It is at once funny and profound, tackling history, love, international relations, and social issues while managing to include a hook even for science fiction buffs. For full disclosure, I am involved in this production as a fundraiser. Tickets available at itsmyseat.