“In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.” Erasmus
Forget what the big-mouth crime ministers and the duplicitous oral cavities of selected foreign ministers are shouting about democracy. About political “mandates.” About how they represent the living essences of “the will of the people.” And about how they all care so deeply for all the downtrodden and abused of the world. These ignoramus champions of democracy shamelessly harangue the world ad nauseam about the importance of elections, elections, elections. Remember the purple index fingers wagging after the first post-Saddam election in Iraq? And the wonderful “democracy” that followed and is still slaughtering its citizens. If democracy only needs elections then we are all indeed lost on the road to ruin with our purple index fingers tucked securely where the sun don’t shine. All these crime ministers and “Nobel” presidents babble gibberish because they understand very little about democracy. And the biggest babbler of all? The ever-scowling, ever-treacherous winner of the 2010 (and last) Al-Gaddafi International Prize for Human Rights, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the crime minister of that so-called democracy, Turkey. The award was cancelled after Al-Gaddafi was disemboweled and anal raped by the valiant democratic gangs aided and abetted by NATO under the inspirational leadership of the two international thugs who are now attempting to destroy Syria, "Bonnie” Obama and his partner in international crime, “Clyde” Erdoğan. They have yet to be added to the following list of democratically elected dictators. But their day may be nearing.
The following betrayers of their oaths of office also had mandates. And they all promptly forgot, ignored or destroyed the other aspects of a democratic form of government. Elections without a fully aware, fully protected, fully functioning electorate are worthless. And also worthless were the elections of these dictators: Islam Karimov, Uzbekistan), 1991-present José Gaspar Rodríguez de Francia, Paraguay, 1813-1840 Jorge Ubico, Guatemala, 1931-1944 Forbes Burnham, Guyana, 1966-1984 Artur de Costa e Silva, Brazil 1947-1969 Juan Maria Bordaberry, Uruguay, 1972-1976 Alberto Fujimori, Peru, 1992-93 Mohamed Morsi, Egypt, 2012-2013 François Duvalier, Haiti, 1959-1971 Adolph Hitler, Germany, 1933-1945
It need not even be said that those who are democratically elected are duty-bound to honor and support both the process and institution called democracy. None of the above did, despite swearing to do so.
So let’s examine today's most vocal defender of his own “democratic” essence, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. How does his own country, Turkey, stand regarding its democratic structure? “Democracy,” Erdoğan once declared, “is like a trolley car. You ride it until you arrive at your destination, then you step off.” This is a vitally important statement. While it reveals what we already know about Erdoğan, it also confirms that he knows nothing about the democratic process and, more dangerously, has no respect for the concept. Astounding it is that such a person could even be considered electable in a secular democracy. But then even the street dogs in Istanbul know how THAT happened. It undoubtedly will come as a surprise and shock to Erdoğan when he learns that democracy is intended to outlast its participants and is not merely a stop at a mosque, a Turkish bath or the White House. Such deceit-filled thinking is typical of the deceptive language used throughout the decade-long Erdoğan regime.
This screwed-up thinking is akin to his and his party’s claim that the mean old dictator, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, traumatized the citizens of the new Turkish Republic by changing the alphabet from Ottoman script to Roman script. Trauma indeed, for a nation’s people of whom 90% lived in rural areas and 97% were illiterate! Forget the trauma of unlearning one and relearning another alphabet, they never knew one in the first place. Instead, it was the “thrill” of enlightenment which "traumatized" them, a learning experience (or trauma) which still seems to have eluded Erdoğan and his supporters. In fact, Atatürk knew instinctively what the new republic's fundamentally impoverished people needed most in order to live and prosper in a modern secular state and future democracy. And that was first, literacy, then, education.
It is important to expand this point. To remediate this national educational deficit, Atatürk conceived of a nationwide rural learning system called the Village Institute. Designed to teach language skills and much more, it began in 1940. Six years later, the first fatal sign of Turkish compliance with America’s needs appeared. Godless communism had become a threat after the World War II and God-filled Turkey had a job to do. And so came the nonsense of the Islamic Green Belt protecting the west and the tagging of Turkey as a religious nation. Thus the Village Institute System must be disbanded. Too risky. Too red. Those bad communists would infiltrate and overthrow everything. So it follows that the disaster that is Turkey today regarding the great percentage of its uninformed voters began with the abandonment of the Village Institute system. How generous were the Turkish democratic politicians selling out to America’s interests. So today illiteracy rates, particularly among rural women remain uncomfortably high. But no one, least of all, Erdoğan is concerned. It keeps him afloat politically. So far.
But let’s start at the beginning. What does a country need to maintain a viable flourishing democracy? First, its citizens need guaranteed protections, else why sign-on as citizens. This is codified in a constitution which enumerates the nature and conditions of personal and political rights. It also states the terms of fair and free elections. Also vital to democracy is the inviolable presence of an independent judiciary uninfluenced by the political regime. Another key requirement of democracy is the separation of powers, namely that executive, legislative and judicial branches operate independently. And how about Mr. Erdoğan’s record after swearing to support and defend the constitution of Turkey?
He has actively worked to subvert it. He has illegally detained and/or incarcerated thousands of those opposed to his regime. Articles dealing with freedom of speech, assembly, and media expression have been trampled by the heavy boots of religious fascism. The courts are the extension of the ruling party and the ruling party is simply Erdoğan, himself. He has even declared himself to be the “chief prosecutor” of a sham case called Ergenekon. And what about the security of the nation’s borders? Erdoğan, aided and abetted by America, has destroyed the nation’s defense system. The experienced commanding general staff is in prison. The collaborators now command. Senior officers sold out their subordinates. One general is even considered to have been a secret witness against his comrades in arms. So much for morale and esprit-de-corps. So much for trust and honor. So much for the viability of the military academies. Equally worrisome, the police rule with a viciousness unparalleled since the good old days of Pinochet’s Chile and Hitler’s Germany. The Gezi Park Movement revealed the full horror of Erdoğan's state police. Even more troublesome for the Turkish citizenry, is the questionable allegiance of the nation’s security forces. They seem to be oddly influenced and even controlled by a foreign power, namely a longstanding CIA asset/imam residing in Pennsylvania. (In case this sounds strange to you, it has been in all the newspapers, even a few in Turkey). Worse yet, Erdoğan has jeopardized the nation’s security by collaborating with America in the destruction of numerous North African and Middle East nations, most lately Syria and Egypt. Put plainly, these have been disasters for all concerned, and a political and moral disaster for Erdoğan. The integrity of the Turkish state seems at great risk, particularly regarding its eastern borders. And finally, let’s speak of Erdoğan's favorite subject, elections. The election campaigns, aside from his usual bombast, has consisted of bribes-for-votes. Coal, food, even refrigerators (whether or not the village has electricity) are delivered to the ever-grateful, if somewhat bemused, masses living in the hinterlands.
So what, you might be saying. That’s the way democracy works in the world. And anyway, all politicians are thieves and liars. Tragically, perhaps you are right. So let’s all just lean back and enjoy our extermination. But I am talking about Turkey here, a nation chosen by America to be a role model of Islamic democracy so peace can reign throughout the carnage that has always been the Middle East. Of course, the premise is ludicrous, even delusional. We all know it. And now the world knows it. How the people of the democratic, secular Republic of Turkey have suffered from this catastrophic delusion promoted by their deluding politicians. A few questions are necessary to complete this analysis of Erdoğan's democratic credentials.
Is it a democracy when someone writing a political opinion unfavorable to the regime is jailed?
Is it a democracy when newspapers are controlled by the political regime?
Is it a democracy when citizens exercise their constitution right to assemble and are brutally attacked by police with tear gas, water cannons, rubber bullets, real bullets, clubs, truncheons, boots, scimitars, butcher knives and blades of all varieties?
Is it a democracy when these same police are celebrated by the prime minister as heroes?
Is it a democracy when telephone conversations are recorded without a court order?
Is it a democracy when people are arrested and incarcerated for years without due process?
Is it a democracy when a prime minister's children openly campaign to subvert the provisions of the Turkish constitution?
Is it a democracy when houses are ransacked in “fishing expeditions” for evidence without court order?
Is it a democracy when a nation’s judicial system is controlled by the ruling political party?
Is it a democracy when the police brutally assault, even murder, innocent citizens and are not held accountable?
Is it a democracy when secret witnesses give testimony that is never examined in open court?
Is it a democracy when journalists, writers, academicians, political thinkers, rot in jail because they dare to have ideas?
Is it a democracy when convicted murderers of judges are bribed to give secret testimony and are afterwards acquitted?
Is it a democracy when an entire military leadership cadre is jailed on trumped-up charges that even schoolchildren would laugh at?
Is it a democracy when anyone opposed to the ruling party is considered a terrorist?
Is it democracy when opposition parties that gain less than 10% of the total vote are denied seating in parliament?
Is it democracy when a prime minister advises neighbors to report to the police other neighbors who bang on pots and pans in protest against his regime?
Is it democracy when school authorities are told to inform on students and teachers who may have participated in the Gezi Park protests?
Is it a democracy when prime ministers insult the legitimacy of religious groups such as the Alevites in Turkey?
Is it a democracy when the houses of Alevites are marked with hate messages?
Is it a democracy when government vendettas are conducted against businesses, humanitarian organizations, lawyers and doctors, all those public spirited entities, who act to defend the constitutionally guaranteed interests of innocent citizens being brutally attacked by the state police force?
Is it a democracy when a government engages in general devastation of the environment, larceny of a nation’s treasure, captures the public space as its own, conducts unremitting surveillance of the populace, degrades the civil conscience and constantly rebukes contrary opinions?
If so, then what? If not, then what? Regarding Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, what is he?
Cem Ryan, Ph.D. Istanbul 17 August 2013
“What if a demon were to creep after you one night, in your loneliest loneliness, and say, 'This life which you live must be lived by you once again and innumerable times more; and every pain and joy and thought and sigh must come again to you, all in the same sequence. The eternal hourglass will again and again be turned and you with it, dust of the dust!' Would you throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse that demon? Or would you answer, 'Never have I heard anything more divine'?” Friedrich Nietzsche
Bilal Erdoğan, the Turkish prime minister’s son. 16 August 2013.
At Fatih Mosque, Istanbul, participating in a demonstration
for the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt. Placards advocated against democracy and for the return of the caliphate.
Demonstration at Fatih Mosque, Istanbul. 16 August 2013.
Demonstration at Fatih Mosque, Istanbul. 16 August 2013.