In the good old kingly days when kings were kings and mankind was mostly miserable, the king sat on his throne because God allowed it. It was a simple system. Accordingly, everyone else sat up straight and shut up. A king was subject to no earthly authority. His legitimacy came directly from the Divine. And since he was God’s fully authorized representative on earth, any attempt to depose a king was considered a sacrilege, a sin against God. This scheme was called the Divine Right of Kings. Thus kings could do anything. And since only God could judge an unjust king, well, you get the idea. The king had immunity, thus could act with impunity. The rhyme is a little like the situation in today’s Turkey, a once proud secular democracy now reduced to a fascist police state ruled by the scowling pretender to the post-modern neo-Ottoman throne, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He is the embodiment of the word “impunity.” (cezdan muaf olma)
Even though it was a hoax, one can easily imagine that the “Divine right of kings” doctrine was quite popular among those of royal blood. The popes also developed a competitive angle. While their “godliness” had already been established, they held the idea that God had given them political control over God’s temporal world. Thus they began the Holy Roman Empire causing even more strife. Power is intoxicating. isn’t it? It is easy to see the importance—even if based on nonsense—of Divine Right. Using God as the big boss resulted in guaranteed employment with unlimited wages. And if the money ran out one just waged war, war in God’s ever-approving name. But most of the world has evolved a bit more in sophistication over the last thousand years to believe any of the above. Most nations—except for a retarded few—keep God, except for a lip-service prayer or two, out of government. The often quoted line from a Robert Browning poem applies: “God’s in His heaven—All’s right with the world!.” Which I take to mean that as long as God stays in his heaven, the temporal world will be safe and just, a strictly secular interpretation, I admit.
Obviously, the notion of using the will of God as a political/religious cover story is not new. The major religions are all based upon the condition of the subordination of individuals to a higher power, a form of imperialism. And politicians who don’t “walk with God” don’t long remain politicians, at least in today’s world. God also used earthly agents called prophets. These emissaries, sort of spiritual public relations specialists, represented the interests of their client, God, on earth. They had special talents and many of them, unlike today’s PR agents who live in Media-land, lived in solitude under harsh conditions. Perhaps this better focused their minds to absorb every syllable that God uttered. But therein came a struggle that continues to this day. The struggle between the physical, scientific world (most frequently called “reality”) and the faith-based spiritual world (frequently called “myth”). In other words, which of these two worlds best applies to living in the moment, in the full reality of the ”now”?
For secular Turks, that is, the Turks who are today’s cultural and political soldiers of Mustafa Kemal, the answer is simple. Kemal said that science is the only true guide in life. And the majority of the country believes this. So why aren’t they in power? Because the electoral system is rigged by a 10% party vote minimum to gain parliamentary seating. Sultan Erdoğan has a solid, united party of religious conservatives and/or the under-educated masses. A world driven by science and secularism is not to their political taste. The inept leftists cannot seem to come together in one united political force. Talk about ignoring the reality of the real world!
Indeed, science is the only true guide in life. The truth of this logical statement is self-evident. Try praying to cross over the Bosporus on a carpet as opposed to taking the ferry. We live in a temporal, science-based world. But this idea is under siege in Turkey by the religious fascist politicians. Even poor Charles Darwin is under attack. And higher education is in a shambles. And Allah has commanded that as many shopping malls as possible be built as soon as possible. Thus thousands of trees have been destroyed and Middle East Technical University cut in half by another of the sultan’s highways. Allah created the world and, in his name, Allah’s neo-sultan is destroying it. Is Allah insane? Or does Allah’s sultan not understand something?
There is one country that still believes in the Divine right of kings. You may have already guessed which. It is a modern country rapidly becoming a fast-failing secular democracy. What makes Turkey so special is that it has a prime minister who rules with hands of stone aided by a pious brain. He seems to have been born in Allah’s back pocket. He even reveals to his 70 million subjects what Allah wants them to do. Like Allah, he is omnipresent, decisive, and speaks imitating Allah’s rolling thunder voice. He remains under heavy guard. No one gets near him, except his pious followers. When confronted by the criticisms from ordinary not-so-pious citizens, he calls them “lan,” a rude vulgarism. He also refers to them as looters and drunks. Then he turns really nasty and abusive. Sometimes his police beat them. Gas them. Blind them. Kill them. But he says Allah loves him so he keeps building mosques in tribute. And all is right in Sultan Tayyip’s world, which, as he has decreed, belongs to him. He now seems to be securely locked into a delusional phase of public political life. But perhaps he has been this way all along?
Like God/Allah parted the waters to make dry land so did the neo-sultan divide Turkey. The sultan has done his job well. Not a bird flies over the land that he does not hear or see. The sultan is destroying all the trees the better to see more, and to make roads and bridges and tunnels and shopping malls. This will also allow him to see all of us better. The sultan hates birds and wild animals and flowers and cool, running streams and, of course, rivers. He also hates mountains. Some are even disappearing. But he likes stone. The stone from the mountains make prisons for the sultan’s enemies and fancy villas for the sultan’s family and friends. He even hates the Bosporus. His grand scheme of digging a canal (really a fabulous opportunity for real estate speculation) may have incalculable environmental effect. Even Allah is worried about this. The security forces—police, military and justice system—secure only him. Thousands of those opposed languish in a gulag of prisons. Media and big business are in his pocket. He particularly despises the young people. During the Gezi Park resistance thousands were beaten, jailed, gassed and injured. Blindings and killings happened, too. The violence of the police was horrendous. The sultan used language that would make Allah blush with shame. The sultan told many gigantic, incredible lies that shamed the nation. I am sure this made Allah very upset. The sultan hates either boys or girls or both. Why? He wants them to remain forever separate. Separate swimming pools. Separate buses. Separate university dormitories. Separate times to use school cafeterias. Girls must wear trousers to school. The sultan said that Allah commanded all females to wear headscarves. Where the record of this command resides remains to be announced or ignored. And his disposition…for ten years he has been shouting and scowling, making people angry. Why such rage? He himself, as sultan, has become enormously rich. Why not lighten up a bit? Is it guilt? Sorry to sneak in some other emotion but the guy, I mean, the sultan, never, ever smiles. This is extraordinary for a politician, particularly if one is also a sultan. His highness should be happy in his powerfulness. Is there a psychological definition for this condition? And he seems to also hate Allah. The sultan is destroying everything Allah has made, like people and nature and women’s hair blowing in a fresh spring breeze…everything! And he is destroying his own country. What’s left?
This. The Ottoman sultans that our neo-sultan is so impressed with were a weird bunch. Very few of them seemed to like Turkish women. In fact most of their wives were from countries like Serbia, Ukraine, Romania, Hungary, France, Albania, France, Greece, Poland, and others. Circassian women were especially treasured for their beauty. So as time passed the sultans became less and less Turkish. The sultans were also a suspicious bunch. Before becoming sultans they had spent their entire lives in a place called “the cage.” A section of the Imperial Harem, it’s where the successors to the throne, remained under house arrest and surveillance. The sultans were not unknown to violence either. There was much intrigue, anxiety and madness, in the cage, suicides and murders, too. These bizarrely reclusive living conditions resulted in numerous psychological disorders. The last sultan Mehmet VI (Vahidettin), whose mother was Circassian, lived in the cage for 56 years (his entire life), before he became sultan and caliph in 1918. He was sent away on a British warship on 17 November 1922 by the new Turkish government under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. None of them wondered what Allah would think.
The neo-sultan, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, proposes that the best life was the old life, the good old days when most of the people couldn’t read. He offers a world of isolation and separation. A world of violence and intrigue. A world of ignorance and inequality, of power and suppression, of corruption and betrayal. But most of all, he unwittingly offers himself. History reminds us that those who at their end think they are gods always offer themselves. Violence and deceit. Rage and delusion. Greed and destruction. That's the offer.This is the world that he proposes to bring from Allah. Indeed this is a divine wrong.
''Geldikleri Gibi Giderler''
Cem Ryan Istanbul 8 November 2013
One will be able to imagine how necessary the carrying through of these measures was, in order to prove that our nation as a whole was no primitive nation, filled with superstitions and prejudices. Could a civilized nation tolerate a mass of people who let themselves be led by the nose by a herd of Şeyhs, Dedes,Seyyits, Çelebis, Babas, and Emirs, who entrusted their destiny and their lives to palm readers, magicians, dice-throwers and amulet sellers? Ought one to preserve in the Turkish State, in the Turkish Republic, elements and institutions such as those which had for centuries given the nation the appearance of being other than it really was?” Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, The Great Speech, 714