HOW TO WRITE ABOUT FASCIST TURKEY, TRUMP AND DESTRUCTION
New York City January 21, 2019
I thought the first sentence should be about Turkish President Erdogan’s highly exaggerated amateur soccer skills and how his Hitlerian security team emulates him by polishing its footwork upon the heads, ribs and groins of Washington D.C. peaceful protesters.
Then I’d follow up with a riff about the sybaritic Donald Trump’s fixation on the “most beautiful piece of chocolate cake that you’ve ever seen.” The distasteful fusion of war and a piece of cake was his gastronomic prelude to launching fifty-nine Tomahawk missiles into Syria, a sovereign country seemingly condemned to perpetual destruction.
At least fifteen people died in Trump’s post-dessert attack including five children. War and pieces of cake—another day, another murder, another war crime however you slice it. Perhaps the devil’s food made him do it?
My mind, mired in that obscene moment of presidential table-babble between chocolate cake and impending death, I said to myself, I said… Self, am I a nut job or what? Why do such people rise to plague me?
Thirteen years living in tumultuous Turkey, now back in Trump’s Meat-Axe America where presidential rudeness rules. Yes, I am a nut job. Thank you, Self, for asking.
I lived through the destruction of Turkey’s secular democracy done in the name of religious piety, head-scarf freedom and vast amounts of stolen cash stored in a seemingly infinite number of shoe boxes. And plunder, called privatization. And violence.
My good friend, a distinguished artist, was nearly fatally stabbed outside an Istanbul art gallery by an Erdoganista.
The Gezi Park demonstrations, more like police riots, where legally-assembled protesters were gassed, beaten and murdered by police and vigilante street-gangs.
Thirteen grinding years of writing and protesting against the relentless scorched earth politics of Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Culture and the arts? Get thee to a mosque instead.
Thirteen years of seeing the bright-hearted, patriotic Turkish youth, thumped, maimed and killed by government design.
Thirteen years of trumped-up kangaroo courts with the drowsy judges convicting scores of journalists, artists, military officers, literally anyone opposed to the government. The Through-The-Looking-Glass evidence. Franz Kafka and George Orwell could do no better. And the lies…oh the lies, flagrantly reeking.
And not to forget the massive corruption scandal in December 2013. Money laundering, bribery, gold smuggling, conspiracy and fraud. Remember the names: Donald Trump, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Reza Zarrab, Michael Flynn, Bilal Erdogan. The case lives somewhere in the US Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.
Thirteen years of thuggish politics and governmental lying, cheating and stealing. Bizarrely, Erdogan cited Hitler’s government as a good example of the one-man-rule presidential system he craved.
Then it happened! 2016, Erdogan’s “gift from God.”—that’s what he called it. It was his “Reichstag” moment in a Keystone-Cop military coup. Tanks stuck in rush-hour traffic on the bridge over the Bosphorus. A Gang-That-Couldn’t-Shoot-Straight assassination attempt on Erdogan at a crowded summer resort hotel. All this resulted in Hitlerian emergency powers granted to Erdogan, renewable every three months. And Erdogan became a genuine card-carrying tyrant. The national emergency continues ad nauseam as did Hitler’s Enabling Act of 1933.
In Turkey today, all power is executive power. All functions of government, the entire apparatus of the state has been deconstructed and brought into line. The spirits of Mussolini, Hitler and fascist philosophy are pleased. And the Erdogan family is doing quite well. As is the gilded Trump gaggle. As Turkey went, so Trump’s America is going. First attack the courts. Then the media. Then the constitution. The drill is the same.
As with Erdogan, vast and politically powerful financial resources fueled and sustain the rise of Trump. Remember Steve Bannon of the alt-right Breitbart News? Remember the Trumpian mission described as “the deconstruction of the administrative state?” Remember Bannon’s “deconstruction” word thrown around to give their wrecking-ball mission cocktail-party gravitas?
Erdogan, like Javert, relentlessly hounds his enemies, in Turkey and abroad. Like Trump, all opposition voices are “terrorists” and “enemies of the people.” The New York Knicks’ Enes Kanter is the most recent example. But Turkey’s premier soccer player, Hakan Şükür, once a favorite of Erdogan’s, now runs a bakery in Palo Alto, California. He, too, was chased out of his country. Now high-end immigrants, neither can go home again.
So what does Turkey have to do with America? And what does Erdogan have to do with Trump? And “deconstruction,” what of it? Remove the “con” and you get “destruction.” No other word can describe today’s Turkey. As for the United States…look out the window and what do you see? Can you speak the word?