The Honorable Mark Udall Unites States Senate Hart Office Building, Suite SH-317 Washington, DC 20510 USA
Dear Senator Udall:
I was pleased to hear your remark about Egypt needing another Ataturk. So does Tunisia, Algeria, Libya, Jordan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. But most importantly, so does today’s Turkey need another Ataturk. The secular, democratic nation of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is dying, Senator Udall.
The political situation today in Turkey is dire. America is on the brink of losing a secular ally, so profoundly destructive is its ruling party. The Turkish army has become a laughing stock, compromised by the Islamist fascist government. Only yesterday, 11 February, 163 military officers, including generals, were arrested in a nonsensical, government-induced coup scam called “Sledgehammer.” Incredibly, most of these arrested officers (60%) are on active duty. The security of the nation is shaken. Sadly, the enlightened, secular country that was founded by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk is in ruins. The Islamist ruling party has taken all branches of government under its control, including the last bastions of protection for democracy: the judiciary and the army.
Today’s Turkey has become the Germany of 1933, a fascist police state. People who speak out live in fear of reprisals. Constitutionally guaranteed human rights are widely ignored. There is a prison gulag where dissenters are held without due process. I have attended the “show” trials at Silivri Prison numerous times. I have observed the travesty of justice that prevails there. It smells to high heaven, Senator Udall. This tragedy is being played out right under America’s nose. As a member of the Armed Services and Intelligence committees, you can see the vital need for a muscular, democratic, secular Turkey. You and your committees would be interested to know that such a Turkey is today a myth.
I write this to you with on-the-ground experience, having lived in Turkey for over a decade. I, too, have become a target of the ruling power’s smear campaign for my writing on blogs, websites and Turkish publications in support of the political and social principles of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk. And, as a concerned citizen, I have also written to higher authorities, detailing the demise of Ataturk’s Turkey.
On Inauguration Day, 20 January 2009, I advised President Obama of the precarious state of democracy in secular Turkey. I received no acknowledgement from the White House. This letter was also published by the Ataturk Society of America located in Washington DC, a few blocks from the White House. http://www.ataturksociety.org/voa/Ataturk_winter2009_final_web.pdf (pp 20-23). Undeterred, I wrote three additional letters to the president warning him of the treachery of the Turkish ruling party and the paradoxical complicity of the US government in the demise of Turkey. Again no response. These four letters render a detailed and accurate picture of the nature of the peril that confronts the nation. They have enjoyed wide circulation in “unofficial” circles. I enclose them with this letter since you are one of the few Americans—besides President Obama during his May 2009 visit to Turkey—who have invoked the name of this great man, Ataturk.
From your “Egypt” comment, it seems that you surely must understand the breadth and depth of Ataturk, one of history’s greatest military commanders, revolutionary thinkers and social reformers. It is the work of this profoundly unique man that is now so demeaned by the current ruling party in Turkey. You suggested him as a paragon for the “new” Egypt. Yes. Yes. Yes. Would that you and your fellow senators give the same inspirational advice to Turkey. Time is of the essence, Senator Udall…Turkey’s democracy is dying.
James C. Ryan, Ph.D. Istanbul
Enclosures: Brief Bio Letter to President Obama 20 January 2009 Letter to President Obama 20 October 2009 Letter to President Obama 3 January 2010 Letter to President Obama 20 July 2010