A FEW days ago, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said, “We are working towards rebuilding the State.” This is part of the new strategy which started after the failed coup attempt on July 15, 2016.
However, amid the hype on rebuilding the State, the Turkish security authorities arrested tens of thousands of people, excluding thousands of others who escaped and sought refuge in European countries for fear of being arrested based on mere suspicion.
The cleaning operations of Turkey’s institutions and society from those described by members of Justice and Development Party as “supporters of the coup” are open and have no limits.
The current situation in Turkey reminds me of a joke which became a trend in Libya during the rule of the late Colonel Muammar Gaddafi. It was about order he issued to chop off the tail of every camel. At the time, two desert foxes met and one of them asked the other, “Why are you in a hurry and turning behind in fear?”
The other fox responded, “Gaddafi has ordered to chop off the tail of every camel”. Puzzled, the fox said, “But you are a fox, why are you afraid?” The other fox replied, “My tail will be chopped off before they realize that I am a fox.” This joke applies to the current situation in Turkey, where many will pay the price for being under suspicion.
Therefore, the fear that is currently engulfing Turkey is not a good indication. Perhaps, those who have been arrested and those who have escaped will never find someone to restore their dignity, just like what happened to the first democratically elected Turkish Prime Minister, Adnan Menderes. The late Menderes was executed by the Turkish generals in 1961 for turning against secularism and spreading religious ideas for the revival of the Ottoman Empire.
At the time, Erdogan’s father was one of Menderes’ supporters. Perhaps, the father’s stories about the military instilled hatred towards them in the heart of the ‘Brotherhood’ politician who became known for his tough stances against the generals’ rule and their dominance. Immediately when the opportunity came, they were expelled from the military institution and political life. Nevertheless, if the moral dignity of Menderes was restored in 2012, a half century after his execution, it is clear that those who were arrested and fled for being under suspicion will never be exonerated. This will create a series of revenge which will prevent Turkey from developing.
This country has its weight in the Islamic world, so for it to be preoccupied with the role it played for the last two decades means a setback in combating those with ill eyes against it and against similar Arab nations. Today, all Muslims and Arabs, who pinned their hopes on Erdogan, are in fear that he will fall in the same trap where Gaddafi fell, in terms of oppressing every opposition voice.
All Muslims and Arabs, who pinned their hopes on Erdogan, wish that the ‘Gaddafi Human Rights Award’ which Erdogan received in 2010 — a year before the fall of Gaddafi — did not get into his head and affected his political course to become one followed by the former Libyan leader. All that remains to be said is: The Justice and Development Party won in the last election by 49.5 percent.
Despite winning majority of the parliamentary seats, there remain 50.5 percent of the people whose opinions Erdogan must listen to, so he does not transform himself into a civilian dictator. If that happens, this great country, for which we wish the best, would be transformed from military dictatorship to ‘Brotherhood’ dictatorship with flowery ties and black coats
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times