Neo-Ottoman Fascism

by    /  April 28, 2017  / Comments Off on Neo-Ottoman Fascism

Referendum frauds lead Turkish protesters to say NO! WE HAVE WON!

Following the fraudulent referendum, the government detained several protesters from their homes. Anyone critical of the fraud is considered a traitor. How dare you question the wisdom and rightfulness of Chief Erdoğan?

The dream of reviving the “glorious” imperialism of the late 16th century accompanies the rise of Neo-Ottoman fascism in Turkey.

Columnist İbrahim Karagül of the pro-government daily Yeni Şafak (New Dawn) claims Turkey has begun to play “big” again, without limiting itself to Anatolia (Asia Minor). Such an aggressive and imperialistic approach directly contradicts Mustafa Kemal Atatürk’s motto, “Peace in homeland, peace in the world.”

  1. Wor(l)ds in Danger, a column by Tarik Günersel
  2. Tarık Günersel is a poet and playwright.
  3. He studied English Literature at Istanbul University. A self-exile after the military coup in 1980, he spent four years in Saudi Arabia with his wife Füsun and their daughter Barış, teaching English.
  4. He worked at Istanbul Metropolitan Theater during 1991-2014 as a dramaturg. He proposed World Poetry Day in 1997 which was accepted by PEN International and declared by UNESCO as the 21st of March.
  5. His translations into Turkish include works by Samuel Beckett, Vaclav Havel and Arthur Miller. His works include The Nightmare of a Labyrinth (mosaic of poems and stories), and How’s your slavery goin’?
  6. Tarik Günersel
  7. His Oluşmak (To Become), a “life guide for myself,” includes ideas from world wisdom of the past four millennia. Ex-president of PEN Turkey, he was on PEN International Board during 2010-12.
  8. In 2013 he initiated the Earth Civilization Project with the support of several intellectuals from various parts of the planet.
  9. He has written the libretti of Selman Ada’s operas. He has recently cooperated with the Israeli composer Daniel Galay: “Dancing Anna Frank” was first performed in Tel Aviv in December 2016. He has acted on stage and screen and directed some of his plays.

Electoral Board

Turkey’s Electoral Board refused the objections against its decision to accept ballots without the official stamp. The Board accepted a decisive amount of “yes” votes, leading to the falsified result.

The main opposition party CHP (Cumhuriyet Halk Partisi, The People’s Republican Party of Turkey) will take the issue to European Court of Human Rights. But Erdoğan couldn’t care less; he wants to get rid of all the ties that compel him to stick to democracy. He claims that the European observers who criticized the referendum are simply a bunch of terrorists.

PEN International Protests

PEN International has critized the pre-referendum process as well as the “referendum” and its aftermath:

“Voters have the right to information on all views, including dissenting voices, in sufficient time. The need for the authorities to guarantee access to independent and pluralistic media is more important than ever in the context of a crucial referendum such as this one,” said Jennifer Clement, President of PEN International.

Novelist, social thinker and former International President of PEN Writers’ Association, John Ralston Saul has written a critical statement: “Even under these profoundly undemocratic conditions imposed on the no side, the government was unable to carry a majority of the voters. So Mr Erdoğan has lost in the referendum.”

Neo-Ottoman Imperialism

200 years ago, some Ottoman Sultans took steps towards Westernization, such as the establishment of a parliament in the middle of the 19th century. The multi-party parliamentarian regime in Turkey has already had a relatively long history—with a few “time-outs.”

Erdoğan has recently criticized the past 200 years of the parliamentary regime in Turkey, including the Westernization process.

The Neo-Ottomanists (most of whom are also Islamists) are trying to seek revenge for the collapse of the empire by attacking the republic established under the leadership of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Believe it or not, some of them aim to replace the Republic of Turkey with the Ottoman State, with Erdoğan as the Sultan and Caliphate. They talk about “a century of intermediate phase” –implying the Republic of Turkey.

Does Erdoğan want that much? Even if he does not, he has been breeding so much hatred among the ranks of his followers that there is a clear and immediate danger.

Despite the profoundly undemocratic conditions imposed on the No side, the government was unable to carry a majority of the voters. So Mr Erdoğan has lost in the referendum.

A Hearing and a Dream

I have recently attended a court hearing of the journalist Mehmet Baransu who has been in prison for two years. He is just one of the many journalists in prison without conviction. His young wife, Mrs. Nesibe Baransu, burst into tears as she tried to summarize the hardships the couple have been forced into.

All the imprisoned writers, publishers, translators and journalists in the world are our friends, whether we have ever met in person or not.

I have a dream, as well: To have a chat with them all—outside their prison cells.

A Last Thought

Last but not least: EU and the USA should refrain from giving messages that sound in favor of the Gülenist movement and other terrorist organizations.

About the Author

Poet, playwright, actor, and director Tarık Günersel worked at Istanbul City Theater as a dramaturg. His works include Breaths of Infinity (a mosaic of poems) and My 300th Birthday Speech (short stories). His Becoming consists of his aphorisms and various ideas from world wisdom. His plays include Billennium, Nero and Agrippina, Sociology of Shit, Threat and Virtually Yours. He has written four libretti for the composer Selman Ada: Ali Baba & 40, Blue Dot, Forbidden Love, and Another Planet. His translations into Turkish include works by Arthur Miller, Samuel Beckett, Vaclav Havel and Savyon Liebrecht. His presentation of World Poetry Day to PEN International in 1997 led to its adoption by UNESCO. As the former president of PEN Turkey Center he was elected to PEN International Board in Tokyo from 2010 to 2012. In 2013 he initiated the Earth Civilization Project with the collaboration of several intellectuals from around the planet.

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Fearless, Ink.