The Islamists had dreams, writes Levent Gültekin in Diken. Islamism grew as a reaction against a secular republic that anti-democratically excluded pious people from commercial and political networks. When they came to power, the Islamists were going to abolish the discrimination against the pious, and stand for freedom and equality. Yet, the hubris of power made them forget about being democratic. And unfortunately, they lacked a democratic culture in the first place. They replaced it with the worship of the leader. The leader has now purged all of his companions who had their origins in the Islamist ideology. The Islamists’ last hope, to whom they clung, was Ahmet Davutoğlu. Now, the vast majority of the Islamists in media, in the bureaucracy and in the party have been purged. Today, Islamist writers, journalists, intellectuals and politicians are in a state of great shock. It has now dawned on them that there’s no place left to them in the Turkey that they helped bring about.
By Halil Karaveli
November 3rd, 2015, The Turkey Analyst
The combination of military and deep state operations has rescued the power of the AKP, restoring its majority in parliament. Now, it is in President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s interest to call back the army from the Kurdish areas and offer the Kurds some kind of carrot, after wielding the stick has had the desired effect. The future stability of the AKP regime is to a significant extent going to depend on its success – or lack thereof – in coping with the Kurdish challenge. The all powerful Turkish president should probably not assume that he and his regime is out of the woods just because the Kurdish voters were intimidated back into the fold this time.
By Toni Alaranta
October 28th, 2015, The Turkey Analyst
The refugee crisis is only the most recent chapter in the complex relationship between the European Union and Turkey. The common assumption in EU circles was for many years that the ruling Islamists in Turkey were Euro-democrats. Now, the EU has re-engaged with Turkey, not as a supposed beacon of “Muslim democracy” but as a gatekeeper. But by re-embracing Erdoğan’s authoritarian regime in order ensure that it keeps refugees away from Europe, Angela Merkel and her EU colleagues send the message that they care little about the fate of Turkey’s authentically European-oriented, democratic constituencies.
By Halil Karaveli
October 16th, 2015, The Turkey Analyst
Turkey’s democrats, leftists and minorities have always been prey to the sinister machinations of the multi-tentacle Leviathan that is in charge of the country. Arrayed against them have been authoritarian right wing governments, the military and the deep state. The Ankara massacre is a reminder of who the victimized “others” in Turkey really are. It is also a reminder that the course of modern Turkish history has more than anything else been shaped by a sustained effort to stamp out any kind of challenge from the left. The deep reservoir of popular, ultraconservative, ultranationalist resentment has continued to yield politically instrumental mass murderers. It has ensured that fascism – whether in Kemalist or Islamic disguise – has always prevailed in Turkey.
Levent Gültekin, who is a former Islamist and the author of a recent, bestselling book on the moral “defeat” of political Islam in power in Turkey, writes on the Diken news site that the first thing that comes to our mind when we think about the Islamic world is: death. We are not even afraid of saying, as we have done after the accident in which nearly one thousand pilgrims were killed, “How nice it was that these blessed people died at a blessed time, at a blessed place”! The religious understanding that prevails in the Islamic world is one that exults not in life, but death. It is because this religious understanding prevails that Muslims are utterly incapable of building cities that you can live in; it is because they have surrendered to this understanding that they do not bother to work on how to live a better life. In reality, as Muslims we are the living dead. That is because our lives have no value in these lands. And because death is valued more, things such as serenity, ethics, friendship, courtesy, knowledge, being principled – in short, to live like a human being – have no value. We cannot nourish any hope that we are ever going to be able to change this understanding, which prevents us from being like humans, and have it accepted by the Islamic world. So let us at least cease to preserve this religion – which is condemned to this understanding – as the focus of our lives.
The Turkey Analyst is a publication of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute & Silk Road Studies Joint Center, designed to bring authoritative analysis and news on the rapidly developing domestic and foreign policy issues in Turkey. It includes topical analysis, as well as a summary of the Turkish media debate.