Atatürk’s children vs. Muhammed’s followers

Ιούλ 7th, 2007 | | Κατηγορία: English, Κόσμος, Πολιτική | Email This Post Email This Post | Print This Post Print This Post |

by Zeynep Pelin Ataman

As a Turkish citizen living abroad, just two weeks before the elections in Turkey, I am particularly concerned with understanding Turkish politicians and my compatriots’ behavior. From the beginning of this election process, unfortunately, I observe the syndrome of a traumatized society! For many of us, these could be healthy contractions of a democracy but for me the scene is alarming and I tried to find reasons for this fragmented massive political psychology.

The simplest kind of trauma is due to natural causes like an earthquake. The second reason of trauma could be a manmade like in Chernobyl and the third one, which is the most serious, is the trauma deliberately caused by others in the society. Here, I talk about terrorism, assassination of politicians, genocide, civil war and the polarization of political powers. This third reason hurts more than the other reasons. When we live this as individuals, we give some psychological reactions like regression. We go back to utilizing mechanism that was available to us as a child…We are looking for heroes who are going to take care of us. We start loosing our individuality. We hide behind our heroes/leaders blindly…“Us and them” psychology starts…Thus, the society is fragmented…People are extremely preoccupied by differences of ‘others’. Groups purify their language according to their group’s jargon. Prior to elections and in the light of this psychology, I see two groups in Turkish society as if both are traumatized because of the each others’ massive behavior and consequently have been fragmentized: One is Atatürk’s children, the other is Muhammed’s followers.

The Turkish army was protecting Turkish citizens from communism for years but Islamist fundamentalism had already done what communism was promising

Muhammed’s followers identify themselves with headscarf and other religious symbols. As Turkey is not a homogeneous country, it is not important if they are Kurdish, Arabic, Caucasian, etc. -even coming from different ethnic origins could be better because it may remind of the existence of many tribes like in the first years of Islam- but the criteria of being from the ‘group’ is to have the same belief: Islam; Thus, the big and mystic protection of Islam’s tent is at their disposal! At the premises of Erdogan and others who grew up in the Islamic sect’s education, these individuals could feel themselves very important whereas during many years, under the republic secular pressure they were regressed due the modern reforms which could not be standardized and digested all over the country…They ended up by identifying themselves with religious figures who have been victorious through Islamist roads like sect leaders. The Turkish army was protecting Turkish citizens from communism for years but Islamist fundamentalism had already done what communism was promising. They were under the big protection of the big magical green tent and the life would be more equal! Even the uniform was ready (head scarf and other symbols). Lawyers, engineers, doctors, intellectuals have started joining them and realising that through belonging to this big group, they were having a bigger share from economic cake.

How were the others reacting? In the 90’s, Atatürk’s children had already started complaining about the threat that these Muhammed’s friends represented for their immortal project called the Republic.

The grand children of this long run project began to get angry because religion’s green tent was providing better protection than red Republican tent. They had to share the economical cake by migrants coming from the countryside. The regression among them started by loosing their important places in the society; their snobbism, looking down on ladies with headscarves walking and driving in Turkish Champs-Elysées has been followed immediately behaving in the name of their father Atatürk and protect the Republic with their flags…They were against the EU and all kinds of foreign hand in the Turkish territory, who were not able to understand the Turkish way of secularism…They remember very often the independence war of Turkish people. It was better for their children to go to dance courses than to pray five times a day. They were not against the fact of praying secretly but they hate all religious symbols in the public and daily life and felt confident when the army protected their secularism. The public area, including the president’s wife’s hair should be “without smell and color” in order to be at the same distance to all citizens. I assume that they have never asked themselves if they were in a same distance with all citizens whenever they were soliciting power delegation from immigrant Anatolians. In their reforms, they never integrated a different form of state-individual relationship than the Ottoman tradition. In fact, from the state-individual dynamics point of view, the secular Turks were repeating the Ottoman mistake and not trying to break feudal chain in the far regions of Anatolia.

from the state-individual dynamics point of view, the secular Turks were repeating the Ottoman mistake and not trying to break feudal chain in the far regions of Anatolia

Atatürk’s strategy was to avoid all kind of nationalistic tendency based on ‘ethnic origin’, and had invited the idea that all the classes work for the creation of the new Turkey. Otherwise, he could not have been successful in having all Turkish ethnicities’ and class’ support during the war…At the same time, we may consider his reforms as a trauma for Turks who became “nation” after being “ümmet”1 during the Ottoman era. But the fact that Atatürk was embracing all ethnicities and classes under the tent of Turkish feeling, his “state” targeted nationalism, and the success story of the independence war against western countries could not be strong enough to prevent “fissures” in the young artificial society. Atatürk was promoting western values like secularism as a tool in the civilization process of the country and sine qua non condition of human rights…Especially, Turkish women should be represented in all institutions. Thanks to his prescription, old and sick Ottoman has been replaced by the young Turkish and this one could find its dignity in “a modern sense”. Atatürk’s reforms were long running and needed more care during the years during which the Turkish army and Atatürk’s successors have neglected or made mistakes while pretending to protect them… On the other hand, the remedy prescribed by Atatürk could not be digested throughout Turkey and even made some complications in deep Anatolians brains. These complications caused the discussion of our days which targets the concept of the woman dignity. Islamist wing argues that the dignity of the woman pass through her headscarf while Atatürk’s children see it as a threat to human rights and woman’s rights…

After the 1980’s coup d’état, in order to fight against the communism, the accession of Imam Hatip schools2 graduates to the Universities has been allowed by the military government but the Turkish Generals were not aware that they were creating weapons against the secularism as the USA had done in Afghanistan during the Soviet invasion…The “left” was castrated by the coup d’état, and the religion was strengthened by the same army…

If you ask the reasons behind this traumatized and fragmented society, I would go as far as saying that the trauma is not only based on one reason; it is a combination of the undigested reforms of the Republic, the lack of the standardization in the country and the rejection and ignorance of naively religious citizens by the Turkish intelligencia…

In the 70s, while the Turkish intelligencia and its feudal dynamics, contradictory to its nature and duties, was imposing the social communism as the only saver, Islamists were hugging all religious citizens who had not yet digested the Republic’s secularism under the feeling of believing to one Allah and to one prophet…They got the support of the army and the governments following the coup d’état because they were correctly fighting against communism. The feeling of belonging to one group makes one feel equal and it can save you from your regression and inferiority complexes due to the fact of being rejected during long years by the elites of the country while being only an ‘instrument’ to their power request during elections. Islamists have already discovered that the religion was indispensable for Turkish people and were using the same psychoanalytic treatment as Atatürk by making repressed individuals feel important. They would be pro-Europe and were launching their identity as an ex-victim of the intolerant Turkish political and legal climate and new savers of human rights. When they were in the government, things were different ! Astonishing it is to see the Turkish Prime Minister suing caricaturists for having drawn him like a cat, while the former is acting the champion of human rights and especially freedom of expression.

In an academic sense, the reason of this pathological distinction can be a reflection of subjective beliefs; it can be a vehicle of expressing accumulated frustration; and it can be utilitarian activity aimed at certain changes for the better or desirable. Failure to understand such complexity and to emphasize the supposedly crucial role of a single factor may lead to under analysis of this pathology as a new threat in front of the democracy in Turkey.

This time, on the market there is no product other than twisted nationalism and Europeanized Islam. But it seems that Muhammed’s green tent is becoming stronger than Atatürk’s hug and Turks may choose the bigger and stronger protection as a product of the year! Caveat Emptor!

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Notes:

  1. muslim community[πίσω]
  2. In Turkey, an Imam Hatip school (Turkish: İmam Hatip Lisesi) is a secondary education institution. As the name suggests, they were originally founded in lieu of a vocational school to train government employed imams; after madrasas in Turkey were abolished by Tevhid-i Tedrisat Kanunu (Unification of the Education Act) as a part of Atatürk’s reforms.[πίσω]

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  1. Good article

    Are there staunch liberal-libertarians in Turkey?

  2. Why am I reading this? Who cares what happens in turkey? Guys, if we continue like this we will never enter the Parliament. Just a friendly note…

  3. racist

    Turkey is our neighbour

    try to realize it

    Lots of greek newspapers(even conservative ones)
    have articles about turkish politics

    So?

  4. GO(O)D news, mr atheist, All the citizens in Turkey are liberals, «ela mni sto topo sou».

    Who cares? Manussos, F.S don’t enter in the Parliament because, i suppose, there cares for all the World.

    Good analyse from Zeynep, but is necessary also a traduction by roosters.

  5. @ab
    the question is not whether all Turkish citizens are liberals.
    The question is if there is a liberal movement in Turkey large enough to act as buffer between the children of Ataturk and the children of God, without prejudice to both. A liberal movement that will -in time- lead our neighbour away from the «infancy» of political consciousness/identity into adulthood (i.e. no need of «paternalising father figures» or «homely green tents«)
    And the sooner this is achieved, the better for them -and us!
    (mind you, aren’t we also in a similar need?)
    Excellent analysis!

  6. And I’m afraid that the answer to your question is «no».

  7. excusme for the greeks but i am not so knowledge in english.
    Noμίζω ότι η Τουρκία κάνει βήματα φιλελευθερισμού, όπως έκανε και η Ελλάδα στην αρχή της μεταπολίτευση. Αφού την τελευταία 4ετία απέδειξαν τη δυνατότητα πολιτικής συγκατοίκησης Σεζέρ-Ερντογκάν, τώρα καλούνται να πετύχουν τη συγκατοίκηση εντός του κράτους, το οποιο αποτελείται μόνο απο στελέχη του Κεμαλισμού, άν δεν κάνω λάθος. Η εποχή χαρακτηρίζεται σαν μετάβαση απο το μονικομματικό κράτος στο δικομματικό, εγχείρημα σταθερό και μάλλον φιλελευθερο. Υπ αυτή την ένοια εκτιμώ ότι η αγωνία, οφείλεται στη ζωντάνια του ύφους της Ζείνέπ παρά στην ανάλυση που πρεσβεύει υψηλές προσδοκίες.
    Υπ αυτήν την έννοια, μία φιλελεύθερη θεωρία δεν χρειάζεται να βοηθήσει να κερδίσουν τις εκλογές τα παιδιά του «Θεού», γιατί αυτό έχει ήδη δρομολογηθεί, αλλά να ανησυχεί να μην υπονομευτεί ο σχεδιαζόμενος δικομματισμός χάριν ενός νέου «θεϊκού» μονοκομματικου λαϊκισμού, θεωρώντας σίγουρο ότι έρχονται άφθονα γεγονότα να το επαληθεύουν. (Θυμίζοντας την περίοδο μετά το ’85). Διότι δεν είναι Φιλελεύθερο ένα εναλλασόμενο μονοκομματικό σύστημα, ούτε, φυσικά, δικομματικό.

  8. Παράρτημα,
    Ο Διόδωρος σήμερα στο Βήμα έβαλε γυαλιά σε όλους τους Οικονομολόγους, με μεγάλη σοβαρότητα και σατυρικό τρόπο, αναδεικνύει την σημαντικότερη πτυχή της Πάρνηθας, αντιγράφω ένα κομμάτι.
    «Εθνικός πλούτος
    Τι άχρηστο έθνος: όλοι επιδίδονται στο παραδοσιακό μοιρολόι της καταμέτρησης των εκτάσεων που έγιναν στάχτη και κάρβουνο – κάπου 40.000 στρέμματα στην Πάρνηθα, άλλες 60.000 στο Πήλιο, μας κάνουν 100.000. Κανείς δεν υπολογίζει ότι αυτά τα καμένα δάση θα γίνουν οικόπεδα. Πόσο να κοστίζει ένα στρέμμα γης στο Πήλιο ή στην Πάρνηθα; 10.000 ευρώ; Λίγα μού φαίνονται – ως και οι μετανάστες θα μπορούσαν να αγοράσουν, να φύγουν από τις υπόγειες αποθήκες που τις βάφτισαν διαμερίσματα οι ιδιοκτήτες τους και τις νοίκιασαν σε τιμές ρετιρέ. 100.000 ευρώ; Πολλά μού φαίνονται – ας πούμε, λοιπόν, 50.000 ευρώ το στρέμμα επί 100.000 στρέμματα μάς κάνει 5 δισεκατομμύρια ευρώ, τόσο αυξήθηκε ο εθνικός οικοπεδικός πλούτος μας από τις πυρκαϊές…………»!

    Μπορείς να διαφωνεί κανείς με τον Διόδωρο, οπότε με οικονομικές θεωρίες ή freek economics χωρίς οικολογικοπολιτικές σκοπιμοτητες να αποδείξεις άν η πυρκαγιά είναι ζημιά στην εθνική οικονομία. Ποιός αποζημιώνει ποιόν, κτλ.

  9. Dear GB,

    Hope that your freaky-economic statement is a joke! Turning our valuable forest and natural park into a third world mess (suggest to build tens of polikatoikies there, it will be fine for everyone of us) should be a bad bad bad bad joke, innit? Οτι χτηστικε χτηστικε στην Αθηνα, αν θες να χτισεις να πας αλλου ή να μην χτισεις. Δεν θα πεθανουμε για 5-10 εργολαβους.

  10. Is a joke but very serious joke.
    Oσο δεν απαντά η ελληνική κοινωνία στη προτροπή σου,»άν θες να κτίσεις να πας αλλού», χρειάζεται να απαντάς, Πού αλλού;
    Διότι ώς οικονομολόγος γνωρίζεις ότι όσο μειώνεται η προσφορά οικοπέδων τόσο ευκολότερα τα κέρδη, τόσο πιο εμπρηστική η φωτιά.

    Ο οικοδομικός τομέας δεν είναι 5-10 αλλά 1000000.

  11. einai mia megali industry alla den exw skopo na pe8anw gia na zisoun 10000 plakades p.x.

    btw epeidi ftiaxnw to spiti mou eida ti fara einai..apo idravlikous ws plakades paidia 15 xronwn apo thn alvania na kanoun skata doulia k na zitane oi mastoroi meta parapanw lefta me to etsi 8elw. iparxoun polla xoria apomonomena h mporouse na ginei anapti3i se stile ekalis, ka8ara oikistikes perioxes me dasos k kipous k oxi dash apo mpeta.

  12. My friend atheist, you figured out that I am a «rascist» from what I wrote? For you and your buddies I am rascist because I don’t care about turkey… Are you kidding me? What’s your problem «dude»?

  13. «…se stile ekalis»,…. na kanoun skata doulia .
    Εβαλα πρώτα την επιθυμία σου και μετά το αποτέλεσμα.

    «καθαρά οικιστικές περιοχές» και να τρώνε βαλανίδια;

  14. Dear GB..se oles tis xwres tou ditikou kosmou singete ayto…exeis ta proastia gia ka8ara oikistikous xorous, 1-2 emporika kentra se style kifisias alla ta proastia einai ka8ara gia katoikia, oute ena magazi. k fysika spitia me kipous klp..panta mesa omws sta oikistiko isto

  15. SO the question is ataturk or grey wolves??? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0RPqAS9myU

  16. The future elections in Turkey seems to be very important for the local Economy and the European orientation of the Country…
    Islam did kept together many years different Nations but now in the next step towards the European identity, it seems to be an obstacle…Every Turkish citizen must realise that Europe is not ready to accept an Islamic Democracy in its Union!
    Everyone can keep his faith strong as well as the morality and values but the State must take over the controle from anyone who could play political games in the name of God….
    Let’s all hope that the spirit of modenism will make people choose properly the future leadership to lead them where they always belong…The Eastern frontiers of the Western culture…

  17. wow!bilingual troll!

  18. The European Union was founded by Maritainist Catholics, deGaule, Gasperi
    and Adenaur. Erdogan is a Maritainist Muslim. His politics is more
    consistent witht he rest of Europe than Ataturk’s. Ataturk belongs on the
    same ash heap of history as his statist contemporaries, Zapata, Hitler,
    Lenin, and Chang Kai Shek. Greece was only able to be a «Great» country only
    via the Black Sea. Bringing Turkey, Georgia and Ukraine into the EU and NATO
    is the way to accomplish this. Already the Black Sea institutions are based
    in Thessaloniki, which is seen as the capital of both the Black Sea and
    Balkan regions. A Black Sea «Union» would be a great way to counterbalance,
    mediate, buffer, and exploit the Islamic and Muscovite worlds. It is even in
    American interests to get the Ukrainian church to break from Moscow and
    rejoin Constantinople, which it would have to do, by canon law, if both
    Constantinople and Kyiv were inside the EU. This would split the Orthodox
    Christian world evenly between Constantinople and Moscow. By contrast, if
    the Ecumenical Patriarchate were to ever leave Constantinople (even for the
    Byzantine co-capital of Thessaloniki), it would make it very difficult to
    deny Moscow leadership over all the other Patriarchates, which is why the
    slavist churches provoked the recent Turkish ruling.

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