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Forty Million Traitors!

Forty Million Traitors!

“[his] pursuit of power for himself and [his country] is boundless. In fact, in his mind, [his and his country’s] destiny are one and indistinguishable.

“He is ready for retaliation and, not without reason, sees himself as surrounded by enemies. But he ignores his role in creating those enemies, and righteously threatens his targets. The conspiracy theories he spins are not merely for popular consumption … but genuinely reflect his paranoid mindset … He is convinced that the United States, Israel [and others] have been in league for the purpose of eliminating him.”

Dear Honourable prosecutor; please do not haste to draft an indictment about this columnist for the paragraphs above, thinking they are his opinion about ‘your’ president. The analysis in quotation marks above was written by Dr. Jerrold M. Post, as presented to the US House Armed Services Committee: “Explaining Saddam Hussein: a Psychological Profile,” in December 1990. Of course, any resemblance to any living politician is purely coincidental.

All the same the pre-election debate on whether the local elections of March 31st pose an existential threat to Turkey reminds one of Mr Post’s psychological analysis of the late Hussein.

The coalition of Turkish Islamists and ultra-nationalists have been trumpeting at election rallies that this is not just a ballot box to elect mayors but a critical test for Turkey’s national survival. In other words, the ruling alliance claims Turkey may not survive if voters opted for the opposition.

“In fact, in his mind, [his and his country’s] destiny are one and indistinguishable.”

Also read:  Ankara Shuffles With New Cabinet Expectations #AKPIntraWar

Turkey looks like Saddam’s Iraq in 1990 minus free –but probably rigged– elections. Turks, like Saddam’s Iraqis, fear that their country may not survive if their leader does not win at the ballot box. That their leader’s and their country’s destiny are one and indistinguishable.

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s pre-election rhetoric will most likely work. But it is inconsistent with Mr Erdoğan’s portrayal of Turkey and with the most basic norms of democratic culture.

Mr Erdoğan has thrilled masses with his claim that Turkey is just too powerful to be stopped to rise and rise. This is a blatant lie if Turkey’s survivability depends on which mayors voters should elect. How many too powerful countries in the world would collapse just because voters elected mayors from the opposition ranks?

And, if the ruling alliance is correct, why should we hold elections? Especially if they pose an existential threat to our country. Better not to hold elections, not to elect mayors if Turkey’s survivability is in danger.

And if the opposition block wins, as expected, more or less half the nationwide vote on March 31st it will mean half of Turkey do not care about the survivability of their country. That makes about 40 million traitors in a country of 80 million people. Too many traitors. Too few patriots in a such a proud nation…

About The Author

Burak Bekdil

Burak Bekdil is an Ankara-based Turkish political columnist who wrote for Hurriyet Daily News [formerly Turkish Daily News] for 29 years. He has covered Turkey for the U.S. weekly Defense News since 1997. Previously, Bekdil worked as Ankara Bureau Chief for Dow Jones Newswires and CNBC-e television. He contributes to annual national defense sector reviews for anti-corruption institutions like Transparency International and Global Integrity. Bekdil is a fellow at the Middle East Forum and regularly writes for the Gatestone Institute and Middle East Quarterly. He also contributes to Perspectives, a journal of the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Bar-Ilan University, Tel Aviv.James Cuno, art historian and President of the J. Paul Getty Trust, describes Bekdil as "a frequent critic of Prime Minister [now president] Recep Tayyip Erdogan." In 2001, a Heavy Crimes Court in Ankara sentenced Bekdil to a suspended, 20-month prison sentence for his column in which he satirized corruption in the judiciary.Bekdil's comments, quotes and articles have been published in international media outlets including the Wall Street Journal, The Economist, BBC, The Guardian, Reuters, Associated Press, Bloomberg, Los Angeles Times, The Commentator, New York Times, Kathimerini, National Review Online, Algemeiner, NPR, Washington Times, Die Presse, Haaretz, The Jerusalem Post, Toronto Star, Financial Times, Al-Monitor, Le Figaro, ABC, El Pais, Stern, Al-Arabiya, Helsingin Sanomat, Racjonalista, Defence Greece, Moyen-Orient, Courier International, ISN Security Watch and Coloquio (of Congreso Judio Latinoamerico) and the Jewish Chronicle (London).(Born: Ankara, 1966; Undergraduate: Department of Economics, Middle East Technical University, Ankara; Post-graduate: Department of Economics, University of Surrey, United Kingdom)

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