What is Happening in Turkey?

What do the government protesters in Turkey want? What are they trying to achieve? Is Erdogan a "dictator"? Is Turkey like Libya and Egypt or even Iran?

If you have been following the likes of CNN, the Wall Street Journal, and the Economist, the answer you would get to the above questions would be one of damning judgment.

Now, if you believed in all that without critically analyzing the situation with its context from all angles, i.e., without doing your own homework, that would be unfortunate. Does the existence of protests always imply a just call? If the tea-partyers in the US protest President Obama, does that mean that Obama administration is necessarily at fault? Similarly, viewing the protests in arguably undemocratic countries like Iran, Egypt and even Ukraine with the same lens as those happening in Turkey is, in my opinion, committing the logical fallacy of "destroying the exception."

Here, I am going to give you another perspective to ponder. A perspective whose details will not be ironed out that much. I will give you a main argument. But I am hoping that will help you understand somewhat why the Turkish people have been backing Erdogan and his government so strongly with land-slide victories, in spite of him being an "authoritarian," as the CNN and its ilk would have us believe.

Turkey has been ruled by Western-backed military-instated governments since its establishment in the post-Ottoman era. During most of that period, Turkey has been such a dismal country in every sense that millions of people were compelled to flee to other countries in search of livelihood.

The ruling elite class of Turkey has been staunch "secularists" who have been staunchly supported by the West. Democracy was democracy in name only. People were always oppressed due to their ethnicity, beliefs, economic status, you name it.

Without an exaggeration, there was a coup almost every decade. This is because with the democracy that there was, people would choose their own parties and politicians for the government, who would then, in general, improve the wellbeing of the country somewhat and in the meantime make those parties strong. Since the latter would pose an existential threat to the "mock-democracy" of the Western-backed military elite, coups were inevitable.

At the center stage of this drama was a party established by none other than Ataturk himself, the (in-reality controversial) founding "father" of the Turkish republic: the Republican People's Party (CHP is its Turkish acronym). CHP purports to be a social-democratic party, but for most Turks, CHP has been synonymous with their unwavering support and encouragement of military juntas and coups, corruption, and oppression. Their tag of "social-democracy" has been one of lip service and a travesty.

About 13 years ago, Erdogan's Justice and Development Party (AKP is its Turkish acronym) was elected to power and things started to improve very fast, unmistakably, and almost in every sphere of modern Turkish life: it is now an aspiring democracy and a fast-rising economy.

CHP and its spinoffs had oppressed minorities such as the Kurds, the Greeks, the Armenians  by confiscating their properties and even banning their languages. AKP have been restoring their God-given properties and rights back.

People have lived miserable lives under pre-AKP era, Turkey is now the 17th largest economy with a booming prospect, and a goal to become the 10th by 2023.

Now coming to the heart of what I want to say: The most critical and damning reason for the Gezi protests in Turkey last year, with an "anniversary" attempt this year, is simply because: their political parties (mostly really just CHP) have not been "modern" enough, "democratic" enough, most important, "clever" enough to come up with visions, plans and projects that would compete with those of AKP. So as things stand, they are hopeless in removing a very successful and hard-working government from power. What do you think is left for them to do in the context of the Middle East?

Contrary to what some of us here in the West are told to believe, this so-called elite has not been elite-like when it comes to democratic-vision, city-planning, infrastructure, economic initiative, free-market economy...Nothing, just zilch!

Since they cannot seem to figure that road to power----having been used to the military giving it to them----they figure that the only way to do that is to try to do what the protesters in Libya, Egypt, and Ukraine have done.

It must be mentioned here that a good portion of the protesters are those who sympathize with or belong to the left-wing extremist, terrorism-friendly organizations such as DHKP-C  (stands for The Revolutionary People's Liberation Party-Front). The readers should note that it was none other than DHKP-C which bombed the American Embassy in Ankara in 2013.

But, true to form, the Turkish protesters---whom CHP supports unconditionally---misread and misjudged the situation: Turkey of the last decade or so has been an open and democratic country where fair and free elections take place regularly with record voter turnout rates. Turkey has never been more democratic! So if they got their acts together and labored to produce visions, plans, programs and projects that would excel those of AKP's, then Turkish people would vote them into power. But since they don't want to reform themselves out of their totalitarian tendencies, they keep loosing in the elections big-time...the CNN and the Economist style misportrayal and misinformation notwithstanding.

CNN once shamefully cast millions of Erdogan supporters in a AKP rally as the "protesters" of his government. They also portray the Turkish police as being harsh on the protesters...Hmm, I wonder what would befall to someone in the US if he/she goes out and starts protesting the government in a place of his/her choosing, and if the police does not allow them, they start hurling Molotov cocktails at the police and vandalizing public and private property.

It is not about Erdogan or his government! But a significant portion of the charges leveled by the protesters and some of the Western media against Erdogan and his government are either outright lies and misinformation or given out of context and background.

The majority of the Turkish people want their democratic choices to be respected! They recently cast their ballots and awarded yet another landslide victory to Erdogan's party. But the protesters and CHP in Turkey, and some in the Western media don't want to respect democracy and Turkish people's preferences.

When they see that the West----instead of supporting democracy and freedom, elects to support military juntas in undemocratic Muslim countries like Egypt, and at the same time and in a brazen display of hypocrisy----censures the very successful and democratically elected Erdogan government in a democratic Muslim country with fair and free elections, they are appalled.

I ask the reader to contemplate about the potential fallout as a result of the Western open/tacit support of the Egyptian military coup----and the unspeakable oppression the latter is committing----and the lopsided and unfair political behavior I alluded to above when it comes to Turkey.

The situation in Egypt is exactly the hotbed that we want to avoid having. It is precisely the conditions that created the likes of Ayman al-Zawahiri. Why do we go in the same direction? It is time to open our eyes and start questioning what is fed to us in our daily news. It is also time to respect Muslim peoples' democratic choices and promote true democracy. The latter is the antidote for the crippling and cowardly extremist movements we have witnessed to come out of the Muslim countries over the past few decades.


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