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The footsteps of Kemalist nihilism

Metin Karabaşoğlu (Translated by Muhammed Şeviker)

Friday evenings are times I long for. Because, we meet and converse with a group of my friends through whose presence in this worldly life I flourish. In the centre/focus of this conversation locates a topic from the Risale-i Nur. This is a conversation travels yesterday, the present and the future around this constant.

Yesterday’s evening we experienced a meeting which started and ended very late. Later on, after the prayer I couldn’t find strength to sleep; because at midnight the noises of horns sauce and fryer coming from all quarters, applauses shouts prevented my sleeping. When I approached the window to figure out what was going on I saw some people switching lights on and off.

This is a usual scene for me. From seventeen years, we have known very well that a protest which started with goodwill aiming illuminating the Susurluk “accident”, had converted into a process which paved the way to 28th February.

It appears that some people have reached the psychology of ‘this time is OK’; between the green of trees and the faulty intervention of the police have picked the coup d’état hope from the ‘Gezi Park’ protests.

This so-called protest has been carried out at midday, without regarding the sick, children, and those who must go their work in a resting state; and without minding the rights of the neighbours. Who believes that this protest is observed in order to protect the trees in the Gezi Park?

I don’t believe either.

I am old enough to observe that the powerful, in this country, in particular if they have weapon, had used this force in a very easy, mistakenly, illegal, and even unlawful way. But, I am aware that the goals of those who pick a hope of 28th February from the protests in the Gezi Park are not preserving it. I am also aware that their goals are not querying the governor, the police chief and policemen who both have not administered the crisis and committed the serious mistakes, and lead them to self-criticism.

“The people of enmity resemble a spoilt child who wants to cry, and so looks for an excuse to do so.”

In my inner world, the summary of what have been happening was this sentence that Bediuzzaman uttered.

Am I talking with a bias? On the contrary, I depend on my experiences.

A construct which was indebted its existence to an ‘antagonism’, in order to legitimize a power which it achieved by means of a parliamentary coup d’état demonized those who were antecedents to it in every aspect through fictionalising a history that begins with itself; a construct that formed a perception of life in a country always replete with ‘internal maliciouses’ and whose ‘all four sides surrounded by the enemies’, existed before I was born and has all endured while I have been living.

Their ‘era of bliss’ regarded the maxim of ‘every different is evil’ as the principle of governing; so this era was a one party period which either sent away, expulsed, intimidated the different. Quite simply, they from the very first have grasped that they wouldn’t come to power as long as the democracy prevails, they still know. They stole the opportunity of constitutional democracy from us in 1908; they tried to deceive us with the non-democratic republic. For these days, the global realpolitik was convenient for this. After the 2nd World War experience when the realpolitik compelled the authoritarian ‘republics’ into democracy they didn’t relinquished from the ignominy of ‘open ballot – hidden poll’. When the life span of this ignominy didn’t last the next elections they, at this time, attempted the formation of a formal democracy model in which the governments coming via elections do not power any power. For those who resists this, in 1960, they showed what they would do my means of “RPP (The Republican People’s Party) + the military = the power” formulation; they didn’t hesitate to punish and hang a prime minister as a deterrent to others after a show trial.

But In this country, is it meaningful enough that the prime ministers who come to power via elections, such as Turgut Özal and Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, had to express that they were ready to wear an execution shirt in order to express their resistance to the formulation of ‘powerless government’ which do not exceed beyond the make-up material for elitists’ “the power without government”?

I have learnt the one party era from my grandparents: at the mid-mart, my grandma’s headscarf was attacked by a warden. And an aunt, their neighbour who had taught grandmas Quran had been jailed and been prevented teaching, and, she died of sorrow. Also, the grandpa suffered all his life from a pulmonary disease that he had been caught while waiting in a rainy day, at the queue of the bread ration card. I learnt the coup of 27th May 1960 from dad and mum; I experienced 12th March 1971 as a child, 12th September 1980 as an adolescent, and 27th February 1997 as an adult. The political science that I received installed the twentieth century’s x-ray into my mind thoroughly.

In brief, there is a construct and coterie who are not indebted their existence and power into democracy; quite rather does not exist as long as democracy prevails.

This coterie has been using the tactic of intimidation, if has not been possible exclusion, if necessary alienating, antagonising, and even demonization; even today, they don’t feel ashamed. When they are squeezed, they mention ‘the peculiar conditions of the country’.

This coterie has always obscured the quality of the First Assembly’s sequence of Chamber of Deputies which was not impossible its gathering in Istanbul because of the British occupation. They also do not want to be spoken what was happened in April 1923, and more importantly, the assassination of Ali Şükrü Bey, the prominent figure in the Second Group. Yet, they are shameless enough to warn elected prime ministers the tragic end of Adnan Menderes.

This clique defines 1923 [the declaration year of the republic] as a revolution, and 1950 in which the first democratic elections were carried out as a counter-revolution. It also regards the provocation of the military bureaucracy into a coup d’état via the United States-NATO against elected rulers as a patriotism.

Allah grants an extension but doesn’t ignore. For last century, having thought getting of scot-free, this coterie overtly or covertly always managed to be in power. But, now it has become futile. Since 1950, they didn’t come into power in any election, their formulations that invite the military to coups has become useless as well. The bureaucratic tutelage that they have been carrying out via jurisdiction has collapsed with referendum on September 12th 2010. The blow of the global realpolitik is not supporting them anymore. The very last, they hoped for help from the PKK terror, but ‘the peace process’ has annoyed them.

When the February 28th 1997 coup d’état was carrying out I was a columnist in the daily Yeni Asya. In those days when those who had arms and those who believed them so much were very jolly, I wrote an article entitled “Does Kemalism have a future?” Of course, that article included the “no” response. Why, doesn’t have? Because it needs a power to be existed: Up today, it has been overtly or covertly existed by means of power; in order to maintain its power it regards itself bound to coup d’état.

Now, Kemalism has lost its power considerably. It has almost completely lost the opportunity to be in power via military or judicial bureaucracy. The United States has hold a presidential election in which the Neo-Cons to whom Kemalists reposed in, had lost. The PKK, having declared ending the armed struggle, deflated the dreams of overthrowing the government via the martyrs’ funeral.

Now with the “whatever we do, we can’t achieve, from what we seek help turns out to be useless” pessimism they are partisans of a tyrant like Bashar al-Assad

What we observe is jaundice, pessimism, and nihilism.

In this country, Kemalism was a parenthesis which was able to exist under auspices of the power. This parenthesis, in a country where democracy is institutionalising, in the meaning of becoming in power has been closed and will be.

Some people are experiencing a feeling of frustration of being equal with the people to whom they despise. They are feeling a debacle out of observing that the religious people to whom they humiliated in the history textbooks, has managed to realize a spectacular success in only one decade that could not been realized in eight decades.

I observe this despair, optimism and nihilism behind what has been going on for last week and similar trials carried out for a while.

This nihilism should be analysed carefully and should be sought its treatment means. Otherwise, it will harm both its masters and this country.

While I was thinking on the question “what are we supposed to do in this process?” my mind has focused on al-Balad Chapter, and especially on the last two indicators of “climbing the sheer slope” among the unjust and lawless noises that prevented my sleeping yesterday: “...and, then besides this, he be one of those who believed, and enjoined upon one another steadfastness and enjoined upon one another compassion. [The Quran, al-Balad, 90:18]”

We are passing through a process which requires an attention and tenderness. I know that the question the trees in the Gezi Park, they hate us. But we should get through this phase without arousing any hatred in our hearts against those who hate us. We ought to relent, abstain ourselves from hatred, be patient. We should advise ourselves patience and compassion.

As regards to the police violence against the protesters, it is definitely problematic. Because it is impatient and merciless...


© 2021 karakalem.net, Metin Karabaşoğlu (Translated by Muhammed Şeviker)

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