Orhan Bursalı

The street and the dictatorship

26 Şubat 2009
We see Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in election squares. The prime minister is working for his party and constituents. The masses he addresses are curious about him. Erdoğan is acting on a certain plan in order to steal the attention of the ordinary, I mean people in the street. Image makers know him very well and nurture his spirit and personality. The prime minister is never ever trying to create someone else different from him or someone else who is not ordinary. From his planned move at the Davos panel to his daring attitude in election squares and to his almost bad remarks and almost obscene gestures, Erdoğan pays a great deal of attention to not hurt his "Kasımpaşalı" vulgar image.

Being from the district of Kasımpaşa, famous for its vulgarity, means using the language of the street. What is the street and who is in the street? It is everything! Ordinary people Ğ that is to say constituents!

Who else represents the street? Sometimes a (serial) killer, sometimes an executioner, a lyncher, a religionist or a racist nationalist! The protector of morals and tradition, yet at the same time a rapist of morals!

The best way to understand who the street is is to look at its social and cultural composition. The street is the median of this combination. What is this combination? Thirty percent of the population and labor force consists of peasants. A percentage that is not seen in Europe, not even in Bulgaria or Romania!

Half of the urban population is peasants. And migration continues! Turkey today is the industrialized Europe of the 1930s! Thirty percent of the EU’s population was farm workers in that period! Today this figure is four percent. And our industrialization percentage is about that of Europe in the 1930s! Literacy figures in Turkey are the lowest in Europe. The majority graduated from primary school in five years! The old primary school education system, it is. Erdoğan is the member of this combination!

We can find a quite interesting connection. Which political leaders were raised in the Europe of the 1930s? Look at Italy and Germany. Europe created demagogists! A person who loses himself to an extent to call the CHP communist while the CHP tries to reach out the most backward beliefs and the most ordinary emotions (limbic system in the brain!) in the street. But he is unsatisfied with that. Erdoğan is acting like a provoker in the election squares!

He is provoking people against what? Against democratic gains! Against the right to be a communist and against the freedom of press! He is verbally attacking the media, the right of criticism and all who are not giving into the government! Erdoğan is inviting everyone to boycott newspapers!

He is controlling exactly 41 percent of the media! In our history of fragile democracy, none of the governments made attempts to take over the media completely or to fully control the press! Dare devils always failed! But Erdoğan is determined to achieve this! Full control over the media and public opinion! Who does want this? Dictators. Dictatorships rise on total control.

Erdoğan is inclined to become a dictator. The degree of his controlling the media overlaps with the degree of his turning into a dictator! He is halfway through.

Mr. Prime Minister wants to silence Doğan Publishing Holding, to force the company to take side with him. He couldn’t do this through politics, so now he tries this by means of the Finance Ministry. If Doğan Media Group goes silent, he thinks, all other institutions, companies, civil society organizations, the Turkish Industrialists’ and Businessmen’ Association, or the TUSIAD, the entire country can be kept silent and the religionist dictatorship regime can be brought into the country, so he believes.

The Deniz Feneri charity organization is the representative of Turkey and how its future is being designed. Although the Deniz Feneri corruption case is about to reach his close circles, Erdoğan is not moving a single muscle. On top, he calls the corruption slandering his AKP. But the top officials in Deniz Feneri who are being accused by the German court of fraud are still in office! If the press is forced into complete silence, all of Turkey will turn into a Deniz Feneri. In the other part of the media, cohorts, servants, the CIA agents and religious paths under the CIA’s control are racing each other to kill the free press! Turkey has never witnessed so many things trying to strangle freedoms!

As Turkey is going down, Erdoğan relies on the will of the street. "If I grab the vote of the street and increase my voting percentage, it will be all right," he says. The legitimacy is in the street, he thinks! But he shouldn’t trust this! None of the countries that were bankrupted, robbed and silenced were governed by the street! Erdoğan is making an attempt to generate whatever the Europe of the 1930s produced!

Orhan Bursalı is a columnist for the daily Cumhuriyet. This column was translated by the Daily News staff and is reprinted by permission
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