By: Alev Alatlı *
On July 15 our beloved country suffered a most violent physical assult. Seven bombs were dropped on The Grand National Assembly which was then in session. As the right wing of the building was severely damaged, the Deputies went on to resume their meeting in the under ground shelter. Peoples’ representatives refused to leave the building and stood sentry for the next twenty-four hours within which the attempted coup was thwarted. Please note that never before in its 139 year old history, neither by enemy nor by foe had the Turkish Parliament (1877) been corporeally attacked. This damnable transgression is the very first.
Concurrently, the modest seaside resort where the Honorable Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his family, including grandchildren, were vacationing, was being raided by a dozen men heavily armed with gun night sights. The men were masked and bore no insignia, military or otherwise. As security guards engaged the gang, the President of the Turkish Republic scaped the assasination attempt by some fifteen minutes only. Please note again that in our long history, no political leader, including the late Prime Minister Adnan Menderes, was impeached without due legal trial.
The fact is that the Turkish people abhor the thought that death by assasination is condign chastisement for any leader, including late John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr, Benazir Bhutto, Thomas D’Arcy McGee, Rafic Hariri, Mahatma Gandhi to name a few. Now, imagine if you will, the sights and sounds of sinister night helicopters and jets firing away indiscriminately over the Ankara skies. Having done that, consider the cooly serviced images by international media of the brutally dismembered bodies of late Saddam Huseyin, Muammer Kaddafi, et al, juxtaposed with estimeed President Erdoğan and/or the men and women members of the Turkish Parliament. You cannot but empathise with the Turkish people who took to the streets determined to stop the crazed hashashin at any cost.
Please note that President Erdoğan has won every single local and national election in the past decade, including the recent presidental contest when he achieved an admirable 52%. As such, he is undoubtably the most popular Turkish leader since Mustafa Kemal Atatürk. Even so, the unarmed people who confronted the tanks were by no means composed entirely of Erdoğan fans. Nor are the huge crowds who have been keeping vigilance until the wee hours of the morning the zealous supporters of his Justice and Development Party. They are none other than the multi-ideological members of a seasoned nation who is well aware that in our part of the World after every democratic victory there is another battle waiting to be won.
We are a steadfast lot who believe that the peoples’ right to choose their way of life is a natural, fundamental right, and as such is a corollary of the postulate of integral democracy. Hence, no democratically elected government deserves being overthrown by an coup. No attack on unarmed civilians can be extenuated, most certainly not by the Peoples’ very own military with weapons precured with their hard earned taxes.
Please note that July 15th was not some Play Station game. We lost over 250 men and women. About 1500 people are wounded, some so heavily that they probably will not make it.
The gist of it is that, we in Turkey are angry and hurt. As such, we have been expecting if not compassion, some solace from our friends and allies – and at least some semblance of homage from the international media. To our dismal, we witnessed the BBC Arabic, Sky News Arabic, El Arabiya TV, the ITN diplomatic editör and the US networks run boisterous commentaries saying that President Erdogan “was finished” or “had fled to Germany.”
As Sunday Times unabashedly reported the rogue faction as “the guardians of democratic and secular rule of law”, our very own resident reporter Andrew Finckel, typically ignored the reality of the Turkish scene and haughtily advised from The Guardian: “The lesson of the failed coup is that Turkey needs a leader who can bring different sides of a divided society together – or at the very least, one who is willing to try.” This was from a man who has been living in our mids for the last two decades.
As for the irrefutable fact that “It was a major display of solidarity when Turkish MPs from all four major political parties gathered at the damaged Parliament only hours after a coup attempt failed to overthrow the government”, we were to find out that a blatantly hostile explanation had already been designed and put to service: “Knowing if they didn’t, the resurging dictator-in-charge (please note that would be President Erdoğan!) would include them in his lethal kill roundup too.”
Another overbearing commentator was Joachim Hagopian of Global Research. An ex-army officer by trade, the faul mouthed US psychologist rushed in to offer his shameslessly defamatory and patronizing appraisal of the situation: “Typically what do political leaders (like Erdoğan!) do when they’re struggling to stay in power? They launch a fake coup or war, sabre rattling (note the crude innuendo about ‘Eastern despots’) against internal or external threats to rally a jingoistic nationalism amongst its malleable, flag-waving citizenry (that are the Turkish people!)”
Bewildered as we were by the covers of Time, Newsweek, The Economist and Der Spiegel magazines and tried to fanthom the journalistic skill that actually obscured the bloody attempt and managed to disseminate the ill feeling that is an inevitable collary to measures to be taken in a state of emergency, Western leaders like Obama and Kerry added “injury to insult” by silently waiting “for hours in hopes that Erdogan would be dethroned before finally conceding, issuing public statements backing the Erdogan government, seemingly only after they had no other choice.”
“Whoever has ears, let them hear” had said Jesus Christ, aleyhis selam, in Matthew 11:16-24. He was referring to conceited Pharisees whom he graciously likened to children who can indeed be very self-centered and typically consider themselves the center of the universe. Their complaints are often about fictive events – yet, fiction can breed great malice.
We the living in this part of the World maintain our hope that these modern Times of Trouble will too pass. The men of decency and conscience will once again appear on the Western horizon. That they will mourn when they hear our dirge, and rejoice when they hear our pipes. Alas, the World needs people whose ears are clogged neither with orientalist, nor Islamophobic fiction.