BY: Özlem Albayrak*
Yes, it was a first in the political history of the U.S. that a politician, who is self-ordinated enough to provoke Republicans sometimes, came to power, and that large-scale protests broke out against an elected political figure in the same American sociology. These pictures that could be seen in the countries/regions of the world, where democracy is generally thought to have not improved, are seen in the U.S. for the first time. If such a concept could be used, it could be called the Middle Easternization of U.S. democracy.
This, however, led and continues to lead to some extreme interpretations and baseless ideological analyses of Trump in Turkey. For instance, while Trump was just a Republican nominee and clearly expressed all the ideas that the Muslim world is anxiously pursuing at the moment, some Turkish media came to have inexplicable support and, even admiration, for Trump. This support continues now. Moreover, Trump’s fight against the established order and his continuous bad relationship with the media was made a basis for identifying him with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan by some circles in Turkey.
However, Erdoğan’s story is quite different from Trump’s. Yes, Erdoğan also targeted the established order, but he had a right and moral struggle against discrimination, ideological injustice and racism. Trump came to power with a discriminatory rhetoric which he vowed to use against migrants and the Muslim minority.
An evaluation based on plain logic can make Erdoğan and Trump’s power stories seem similar. But, while Erdoğan permanently and completely opened Turkey’s doors to millions of refugees fleeing Syria, Trump talked about building a wall on the U.S.-Mexican border, making Jerusalem Israel’s capital, and restricting visa issuance for Muslim countries. Moreover, these promises did not remain unfulfilled, as he is quite bravely fulfilling them these days.
It has already been announced that the acceptance of immigrants to the U.S. from countries suspected of having seen to breed and harbor terrorists will be temporarily suspended.
Dozens of disturbing statements have already been reflected in the media, including Trump’s adviser Michael Flynn’s remark that “Fear of Muslims is rational,” and Trump’s statement that he will apply an “ideological test” for migrants before accepting them to the country.
Also, news that visas issued for Syrian, Iraqi, Iranian, Lebanese, Somalian, Sudanese and Yemeni nationals would be suspended were based on the statements of Congressional advisers. The same Trump indicated that the U.S. would make an attempt to be a player in the Syria question again, by reawakening the already-forgotten idea of establishing a safe zone in Syria, while the Syrian question – we hope – is within an ace of resolution with parties coming to the table. I do not think anyone has an idea about the content of this claim of being a player and to what extent it will be harmful. In response to the news, the Kremlin said, “The Americans did not consult us about the safe zone and that this was a dominating decision.” We hope Syria will not be suppressed once again, while big powers fight on its territory.
As a result, even those who identify Trump’s fate with Erdoğan’s, just because he is against the established order, must see that the U.S.’s fast and furious new president is a complete mystery for Turkey and be calm. Let us note that our citizens who were over the moon when Barack Obama came to power in 2009 sacrificed animals and why we later understood that we made the true sacrifice in Syria.
This is true for every situation where excessive trust means imprudence.
*Özlem Albayrak is a Turkish columnist at Yeni Şafak Turkish daily.