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Power of Symbols in Mass Perception in Turkey

By | December 20, 2011 at 4:45 pm | No comments | Featured, Freedom of Expression, Kurds, News, Opinion, Turkey | Tags: , , , , , , ,


At this moment, 38 people are detained in Turkey pending arrest on charges relating to KCK, political structure of Kurdish PKK. Out of which more than 20 are journalists. These detentions are the last wave of recent arrests in Turkey including over 60 journalists, lawyers and politicians all of whom have only two things in common: being opponents of the current pro-Islamist AKP regime and having accused to have links with several “terrorist” organizations.

Each political view apart from official AKP doctrine has a “terrorist” organization attached to its name recently according to law enforcement in Turkey. The mainstream, Kemalist, militarist CHP has Ergenekon, Kurdish politicians have KCK, even Mafia-like deep-state hoodlums are supposed to have relations to one “Devrimci Karargah” (Revolutionary Quarters) whose existence was never heard of or any events were attached to this organization by any verdict of court before. In most cases the accusations of links to those organizations against the accused were made by some “secret witnesses” in sealed interviews and never made public, or never even brought to courts in person.

For an experienced eye, the whole charade is just another example of oppression by a fascist government. But the not-so-obvious fact is why there is no widespread public outcry to these developments. Especially when the region is shaken by street activism and demonstrations across the political spectra.

In an environment where only the semi-official media is allowed, no opposition is active on legitimate ground public reaction, at least passive disobedience should be imminent. But, no! Apart from a very select few, population is dozed off to watch narcotic serial shows on TV and their bank account balances.

This apparent anomaly has its roots in a centuries old symbol system in Turkish society. The state as a father figure overshadows any other perception or value. Private life, morals and personal benefits are all secondary to the well-being and permanency of the state. Add to this 30 years of continuous propaganda of labeling all dissident activity as “terrorism” and “acts against the state”, the society is ready to embrace all oppressive acts by the authority as a means of protection of Turkish state. Like the same propaganda resulted in a 92% approval of the current constitution in 1982 as presented by a military junta at a referendum. One might say the people of Turkey abandoned their primary rights in favor of the continuity of the status-quo.

On the economic arena, AKP government has created a wide new rich out of people whose religious rights were neglected, even suppressed by previous establishments in Turkey. They are now immune to both political and economical hardships directed by the current regime towards all opposition. Recently a media group was fined for tax evasion in never heard of amounts. In reality, they were being punished for their dissident views. The wealth and status of the new rich are on the rise and their religious congregations are increasingly becoming the new establishment in Turkey. Every legislative amendment  is made sure to serve that purpose.

Tradition, culture, religious dogma and fealty as well as sociology of symbols and economic factors all work for the benefit of Turkish state and its governors like before. In the polls popularity of AKP, the ruling party, is still increasing after seven years in the government. A dilemma in itself, the weight of responsibility for progress lie on the shoulders of a few who are crazy and courageous at the same time to spell the truth day in and day out.

But their tiny bubble of freedom is getting smaller and smaller everyday. Historically all change came in the form of an intervention to mainstream politics in Turkey. Above mentioned minority is working hard to bring about progress and try to prevent such obstruction of the liberties at the same time.

A very tough job, in a minefield where becoming a Don Quixote is rather easy since it is full of giants in the form of virtual windmills.

About the Author

Stratos Moraitis Stratos Moraitis

Blogger, writer & photographer of a free nature with a focus on human rights & minority issues in Turkey,Greece and Middle East. Follow Stratos at Twitter: @oemoral and Like our page at Facebook

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