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On Turkish Politics, Police Brutality and Abortion

6th of December 2010: A  19-year old pregnant Turkish girl who was beaten up by police at an anti-goverment public protest that she was attending, lost her baby due to the battering. 


Turkish Politics: A History of Anti-Islamist Sentiment?

On 4th of December 2010, The Turkish Prime Minister R. Tayyip Erdoğan was participating in a summit where he met the members of the Turkish Board of Higher Education and the rectors from various Turkish univerities in order to discuss the issues related to the nation's institutions of higher education. Among the said issues, the one considered the most important is the ban on the islamic "head scarf" in universities. That's right, whereas Turkey is a nation which claims that 98% of its population is comprised of Muslim citizens, it has had a long standing tradition of secularism since its founding - a tradition which the governments so far have been spending great effort to preserve, so far as to actually ban the use of islamic head scarves in universities, government offices, schools and all other state-owned institutions.

A quick look at the Turkish history will reveal that the nation's founding father, K. Atatürk, who rebelled against the Sultan Mehmet VI of the shattering Ottoman Empire in 1919, created a new republic from the remnants of the 600-year old empire. Upon assuming leadership of the new nation he has founded, Atatürk proceeded to make changes in the form of laws and reforms that would hugely impact the lifestyles of the former Ottoman residents of the land. The reforms included dropping the Arabic letters and switching to the Latin Alphabet, orders to shut down all islamic centers of informal education, removing the Caliphate from power**, removing the courts that judge by Islamic Sharia Law, a law that gives women the right to vote, a law that forces all male citizens to wear Fedora hats of Western fashion in daily life (no kidding here) and last but not least, the establishment of Secularism as a fundamental principle for the nation.

All the changes above were made within a span of 5 years and they naturally created an unrest in the strictly islamic population of the land. There were several bloody public uprisings against these reforms, which were also suppressed in the same bloody fashion by the Turkish Armed Forces. 

It seemed like, in order to be "modernized", no sacrifice was too great. 

This sort of social-engineering has brought about a clash, which lasts until this day; between the conservative, religious or fundamentalist population modern, almost "Anti-Islamist" portion of the Turkish people including the Armed Forces who has a distasteful record of coups d'état and who, every now and then, pass a note of warning against governments to tell them that they're "testing their threshold of tolerance towards islam". I mean, if a government seems to use a slightly "islamist" tone in their conduct, they are duly scolded by our Turkish Army, who is the big brother sworn to protect the ideals of the Turkish Republic and above all, Secularism.

It is no secret that the current Turkish Prime Minister Erdoğan and his AKP government, who won 2 elections successively and who have been in power for almost 8 years, have been chosen by the more conservative half of the nation -with a 47% majority in the last elections. Rightwing politican PM Erdoğan has been using an innuendo in his political tone, talking about "More democracy for everyone"  whereas actually making clandestine promises to combat the modernist -and even elitist- Anti-Islamic sentiment, starting by removing the ban on islamic headscarf. PM Erdoğan also has in his agenda to recognize the Kurdish ethnic population of Turkey as a minority, giving them more democratic rights and a right to have their identity recognized - something that could not be possible in the reign of the Atatürk-loving Elitists.

Yes, Turkish Bourgeois Elite (will be referred to as Kemalist, from now on). They have created in passing decades a cult of worship for the nation's founding father, Atatürk; and have sworn to protect his ideals, therefore seeing this current rise-to-power of the Islamists as extremely threatening. Life must be very hard for the turkish Modernist Elite since while it is their utmost ideal to stay "modernized", they are also strictly xenophobic and constantly generating conspiracy theories about how virtually every power outside of the Turkish borders are scheming for the destruction of Turkey. It means only one thing to be a Kemalist in Turkey: to be paranoid. They're paranoid that America will some day invade Turkey. They're paranoid that European people still want to split Turkey into several colony-states just like how they did 100 years ago at the end of World War 1. They're paranoid that the current government is working on an evil project which will eventually lead to a bloody Islamic revolution the Iranian style, And then, an Islamic Government will be installed and they won't be able to idolize their Atatürk no more, they won't be able to wear mini-skirts, they won't be able to buy beer from the grocery store - all of which they consider as the staple elements of a "Modern" lifestyle. Oh also, well, they also think they won't be able to have freedom of speech or human rights and such, but I believe the mini-skirt and beer is a more important element of a good and modern lifestyle than freedom of thought and expression. Since, these people themselves do not realize that with their Ultranationalist and Anti-Islamic policies, they have been oppressing the Islamic population and the ethnic minorities of this nation. The militarist, anti-democratic, xenophobic and minority-hating Kemalists seem to me like they're some sort of proto-nazi. If you do not fit their standards: "Pure-Blood Turkish, White-Skinned, Educated, Atheist Turkish", then you're just a lower class citizen and if you're not aspiring to become one of them, then you are a traitor. 

PM Erdoğan's AKP causes distress not only in the Kemalist proto-nazi majority and the Turkish Armed Forces, who are involved in the nation's politics much more than they're supposed to, but also among the leftwing supporters, social democrats and communists. So what the proto-nazi and the communists have in common in this country is the way they hate the government, whom they both blame the economic strategies of, as well as the religious approaches in politics. These people hate the government so deeply that they blame virtually anything and everything on the Prime Minister, his leading party, and those who voted for them. 

Self-criticism is zero.

I'm not an islamist myself, nor I am from Kurdish ethnic descent, but any man with a conscience who have not been brainwashed by the Turkish education system with a Sevres paranoia and into believing in Ataturk as a sovereign deity of the post-modern Turkish population; would see that something is going wrong in this country for almost a century.


Police Brutality

On 6th of December 2010, a 19-year old pregnant Turkish university student who was beaten up by police at an anti-goverment public protest that she was attending, lost her baby due to the battering.

The public protest was organized by university students and was held outside of the building where the Prime Minister was meeting the members of the Turkish Board of Higher Education and the rectors from various Turkish univerities in order to discuss the issues related to the nation's institutions of higher education.

Most of the government-hating university students do not actually realize that they have turned the current government as the only scapegoat for everything going wrong in the country. They also do not realize that it would actually do no harm to anybody to allow people to wear headscarves in universities. It takes a special kind of paranoia to think that someone wearing scarves in schools will eventually lead to a bloody islamic civil coup. But the students outside of the meeting building on 4th of December thought otherwise. Things that I do not approve of have happened, students from Kemalist and Communist views have provoked the police and there were acts of violence on both sides. One 19-year old university student, who was pregnant, was beaten up by the police, despite her cries of "I'm pregnant, please don't hit me", says the press. She lost her child due to the beating.

Right now, the most prominent Turkish Internet communities, which are largely under control of the Kemalist faction, are all talking about the matter. They say it is a monstrous act that an infant died due to police brutality and everyone's got a say about it - also it seems like everyone's got the same thing to say: once again, they're all condemning the government and of course, the police, for what happened.

I, on the other hand, am asking: "What was a pregnant lady doing in a civil protest where police were involved?" Sure, the police is ultimately guilty according to my view, but was the 19-year old girl really acting as a responsible mother? It's bad to smoke if you're pregnant, and if your baby is born unhealthy because you're a chain smoker, you got no right to blame anyone else but yourself. Also, the whole society would detest you for the fact you're smoking while you're pregnant. Because you're putting the baby's life in danger. How different is this from joining during pregnancy public protests where violence is likely to erupt?

The irony in the matter is that, the youth that clashed with the police while protesting the government are of Anti-Islamic sentiment. What these people have in common is that they favor for the ban for Islamic headscarves, because they extremely abhor islam. Islam in their minds is a dirty, dangerous and barbaric thing. They hate the government simply because it has got some alleged fundamenalist roots. So now that the young student has lost her baby, they're sort of all blaming it on islam again. However, the thing here is, Turkey is also going through one of the century's most prominent social problems: the different views on child abortion. Yes, here is the irony. Islam, just like christianity, is the side in the child abortion conflict which says that infants should not be killed with abortion. So on that particular 4th of December, if you rounded up all the protesting students outside of the PM's meeting building and run a survey among them on whether "child abortion should be illegal or not", they would all say that abortion is a right, it can not be banned. So most of these people think that, if a mother wants, she can kill her own baby. But then, if you lose your baby because of hits by police batons, you've got all the right in the world to blame police, governments and Islam, or so it seems.

So i guess, it is horrible if someone else accidentally kills your baby before birth, but it's kind of okay if you decide to do it on your own? 

I've yet to understand how the Proto-Nazi, Religion-Hating, Kemalist mindset works. 

further reading on anti-islamist movement in Turkey:

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