There’s something due any day;
I will know right away
Soon as it shows.
It’s only just out of reach,
Down the block, on a beach,
Under a tree.
Stephen Sondheim, West Side Story
More deadly gas is coming. They’re buying those gas bombs again. 1.5 million more. They must have exhausted the 43 tons they bought from America last year at the height of their Gezi violence. Ten million dollars gone with the fascist wind. And the latest news says that the public-space-destroying Gezi Park shopping-center project is alive and quietly ticking. Those treacherous, revolutionary Gezi Park trees, like Carthage, must be totally destroyed!
And then there are the personal antics of you-know-who. Heisting more of the public’s money, he’s adding thousands more rooms to his royal roost. Painfully aware of his public, he has privatized his own Waffen-SS. It’s an especially loyal bunch, a comforting pious blend of Turkish police, the Gendarmes (easily appropriated from his ever-generous Turkish Army) and his ever-popular scimitar-waving street thugs. They will all emerge on call like mushrooms on a rainy day. Surely the blessings of safety and security will loom over the land forever.
And at last Turkish schoolchildren will be freed from all error and will finally learn the truth about just who discovered America. Oh, happy Turkish day! Perhaps they will learn that God is also a Muslim along with Fidel Castro.
Oh, the pope is coming. He is scheduled to meet and greet the new president at his new, illegal palace. How nice. Thus the pope will also be an accomplice-after-the-fact to a crime. This from a man considered by zillions of Catholics to be infallible in matters of faith and morals. But St Peter’s has such a suitable dome… for a mosque…or better, a shopping center. Let’s make a deal. Let’s have a conversion. So many things are coming…
One more thing is coming—the truth. Can you feel it? It’s just out of reach.
The truth is this. The Turkish people are fed up with the Turkish people. It’s as simple and as complicated as that.
These AKP people came to power—with a lot of help from their American friends in high places—following years of coalitional incompetence and corruption. The people were fed up then, too. And so came Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and his friends, the self-proclaimed “pious” people. Surely they would clean up things. They sold everything leveraging it into a self-proclaimed “economic miracle.” Then came their true colors—repression, fascism and more corruption, all in the name of piety.
But as Cassius said to Brutus, “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars but in ourselves.” And that’s why the Turkish people are fed up, particularly Turkish young people.
Turkey is the youngest country in Europe. 17% of its population is in the 18-24 age group. With a median age of 29.6 years, Turkey is far younger than the U.K. (40.4), France (40.9) and Germany (46.1). More importantly, half of Turkey’s eligible voters are in the 19-35 age group. And that means 26 million “young” voters! And this is why Turkish young people SHOULD be fed up.
They have virtually no political representation, particularly in the fossilized opposition parties. CHP, Turkey’s oldest political party dating from 1923, has only six members of parliament under the age of 40. While the average age of party members is 46.9 years, the average age of its parliamentarians is almost a decade more, 55.5 years. How political parties can ignore half of the voter base is a great mystery and a great shame. And a great tragedy for Turkish young people.
In the twisting and turnings and whims and whines of the opposition parties they have today maneuvered themselves into near irrelevance. The bizarre joint presidential candidacy of a 71-year-old Islamist no one knew named Ekmeleddin İhsanoğlu may have been their final curtain. Predictably trounced by Erdoğan at the polls, almost as many voters stayed away (15.4 million) as voted for Ekmeleddin (15.6 million). And for those that did vote for him, how many held their noses and voted out of fast-fading party loyalty? The entire affair was unseemly and CHP continues to struggle with the implications.
Herein resides, in part, the disenfranchised voter base. There are others, women, for example. Workers, for another. Something’s coming. Not surprisingly, recent surveys suggest a large “undecided” category, as high as 25%. Something’s coming.
Turkish youth have seen what the political process has delivered for them. While they filled the streets in protest at Gezi Park, the opposition parties mostly dawdled. When America sold the AKP more tear gas bombs to bomb the kids, the opposition parties mostly watched. And when the opposition parties chose a 71-year-old unknown as a presidential candidate to face the ferocious Erdoğan, well, you know the rest.
This is why the young people are on the move and coming. Not only are they the soldiers of Mustafa Kemal, they are his youth, Atatürk-youth. Like him, unbounded by age, open-minded and open-hearted, holding real opinions and ideals worth fighting for. Falling in love with truth, with science and the modern way, living honorably with care and sensitivity. Upholding the law and defending the human right to live freely. In short, living as a true Turk, a modern Atatürk Turk.
There is also new political party coming, the Anatolia Party (Anadolu Partisi). A party of enlightenment, like the sun rising in its logo. A party for an anti-imperialist, sovereign nation, secular and tolerant, honest and hopeful. A party for Turkish youth of all ages.
Half the voters in Turkey are young people, 26 million of them. Let it begin with them.
James (Cem) Ryan
24 November 2014