ARZU KAYA – Yes, Turkey is old Turkey no more!

Yes, Turkey is old Turkey no more!Recep Tayyip ErdoIan, the new president of the New Turkey, has found a way to success. Since he was elected president, every week he has produced solid material to fight about and keep the public occupied.

Every week is a new cycle. We have a bubble to blow out.

Itand#39s like a tennis game. ErdoIan starts the game, and the sides quickly take their places.

In one corner are the pro-Justice and Development Party (AKP) fans: No matter what, they support ErdoIanand#39s case. And in the other corner are anti-AKP supporters who disagree with anything ErdoIan says.

Of course, in between there are many others who try to stay sober and objective. Nevertheless, polarization is strong and they are not heard properly in this turmoil.

Repeatedly, we discuss different issues but end up discussing the same thing: unfairness.Many people throw out opinions just to take a place in the argument.

Instead of working out the core of the problems we just pile them up unsolved. Because we talk more and listen less without making any sincere effort to understand what the other thinks, these discussions are always chaotic.

ErdoIanand#39s attitude contributes to further polarization, discrimination and hostility in society. This way he is able to delay major topics that need discussion, such as lack of democracy and, of course, corruption.

Last week our topic was the possibility of compulsory Ottoman language classes in high school curriculums. After the public reaction to the National Education Counciland#39s decisions, ErdoIan was brilliant, again, and got on everybodyand#39s nerve by howling, andldquoThe Ottoman language will be taught, whether they like it or not.

andrdquo It worked. Everybody started arguing enthusiastically.

The topic was not solely the use of the Ottoman language, but the ambition of Turkish society to embrace its Ottoman history.Apparently troubled by domestic crises, ErdoIan has turned his focus toward his core constituency, a largely conservative, anti-Western population in the heartland, and in doing so has reverted to a tactic that resonates with them: belligerence.

Last week, while the neo-Ottoman discussion was boiling, ErdoIan fed the fire with his declarations: andldquoReligion, which is at the heart of all matters in Turkey, could not be discussed objectively, in an unbiased fashion, free of fears and societal pressure. In fact, forget about discussing all those matters related to religion in a free fashion religion and practicing Muslims for 200 years came under systematic criticism, insults and belittling.

andrdquo His comments openly expressed his longing to return to the Ottoman days prior to these reforms being initiated.Actually, when discussing the transformation of 21st-century Turkey, particularly in reference to its increasingly assertive foreign policy and regional presence, foreign media has loved to use the term andquotneo-Ottoman.

andrdquo The term is used by foreign media to liken the doings of the government to Ottoman sultans and Turkeyand#39s now vanished regional influence. During the last 10 years Turkey was seen as a key foreign policy player in the eyes of American and European leaders.

At the beginning of the Arab Spring, Western leaders considered Turkey a progressive democratic model for other Muslim-majority nations. However, that model crumbled after Gezi — and especially after Dec.

17 and the allegations of corruption. Even though Turkeyand#39s aim was to be a andldquosoft powerandrdquo in the region, the country ended up losing all the power and remained only andldquosoft.

andrdquo Right now, in any Muslim-populated country, Turkey has no prestige or authority and in Western countries it lost its credit long ago.Regardless, I wonder which religion ErdoIan is talking about since diversity is a norm in Sunni Islam It is defined by the empowerment of the community after the Prophet.

If there is no consensus, the religion offers a menu. So empowerment of the community means disempowerment of political authority.

ErdoIan says, andldquoThe sovereignty belongs to God,andrdquo yet he ignores that it is exercised by the people. Apparently, it is not!Evolution in communities only happens if it does not appear as a forceful intervention.

It must be natural and spontaneous.Accept it or not, the New Turkey has lost the consensus of the community that voted for the protection of the entire community against any illusive or corruptive powerThe status of Turkey has recently been neither democratic nor Islamic.

Since Islamand#39s most fundamental elements are justice and peace, ErdoIanand#39s religious make-up has faded rapidly. While declaring andldquoTurkey is the old Turkey no more! Turkey should manifest itself in a new way,andrdquo he must understand that pontificating on any subject with such aggression cannot be how Turkey manifests itself.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman