‘Don’t worry, we are all Ottomans…’

While theoretically we could just brush this all off, chalking it up a different way of seeing the world and history, these are also people so determined in their views now that they openly accuse those who don’t think the same way as them of treason. Which means this “point of view” has actually become quite dangerous. Especially when you realize that this point of view is not only supported by the government, but in fact reflects the stance of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP).

It is a reality that we live in a chaotic region. I am of course referring to the Middle East.

In the midst of a Middle East that global powers are anxious to have a hand in reshaping, we can have an influential voice and role if we place our greatest priority on protecting our own unity and strength. And the way to do this undoubtedly lies with solving the Kurdish and Alevi problems, as well as dealing with democratization questions and seeing peace instilled and instilled deeply in our country.

Recently, we’ve been pushed to the brink of warfare with Russia over an incident that was not well thought out in advance. In the meantime, the Iraqi government — which can barely maintain authority in its own country — gave Ankara an ultimatum. As for our relations with Iran, they are tense. With Egypt, we no longer even have a relationship. And as for Israel, we have an interesting relationship: full of ups and downs and based on our own domestic policies.

Some pro-government analysts, stepping back to look at the general vista, have begun insisting, “Look, we are all Ottoman, we are all Selcuk, we need to create our own map.” These same analysts assert that, in light of this view, criticizing the government at this point is clear treason.

Alright, so let’s stop criticizing the government; let’s give up on our struggles for democracy, rights, freedoms and the law and simply move forward by assuring ourselves, “We’re all Ottomans.”

Those who say this is precisely how we should now operate are the folks who want to see unconditional respect and obedience for President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. This is what they really mean when they say, “Let’s not criticize the state.” So yes, let’s line up to obey Erdogan. What could go wrong? What else can we really do anyway?

Should our soldiers head into Syria? Should we go to war with Iraq? Shall we declare war against Russia? What can we do?

Perhaps before answering those questions, we need to stop and contemplate the fact that as a county, we have some serious polarization problems and that we have not solved our own ethnic and religious-based problems.

As all this unfolds, the AKP has left Parliament completely out in the cold. There are a series of very serious, critical developments in this region that directly concern Turkey, and our government does not seem to feel any need to involve our Parliament, which represents the country as a whole, in the events at hand. There is no attempt to inform or gain permission for steps being taken. All the AKP apparently needs is Erdogan’s leadership.

To think that the Ottomans could somehow be re-enlivened once again in this region nothing more than fantasy. If this is really some sort of foreign policy, then it is the kind of adventure-seeking that only winds up opening the door to more and more danger for us. It is not a foreign policy stance that reflects Turkey and its choices. It cannot be allowed to be.

Trying to cover up the truth by labelling anyone who complains or criticizes a traitor is a tyrannical method, and should never be confused with any sort of nationalism or patriotism.