MuMTAZER – Back to the witch hunt

Back to the witch huntPrime Minister and President-elect Recep Tayyip ErdoIanand#39s balcony speech increased expectations that a new starting point both for himself and for the government would be established. Only three days were enough to smash this expectation to pieces.

ErdoIan is making arrangements to ensure that he leaves behind a smoothly operating government which will have full obedience to him and will not cause him much nuisance. To do this, he uses the best method he knows: maintaining the witch hunt.

To dodge the graft and bribery investigations of Dec. 17 and 25, 2013, ErdoIan labeled the Gulen community his archenemy and embarked on a witch hunt to profile, denigrate and purge the members of this movement.

He had claimed that these investigations were actually a conspiracy against him and his government. To add some credence to this argument, he had to find a network big and powerful enough to mastermind such a conspiracy.

Thus, he announced the Gulen community to be part of this conspiracy and grabbed this argument with both hands. Using public resources and the media outlets he controls, he disseminated this propaganda and managed to evade any negative effects of the graft probes on this government in the local polls of March 30, 2014.

Over time, he further expanded this witch hunt to serve societyand#39s need for an enemy. He also obtained favorable results in the presidential election.

Today, he uses the same method to leave behind a government whose members will be blindly obedient to himAs he targets his enemies, he uses populism — which can be easily reproduced by means of propaganda in a democracy — as well as demagoguery, which addresses sentiments instead of logic and reason. If you define an enemy for a society, no one cares about what you do as long as all eyes are on the enemy.

He used this tactic prominently during his campaign for the presidential election. For instance, he used the fact that his presidential rival Ekmeleddin IhsanoIlu can speak three foreign languages as if it were proof of his being a pro-Western elitist who is alienated from the ordinary public and this countryand#39s culture.

andquotIf a person who knows a foreign language is needed, we can find a translator,andquot he said to denigrate his rival. If he can turn knowledge of a foreign language into a disaantage for his rival and an aantage for himself, this can be explained only by his ability to satisfy societyand#39s need for an enemy.

Based on the same logic, he persistently stressed that Republican Peopleand#39s Party (CHP) leader Kemal KIlIdaroIlu is an Alevi and Peoplesand#39 Democratic Party (HDP) presidential candidate Selahattin DemirtaI is a Zaza (Kurd). Zazas constitute a minority within the Kurdish minority of Turkey.

When you call for mobilization against enemies, there is only criterion you can rely on: that your supporters are the majority.The Gulen community is the most organized of Turkeyand#39s faith-based civil society organizations.

Saying that this community was as a andquotthreat to national securityandquot during the last National Security Council (MGK) meeting he attended in his capacity as prime minister, he calls on the state to join the mobilization. Declaring that a civil society organization with broad mass support that sticks to peaceful methods is a andquotthreat to national securityandquot means nothing but searching for support from state organs for the witch hunt being maintained to stifle the corruption investigations.

So far, ErdoIan has been unable to show a single piece of evidence for this andquotthreat.andquotIn this setting, we must focus on this question: Why is ErdoIan continuing with the witch hunt even though he won the presidential election? Based on his political style, there is one answer to this question: He does not trust his party and the government he will leave behind.

By maintaining the witch hunt, he is urging his supporters and party to side with him If the enemy still poses a threat, those who donand#39t fight this enemy show their true colors.The andldquoparallel stateandrdquo rhetoric is a tool for ErdoIan to pursue his political ambitions.

It follows that he still needs it.

SOURCE: Today’s Zaman