THE PLATONIC TYRANNY OF ERDOGAN AND THE WORST COUP EVER

He's not Turkey's Messiah. He's a very naughty boy!
by Duns Scotus

The world has reached "Peak Democracy," with the result that we can expect to see it start collapsing any day soon. Those places where it is most likely to collapse include South America and parts of Asia, in both of which it has not really been a natural fit. Also, in certain countries, like Russia and Japan, it will continue simply because it doesn’t rock the boat too much or throw up important divisions, but elsewhere, where it does, it will face something of a reckoning.

Turkey is a good example of the problems with democracy, and why this should have been ideal territory for a partial collapse of democracy. Like Venezuela with Chavas, Brazil with Lula, or Thaksin Shinawatra in Thailand, democracy in Turkey – forced on it by its proximity and economic dependence on Europe – has basically empowered the underclass, but rather than this expressing itself in more gibsmedats it has been channelled along the lines of the creeping Islamization of Turkish society, which reveals a little of Islam's utility as a control mechanism.

But despite its usefulness in keeping the masses fulminating about trivialities, like how long a burka should be, it is also something that the old elites, who are more Europeanized, feel uncomfortable with.

Frenemies: Erdogan and Gulen
This is also the significance of the Gulen Movement, a liberal Muslim educational and social movement, whose followers appear to have played an important part in the failed coup. The movement, founded by 75-year old Fethullah Gulen, was part of the Islamization of Turkish secular society that gained speed with the electoral successes of Erdogan's Justice and Development Party in 2002; but also represents an attempt to triangulate things with the secular and more overtly religious elements of society.

Gulen’s exile, following a rift with Erdogan in 2013, is a sign of Turkish democracy running amok and leading to the conditions of its own destruction. At this point the words of Plato, even more astute than Aristotle at understanding the political cycle, are relevant. Here is his view – in dialogue format – of how democracy is superseded by the tyrant:
At first, in the early days of his power, he is full of smiles, and he salutes every one whom he meets; — he, to be called a tyrant, who is making promises in public and also in private! liberating debtors, and distributing land to the people and his followers, and wanting to be so kind and good to every one!

Of course, he said.

But when he has disposed of foreign enemies by conquest or treaty, and there is nothing to fear from them, then he is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader.

To be sure.

Has he not also another object, which is that they may be impoverished by payment of taxes, and thus compelled to devote themselves to their daily wants and therefore less likely to conspire against him?

Clearly.

And if any of them are suspected by him of having notions of freedom, and of resistance to his authority, he will have a good pretext for destroying them by placing them at the mercy of the enemy; and for all these reasons the tyrant must be always getting up a war.

He must.

Now he begins to grow unpopular.

A necessary result.

Then some of those who joined in setting him up, and who are in power, speak their minds to him and to one another, and the more courageous of them cast in his teeth what is being done.

Yes, that may be expected.

And the tyrant, if he means to rule, must get rid of them; he cannot stop while he has a friend or an enemy who is good for anything.

He cannot.

And therefore he must look about him and see who is valiant, who is high-minded, who is wise, who is wealthy; happy man, he is the enemy of them all, and must seek occasion against them whether he will or no, until he has made a purgation of the State.

Yes, he said, and a rare purgation.

Yes, I said, not the sort of purgation which the physicians make of the body; for they take away the worse and leave the better part, but he does the reverse.

If he is to rule, I suppose that he cannot help himself.

What a blessed alternative, I said: --to be compelled to dwell only with the many bad, and to be by them hated, or not to live at all!

Yes, that is the alternative.

And the more detestable his actions are to the citizens the more satellites and the greater devotion in them will he require?
While this account, written some two-and-a-half thousand years ago, does not perfectly fit the present situation of Turkey, there are uncanny resemblances:
[He]e is always stirring up some war or other, in order that the people may require a leader.
What an apt description for Erdogan’s policy towards Syria, creating a war that does not involve direct participation by the Turkish army, but which nevertheless greatly exacerbates its Kurdish problem and stirs up emotions. This in turn distracts attention from governmental abuses, like corruption, lessens criticism, and strengthens unquestioning support.
Then some of those who joined in setting him up, and who are in power, speak their minds to him and to one another, and the more courageous of them cast in his teeth what is being done.
This passage almost perfectly fits what happened between Erdogan and Gulen. The two fell out when Gulen and those trained and educated by Gulen tried to oppose the growing corruption in the Erdogan government.
And therefore he must look about him and see who is valiant, who is high-minded, who is wise, who is wealthy; happy man, he is the enemy of them all, and must seek occasion against them whether he will or no, until he has made a purgation of the State.

Yes, he said, and a rare purgation.

Yes, I said, not the sort of purgation which the physicians make of the body; for they take away the worse and leave the better part, but he does the reverse.
This passage fits in perfectly with the conspiracy theory that there was something fake about the coup and that Erdogan is using it to purge the state in order to strengthen his power. In the wake of a failed coup it makes sense to arrest army officers, but Erdogan is also using this as an excuse to fire thousands of judges and other public officials, whom he believes will object to his growing power and abuse of power.

Thrown under the bus.
Even if the coup was entirely genuine and Erdogan knew nothing about it, he is still using it in exactly this way. Whatever one wishes to say about Gulen and the possibility that he is being misused by other elements, his movement is essentially a moral and secular-friendly movement. The main proof of this is the reason for Gulen’s exile, namely his opposition and that of his followers to the corruption of the Erdogan family in 2013.

So, how should we in the Alt-Right feel about the coup?

First of all, we should be pleased that the Gulen movement is being crushed. This is exactly the kind of high-functioning, secular-friendly, "nice" Islam that can be packaged to melt borders and help countries like Turkey move into the EU. We should remember that it was the Gulen movement that was one of the main facilitators of Turkish membership of the EU. But while Turkey is capable of putting on a semi-civilized European face, it would only have ever been a facade or a Trojan horse that would have led to tens of millions of additional Muslims invading our sacred homelands.

Secondly we should point to the inability of "good democracy" to fight "bad democracy." Democracy is pushing Turkey back towards its true nature of a "Sultan state" bolstered by the ultimate gangsta culture of Islam. This is definitely not a pretty site, and many of us feel a natural sympathy with the coup plotters, who are Ataturkists – the secular fascist, "Young Turk" strain of Turkish politics. So, the Alt-Right initially welcomed the coup. But the big mistake the coup plotters made was to dress up their coup as an overly democratic putsch.

That would have been fine if the coup was reflecting a vast groundswell of discontent. But it wasn’t. It was instead a move by elements of the technocratic, secular-friendly elite to counteract the Islamic-sliding populism of Erdogan. Thus, at its very heart, the coup had a serious identity crisis – being inherently authoritarian and Fascistic, it yet attempted to package itself as "democractic."

As soon as I heard that the rebel officers had seized power in the name of what they called a “Peace Council,” I feared that the coup was doomed. When Erdogan managed to mobilize his supporters, the pseudo-democratic packaging of the coup made it powerless to quell the popular demonstrations and unite the rest of  the army behind it. By this stage, Erdogan should not even have been alive or free, let along broadcasting on national TV – another major oversight and indication of a lack of  necessary ruthlessness.

Whatever their intentions may have been, the coup plotters should initially have taken a more authoritarian, brutal, and ruthless stance, even if it meant high civilian casualties. Now, thanks to the incompetent leaders of this farce, pleb mobs around the world will feel empowered to throw themselves in front of tanks whenever the next coup comes. That is not going to end well.

My T-shirt checks your tank.

 

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