Of Posters and Murders in Turkey

The picture below is of a poster which appeared in Istanbul in the run-up to Christmas, and a Turkish friend has confirmed its authenticity after I saw it on Twitter.  The writing is to the effect of “We’re Muslims, we don’t want Christmas and New Year celebrations!”

It is safe to say that such a poster would not have been tolerated by the Turkish authorities prior to Recep Erdoğan’s ascension to power and his subsequent efforts to move Turkey away from the secularism of Ataturk and towards some sort of Islamic theocracy.

On  New Year’s eve a gunman murdered 39 people in a nightclub in Istanbul that was popular with secular Turks and foreigners.  News is breaking that ISIS is claiming responsibility.  Following the murder of the Russian ambassador to Turkey a couple of weeks ago by a Turkish policeman, I said:

What must now be causing Erdoğan to break out in a cold sweat is whether by neutralising all threats from the secualrists in Turkey he has overlooked the threats posed by extremists, who are now seeing opportunities to make inroads into that country which didn’t exist before.

Erdoğan has shifted Turkey to a position where large posters promoting violent Islamist intolerance against secularists are permitted on the streets of Istanbul (and presumably other cities) because his political power is strongest with the nation at this point on the spectrum between secularism and religious fundamentalism.  However, in doing so he has severely weakened the institutions which protected Turkey from fundamentalist religious elements such that he might now be unable to stop any slide along the spectrum from the position of his choosing to one much worse.  In short, Erdoğan has allowed the extremist camel to stick its nose inside the Turkish tent.

According to the news reports, the perpetrator of the nightclub attack is still at large.  In my earlier post I speculated as to what degree Turkey’s security forces have been infiltrated by extremists like the one who shot the Russian ambassador:

It’s all very well him chucking secular journalists in jail and kicking professors out of universities, but this isn’t going to make Erdoğan any more secure if Turkey’s riot police has been infiltrated by ISIS.  And what about the army?  Who replaced all those secular officers that were purged?  Officers who were on board with Erdoğan’s programmes, presumably.  But were they screened for extremism?  I doubt it.

I wonder how many Turkish policemen are helping the nightclub gunman to evade capture?


7 thoughts on “Of Posters and Murders in Turkey

  1. Pingback: Around the media | Orphans of Liberty

  2. Maybe Turkey is the real caliphate after all.

    Are we really to believe that following a purge of tens of thousands Gulenists that Erodgan failed to check out those assigned to his personal security, like the assassin. Would he not have cleaned up his immediate area of anyone even suspected of being linked to or having sympathy towards Gulen. We are talking an awful lot of people that were rounded up here, yet his trusted security guard “slipped through” even though he was subsequently and relatively easily found to have strong ties to Gulen?


  3. From an artistic point of view, it is interesting that the ‘art’ shows a strong (and presumably righteous) muslim felling a pale, perhaps unprepared Santa — and odd too that the gunman at the night club reportedly wore a Santa outfit though the enemies of civilisation and order have always used deception — with a straight right with left ready for the hook, so the observer who is probably a Turkish muslim will see strength triumphing. In other words, they are strong and the principle of say giving presents to children is weak. The fact that most Santas are old men who traditionally aren’t ready for a punch up is lost in this depiction and never going to be a factor in the ideology behind it.

    Of course, the non-muslim might observe that punching an old man handing out presents is about as good as islam gets, but I could not possibly comment on that.

    I am also intrigued at the idea of new year being dumped in there as a hate point: oh yes, I get that it is the ‘Christian’ calendar but if Turkey is going to part of the greater world, what are they going to adopt instead? There has to be some change of year date at some point whatever they choose, so by definition there has to be some sort of new year marker. Also, if they are rejecting western values then why do they want to be part of the EU, other than free money? And why too haven’t they reverted, if it is so important, to arabic script rather than roman lettering? Hmmm…

  4. Good post Tim, seems to me you are way ahead of the MSM with your analysis.

    Ever since my first visit, I have always loved Istanbul and it certainly is tragic witnessing this slide into the abyss.

  5. Good post Tim, seems to me you are way ahead of the MSM with your analysis.

    Thanks! 🙂

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