By Souad Sbai
The more he is attacked, the stronger he gets. This is the bottom-line of the historical and political figure of the neo-Ottoman Sultan Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Indeed, so far he has emerged with an ever greater force from any crisis and trouble he was faced with along the way to the conquest of the absolute power. This has been true particularly in recent years, during which he succeeded to consolidate his throne in the “imperial” palace in Ankara, even before the alleged failed coup by the gulenists. The Sultan built that palace for himself, and none else will be allowed to settle there before he will pass away or decide to abdicate in favor of an heir apparent.
The 300 thousand dollars of daily costs, which were exposed – courageously – by the Turkish Court of Auditors and scandalized the whole world, represent another bitter morsel for the non-Islamist half of Turkey, and for those nationalists who have on their own consciousness the betrayal of Ataturk’s legacy in return for a seat in Erdogan’s court, in the government or in the parliament. A bitter morsel to swallow in silence, of course. The final silence that fell on the freedom of press and expression: journalists are condemned to life imprisonment or forced to “voluntary” resignations, while activists, opponents, and rock bands are in jail still waiting for the trial to begin. Woe betide then to those who dare to complain, even on Facebook, about the inflation at 25 percent, which is simply the consequence of the increasing foreign debt through which the Sultan has financed his own rise. It is also better not to depart from the imperial narrative whereby Erdogan, like the new Khomeini, points his finger at an alleged Western conspiracy on a daily basis. The Turkish people will not bow to international sanctions, God is siding with them.
In his imagination, Erdogan truly believes to be a divine instrument, and as such he is realizing the will of the heavens on earth through the ideological apparatus of the Muslim Brotherhood, the primary source of extremism since almost 100 years. By constantly using the four-finger salute of the Muslim Brotherhood (rabia), he aims to address tens of millions of Muslim Brothers scattered all over the world: in the Middle East, Asia, Africa, and Europe. International Islamism is advancing, also thanks to the support of Qatar and the Iranian Khomeinist regime, and Istanbul must become its main center. And it is indeed in the center of the city, in the touristic Taksim Square – a place for nightlife par excellence, hence tainted with the moral corruption of which the West is the bearer – that the works of a new big mosque are almost complete. The mosque has been built in little more than a year and is meant to dominate the area, emptying it of its vitality, as well as of its free and democratic soul with the passage of time.
On the other hand, “to build the future we should encourage a mosque-centered life,” the Sultan recently said, and everything else is a consequence, starting with the public and private education, not to mention the media again, until the construction of the new airport in Istanbul: the tens of dead and injured among the workers do not matter, what counts is that it will be the largest airport in the world and, above all, unlike the current main airport in Istanbul, it will no longer bear the name of Ataturk. The process of Ataturk’s removal from Turkey’s historical memory has started, although for the followers of Erdogan he has never represented the father of the Turks, but rather the great culprit who brought the Caliphate to an end, and thus his era must now suffer from the same fate at the hands of the new Sultan.
The Turkish Islamist soul, which was not affected by the process of modernization and change tied to the figure of Ataturk, regards Erdogan as a gift sent by God and this gives him the right to the impudence with which he continues to challenge everything and everyone: after his controversial visit to Germany aimed at ensuring the financial support of Angela Merkel – threatened with a new breakthrough of the Berlin gate by thousands of migrants through the Balkan route -, the Sultan provocatively proposed the relaunch of the negotiations for Turkey’s accession in the European Union, and told the oil companies of other countries not to venture beyond a certain line in the disputed waters off the coast of Cyprus (and ENI already knows something about it). In Syria, Erdogan is now playing the role of peace-maker, but in Idlib he is fighting the jihadists whom he had funded for eight years during the civil war, as they do not want to accept the agreement he reached with the Russian President Vladimir Putin. The latest is the interference in the migratory crisis affecting Italy: the Turkish navy has offered its protection to the ship “Aquarius,” now docked in Marseille, to resume its controversial rescue operations in the Mediterranean. The question then arises: how will we stop Sultan Erdogan?