How Erdogan’s ruling AKP poisoned Turkey / Ali Abaday

<p style="text-align: left;">Just like the rest of the world, Turkey is now dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Although Turkey was late in reporting its first case, on March 11, the country has since had one of the fastest coronavirus growing rates.

There is one aspect to the pandemic that differentiates Turkey from the rest of the world.

While most developed and developing countries have announced various aid packages to help their citizens suffering from the economic havoc wreaked by the social distancing measures taken to slow the spread of the virus, Turkey has turned to its citizens to help by making donations.

This is not the first time this has happened. The country has previously seen government officials initiating aid campaigns to help out in various natural disasters. However, in each case, it was never found out where the money went or how it was spent.

For example, the taxes collected after the devastating 1999 earthquake in Izmit province were not reserved for disasters; instead, they were added to the Treasury, and it is not clear how they have been used.

Since all of this money accumulating in the Treasury was spent in the 2018 lira crisis and afterwards to slow the rise of the dollar, the country is now facing the biggest epidemic in the world with a hole in its pocket. As such, instead of offering economic aid to the public, as it should be doing, the government is concerning itself with conducting propaganda and giving out an IBAN number to collect donations.

Since it was understood from the beginning that there would be very little participation in this campaign, many state institutions were forced to donate, and those who don&rsquo;t want to participate are required to submit written applications. This means they will be put &ldquo;profiled.&rdquo; Everyone knows that the people who make these applications will lose their jobs or even be subject to police investigations.

In any case, the increased dissemination of information throughout this whole process has led to increased social divisions among the public.

Although Turkey has weathered social division in the past, in some situations people have been able to leave their hostilities behind and come together in the interest of the country. This time, the attitude of the two sides is one of &ldquo;Whatever happens to the other side, so be it.&rdquo;

Ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) supporters don&rsquo;t appear to care one bit about the tragedy of the disease taking hold in prisons, using the July 2016 coup attempt to justify themselves.

There are thousands of people in jail just for slander or for, say, depositing money at Bank Asya, a bank associated with the Gulen movement, which Ankara accuses of masterminding the coup. Aside from that, there are journalists in prison, too, charged under baffling laws like &ldquo;acting on behalf of an organization without being a member of the organization.&rdquo; And then of course there are the Kurdish politicians, Turkey&rsquo;s perennial scapegoats. However, none of these people are included in the upcoming partial amnesty bill for prisoners.

It&rsquo;s not as though people aren&rsquo;t watching all of this and becoming enraged at the state of the country. In fact, fissures are deepening among those who embrace AKP ideology and support the party, but do not have the right qualifications to reach certain positions, who belittle the opposition and make statements attributing blame to others. Another factor that increases social division is that these same people sponge off the Treasury to support their luxurious lifestyles and pass the tab on to the opposition. For example, in Turkey&rsquo;s largest city of Istanbul, which the AKP ruled for over two decades until last year, millions were transferred to pro-President Recep Tayyip Erdogan foundations.

As a result of the discriminatory approaches employed by President and AKP Chairman Erdogan starting in the last 17 years, these divisions are gradually spreading like poison in the blood.

The Turkish people who are benevolent and hospitable, as well as oppressed, are being erased from society one by one and replaced by people who enjoy causing suffering and who are happy to see bad things happen to people other than themselves.

This situation, which I think of as poisoning, reminds me especially of the character in the comic book The Batman Who Laughs, first released in 2017.

In an alternative universe, Batman breaks with his best-known moral code and kills his archenemy, the Joker. However, hidden in the Joker&rsquo;s heart is a gas that poisons whoever are nearest to him at the moment of death, causing that person to become like him. As a result, Batman takes on the Joker&rsquo;s psychopathic characteristics.

The Batman Who Laughs is more dangerous than all of the other villains because he has Batman&rsquo;s, or rather, Bruce Wayne&rsquo;s memories, experiences, and training. Combined with the Joker&rsquo;s psychopathic tendencies, Batman can kill anyone, even his best friends.

Turkey, at this moment, is being transformed by a poisonous gas that comes from the AKP. Although it is believed that divisions like these will end at some point, Turkey, like Batman (who never recovered from the Joker&rsquo;s poison), will unfortunately never go back to the way it was.

We might as well accept the fact that what we&rsquo;re experiencing right now will ripple through the next few generations. These divisions will continue after Erdogan is gone and will likely deepen when the AKP loses power, because the whole country is under the influence of this poison.

The opposition hates the people who don&rsquo;t like their way of life just as much as those who try to force changes hate the opposition.

This hatred is even more dangerous than coronavirus, because a vaccine for the virus may be found, or people may develop immunity, but unfortunately, an antidote for hate cannot be found so easily.


Reporter&rsquo;s code: 50101

News Code 107801

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