The timid expres­sions of sol­i­dar­i­ty expressed in Euro­pean coun­tries for the oppo­si­tion in Turkey take the form of col­lo­quia, round tables, fes­tiv­i­ties, and dec­la­ra­tions dur­ing Euro­pean par­lia­men­tary ses­sions, in lan­guage exclud­ing all real polit­i­cal analysis.

Any Euro­pean par­lia­men­tar­i­an will tell you that, in order not to med­dle in Turkey’s “domes­tic affairs”, one must remain at the lev­el of notions… let us call them… moral or philo­soph­i­cal, of a uni­ver­sal and legal char­ac­ter, such as notions of safe­guard­ing human rights. Thus, one will hear “cau­tion­ary state­ments” here and more rarely “con­dem­na­tions of inap­pro­pri­ate words or actions” dur­ing solemn dec­la­ra­tions deliv­ered from on high in a star-bedecked rostrum.

For the past three years, this has been the case dur­ing ses­sions of the Coun­cil of Europe, dur­ing slight­ly tense diplo­mat­ic episodes with Erdoğan, or dur­ing the press con­fer­ences arranged around these meetings…

Thus, the terms “free­dom of expres­sion”, “democ­ra­cy”, “drifts”, “attacks on free­doms” bloom in press releas­es and “objec­tive” papers, via the “diplo­ma­cy” of Europe or of its mem­ber states. This, we are told, speaks the most wide­ly to the “pub­lic at large”.

In the glob­al mar­ket, it is the rule not to insult the cus­tomer and this atti­tude has leached into a diplo­ma­cy that was already not in the least “offen­sive” in its rela­tions known as “inter­na­tion­al”.

The real-poli­tik asso­ci­at­ed with defend­ing eco­nom­ic and finan­cial inter­ests total­ly placed inter­na­tion­al bod­ies under its sway and this, from their very incep­tion. No sur­prise here : in describ­ing this glob­al lib­er­al cap­i­tal­ist func­tion­ing, I’m barg­ing through a wide open gate.

But play­ing the ingénu when speak­ing of politi­cians and insti­tu­tions sim­ply allows me to ques­tion the atti­tude and posi­tion­ing of asso­ci­a­tions, groups, even par­ties which, in prin­ci­ple and in their declared objec­tives, should not feel tied to this pol­i­cy rem­i­nis­cent of banana repub­lic type diplo­ma­cy, to the extent of bor­row­ing its man­ner­isms and expressions.

Con­trary to the politi­cians I was quot­ing above, asso­ci­a­tions with inter­na­tion­al man­dates in rela­tion with the safe­guard of human rights nor­mal­ly ignore real-poli­tik (that is, when their finan­cial back­ers don’t exert pres­sure on them). But the argu­ment invok­ing the need for mobi­lizat­ing “as wide­ly as possible“often pro­duces the same result, in the name of nec­es­sary objec­tiv­i­ty and avoid­ing tak­ing sides. Exam­ples abound where analy­sis and denun­ci­a­tion lead­ing to sup­port and reac­tion are replaced by affect , and the spec­ta­cle of sen­ti­men­tal­i­ty when defend­ing human rights. The good deed replaces ful­ly con­scious sol­i­dar­i­ty and the “sol­i­dar­i­ty busi­ness” brings “image div­i­dends” and roy­al­ties to those who put it in prac­tice. Said asso­ci­a­tions are thus “spon­sorized” by the very sys­tem they are sup­posed to denounce. The sto­ry goes full cir­cle. There also, I barged through a wide open door.

A con­trario, I wel­come in pass­ing the fact some asso­ci­a­tions among the most well known have begun to renew their ties with real polit­i­cal sol­i­dar­i­ty and pro­vide ana­lyt­i­cal mate­r­i­al and denun­ci­a­tions, despite the con­straints of con­ven­tion­al language.

In the great “human val­ues” mar­ket, one must then try to find a true path to effec­tive mobi­liza­tion of the hearts, for sure, but most­ly of the minds, when the time comes to real­ize it is in everyone’s inter­est to have “eyes wide open” on the Mid­dle East… for instance.
By ric­o­chet, attempt­ing to do that by putting for­ward this or that case — and thus “per­son­al­i­ties” — for a bet­ter under­stand­ing of the larg­er sit­u­a­tion, shar­ing analy­ses to that effect could be assim­i­lat­ed to the “great mar­ket” I’ve just denounced.

This is why, for exam­ple, we wouldn’t think of sim­ply using the term attack on “reedom of expres­sion”, of “denial of democ­ra­cy” in order to car­ry out a sol­i­dar­i­ty cam­paign around the Kur­dish woman, artist and jour­nal­ist Zehra Doğan.

The repres­sion to which she is sub­ject­ed and her incar­cer­a­tion are not sim­ply the nega­tion of “great uni­ver­sal prin­ci­ples”. They are linked to a polit­i­cal con­text, a spe­cif­ic strug­gle she is lead­ing for change, and to the polit­i­cal and mate­r­i­al repres­sion that is the regime’s response, a response the his­to­ry and nature of which we must ana­lyze in order to fight it. The repres­sion is also deter­mined by her con­di­tions of birth, as a woman and a Kurd, in a high­ly patri­ar­cal and Tur­ki­cised soci­ety. Demon­strat­ing its con­stant nui­sance val­ue in the Mid­dle East and on the Euro­pean con­ti­nent would even con­sti­tute a plus… Her words and her art express all that and ren­der it under­stand­able, as long as we don’t over­lay it with a con­ven­tion­al “objec­tive” var­nish. Her words are what is uni­ver­sal and collective.

This is where we find the basis for real sup­port and sol­i­dar­i­ty and all the ques­tions we must ask our­selves in order to get involved.

When we con­tributed to a cam­paign that then became trans-nation­al around the threat still weigh­ing on author Aslı Erdoğan, we learned much, and are still learn­ing, as a mat­ter of fact…

A few words only… Her pub­lish­er in France, a busi­ness­woman now Cul­ture Min­is­ter, can both greet a return­ing jour­nal­ist held hostage such as Loup Bureau, with­out a sin­gle pub­lic word of con­dem­na­tion against Turkey, and con­grat­u­late her­self for a sol­i­dar­i­ty in “free­dom of expres­sion” toward her author, to which she con­tributed her mod­est share by a sig­nif­i­cant increase in her sales… with­out for a sin­gle moment pre­sent­ing a polit­i­cal analy­sis liable to con­demn the Turk­ish regime. The bestow­ing of prizes and dis­tinc­tions that couldn’t occur because of the restric­tions on Asli Erdogan’s free­dom, now allow for a few timid cri­tiques here and there toward a “regime whose future we can’t pre­dict”. We watch a re-order­ing among well-bred peo­ple, far from the many evenings of mil­i­tant sol­i­dar­i­ty in which an under­stand­ing of the polit­i­cal sit­u­a­tion in Turkey was always a com­po­nent, tak­ing into account the roots of its present cir­cum­stances, based on the read­ing of texts incrim­i­nat­ed by the Turk­ish regime, with­out in any way set­ting aside the human dimen­sion of the the prob­lem. Now, we lose count on the num­ber of jour­nal­ists who also keep qui­et over here…

Although we doubt Asli Erdo­gan will be incar­cer­at­ed again, although that fate is still demand­ed by Turk­ish injus­tice, our doubts are even greater that those “insti­tu­tion­al” ones would defend her again, if the AKP regime per­sist­ed ; and, even more, are we appalled to see that those late arrivals on the defense team nev­er men­tion the co-accused in these round robin tri­als, and even less the impris­oned mem­bers of the oppo­si­tion, when they don’t throw out an agreed-upon and often inex­act num­ber of jour­nal­ists in prison, putting on the req­ui­site “sad” face for the occasion…

I will not even men­tion the pos­tures and pos­es of mis­er­able intel­lec­tu­als in search of caus­es to defend for their own sake…

The ener­gy of true sol­i­dar­i­ty has evap­o­rat­ed in “guest” TV chat­ter on media plat­forms. Every­one can find the shoe that fits here.

This is why Kedis­tan will nev­er trim its sail on the polit­i­cal ground­ing of the sit­u­a­tions it denounces, on the infor­ma­tion it trans­mits or dur­ing con­crete sol­i­dar­i­ty cam­paigns, be it out of oppor­tunism to gain wider support…that gets dilut­ed in an ocean of mer­chan­dized compassion.

Strong words” are incar­cer­at­ed in Turkey, and threat­ened in their flesh. We have been their echo cham­ber for the past three years.

Those words describe, ana­lyze, make vis­i­ble, give keys to under­stand­ing. Being in sol­i­dar­i­ty means act­ing as their trans­mis­sion belt, and not sim­ply cry­ing out when their voic­es are silenced.

It is more than time to take a stand by the side of those fight­ing for oth­er futures and who for that very rea­son are sub­ject­ed to the repres­sive pow­ers of the State they are con­test­ing, and no longer to dilute their strug­gles in Char­lie-type slogans.

Did you know gold­fish turn grey in tepid waters ?

Trans­la­tion by Renée Lucie Bourges

En français : “Turquie • Quand on veut noy­er le pois­son” Cliquez pour lire

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Let­tres mod­ernes à l’Université de Tours. Gros mots poli­tiques… Coups d’oeil politiques…