Is link­ing two facts, two events, acts or dec­la­ra­tions, fol­low­ing the pub­li­ca­tion at the tail end of 2017 of anoth­er crim­i­nal decree in Turkey, a mat­ter of fan­ning the flames?

This pro­pa­gan­da video by big­ot­ed ultra-nation­al­ists is being pulled out again today although it was filmed six months ago. At a weapons’ fair, one could­n’t expect any­thing oth­er than a war­like demonstration.

– There are shoot­ing ranges, spaces adapt­ed to the pur­pose and autho­rized by the gen­darmerie, the police. They’re build­ing venues. Folks now are get­ting ready for some­thing to hap­pen in this coun­try. We are aware of it. 

– On July 15, that is (the attempt­ed coup d’é­tat), we were caught off-guard?… 

– Fol­low­ing July 15, both the num­ber of groups, of tac­ti­cal groups, and the num­ber of weapons began to increase. Our folks start­ed arm­ing them­selves. And our State, may Allah pro­tect it, sup­ports [this]. Because on July 15, we were caught off-guard, suddenly…For exam­ple, we did­n’t have these (he shows his weapon)… I had one, so did my bud­dies, but oth­ers did­n’t have any. What did they do? They put their body into the fight. They wove their body armor out of their own flesh. So, it [the State] said: “We have to show some­thing, give some­thing to our peo­ple.” If Allah wills it, if these rifled bar­relled firearms, mil­i­tary weapons (man­u­fac­tured in-coun­try) are avail­able for pur­chase in the coun­try, we could use our own weapon. 

Excerpt from an 18-minute reportage on Ahsen TV (an islamist web-video chain in exis­tence since the end of 2014), filmed at the weapons fair in Istan­bul and first aired on April 23 2017. The entire reportage is titled “Top­unuz gelin”. A Turk­ish expres­sion that trans­lates, more or less, as “Come on all, if you’ve got b…”

Extrait d’un reportage de Ahsen TV (une chaîne web-video islamiste exis­tant depuis fin 2014) de 18 min­utes, réal­isé dans le salon de l’arme­ment à Istan­bul, et dif­fusé le 23 avril 2017. L’in­té­grale de ce reportage est titré “Top­unuz gelin”. Une expres­sion en turc, qui cor­re­spond à “Venez tous si vous avez des c…” 

Not wishing to contribute to their audience figures, we spare you the link. You can find it easily by its title, should you wish to see it.

The reportage clos­es on the fine words of the pre­sen­ter (17:43) “As the Reis (Erdoğan) says, PYD, PKK, ISIS, come on, all of you!” At which words, the men aim their rifles toward the camera.


AKP means AK Par­ti and ak in Turk­ish : white, clean. Fol­low­ing July 15 2016, orga­ni­za­tions start­ed appear­ing on social media, with names such as the “AKmil­isler” (AK mili­tias), “AKgenç­lik” (AK youth). These lasts were added to “Osman­lı Ocak­ları” (Ottoman Homes) and the “Osman­lı Ocak­ları 1453” born of a scis­sion, both groups being infor­mal AKP orga­ni­za­tions. Through their win­dows on social media, all these groups have pub­lished calls to arms under the hash­tag “#AKsi­lahlan­ma” “AKar­ma­ment”. The lat­est decree match­es up won­der­ful­ly with these appeals.

The com­ments are not those of a sales rep­re­sen­ta­tive or of mem­ber of some weapons lob­by. They are those of the major­i­ty wing of the base of the AKP/MHP neb­u­la. They echo all the jus­ti­fi­ca­tions and advice offered at the time on nec­es­sary secur­ing against ter­ror­ism of pro-regime mil­i­tants, cadres, and even ministers…They fol­low the notion of pop­u­lar defence against infil­trat­ed ter­ror­ism that saw the great surge of crowds demon­strat­ing in July 2016, and on the idea stat­ed in many of Erdoğan’s speech­es, say­ing more or less that “the small shop own­er is our best ally and defendor”. In say­ing that, he was­n’t talk­ing about sav­ings or neigh­bor­hood businesses…

A num­ber of jour­nal­ists and politi­cians have drawn atten­tion to this wave of civil­ian weapon­ry. For exam­ple, on Novem­ber 23 2016, in Cumhuriyet, Aydın Engin wrote: “The AKP’s base is arm­ing itself with­out scruples.”

He also drew atten­tion to the fact no polit­i­cal author­i­ty was deny­ing or con­demn­ing this sit­u­a­tion and remind­ed the read­er that the Pres­i­dent of the Repub­lic’s advi­sor, Şeref Malkoç had declared ear­li­er that “the road will be opened to the bear­ing of arms with a per­mit, in order to coun­ter­act coups d’état.” 

The author not­ed that the road had been cov­ered and it fol­lowed in the words of the author­i­ties. Melih Gökçek, then May­or of Ankara, in a TV pro­gram: “There has been an extra­or­di­nary amount of arm­ing. They buy pump-action shot­guns and keep them in their homes. If tomor­row, you attempt­ed a coup d’é­tat with mil­i­tary firearms and Kalash, these peo­ple would face off with you with their shot­guns. They have final­ly under­stood. The world is try­ing to ensnare us. Must they wait for a coup d’é­tat and say “I’ll wait for them to come and kill me?” 

In his arti­cle Aydın Engin spec­i­fied that, “The way in which this ‘extra­or­di­nary amount of arm­ing’ was tak­ing place was expressed with­out var­nish, with no effort at cen­sor­ship by the pre­fects of Rize and Edirne.

Indeed the pre­fect of Rize, Erdoğan Bek­taş, (for­mer­ly the pre­fect of Man­isa), had described this dogged­ness in these terms: “In Rize, in three months, I issued as many per­mits for the the bear­ing of arms as I had issued in two years in Manisa.” 

As for Edirne, the pre­fec­ture applied a “sup­port” sys­tem as a “con­trol­ling mech­a­nism”. This involved demand­ing the per­mit appli­cant a dona­tion of up to 10 000 Turk­ish lira (2200€ at the cur­rent rate) for foun­da­tions care­ful­ly select­ed by the pre­fec­ture. Those who could pay left the premis­es with a per­mit in their pocket.

Con­cerned by the “sit­u­a­tion in which Erdo­gan and his team are push­ing the coun­try and the even­tu­al explo­sion of a mass move­ment” the author remind­ed us in his arti­cle of “the chant­i­ng that rose from the AKP strong­holds dur­ing the Gezi resis­tance, “Open the way, we will come! We will crush Gezi!” and Erdo­gan’s refrain at the time “I have trou­ble hold­ing back the 50%”. A year ago, he was already rais­ing THE ques­tion: “What is the aim of these efforts at arm­ing peo­ple? AGAINST WHOM will the weapons be used?” 

The very notion that the State appa­ra­tus needs back­ing up by accom­plices and occult mili­tias is present in the mind of every fascis­tic lean­ing ide­o­logue. And after his hav­ing fought so much against the polit­i­cal pow­er of Turk­ish mil­i­tary forces that were prac­ti­cal­ly con­sti­tu­tion­al at the time, it would be show­ing poor knowl­edge of the Turk­ish Pres­i­dent to believe he trusts his chiefs of staff entire­ly. That this army be present in Syr­ia, that it assas­si­nate in the East, and that it par­tic­i­pate in NATO manœu­vres pos­es no prob­lem, even for the offi­cial Kemal­ist “oppo­nent”. But that it be entire­ly trust­wor­thy in the eyes of the Reis, after so many ancient plots and new purges, is anoth­er matter.

Hav­ing con­sti­tut­ed through mar­riage with­in the fam­i­ly clan some­thing close to a high lev­el weapons sec­tor, and link­ing research and the weapons indus­try direct­ly to the pres­i­den­cy in the lat­est decree, can only be inter­pret­ed in light of the upcom­ing 2018 mil­i­tary bud­get, present­ly being vot­ed by the Turk­ish Par­lia­ment. It is a war bud­get. This is how it is denounced by Garo Pay­lan, HDP Deputy, in a recent inter­view on Gazete Duvar.

The army is no longer a sphere of polit­i­cal pow­er, its supe­ri­or offi­cers all being on ejectable seats, at the Caliph’s whim. The regime uses the army, more than it rests on it.

The fate reserved to the police is also known, both the increase of man­pow­er with simul­ta­ne­ous ongo­ing purges. Dur­ing 2017, there has been a whole con­tro­ver­sy over recruit­ing, the exis­tence or not of exams, the types of con­tracts. The police is no longer a force for pub­lic safe­ty, but open­ly an all-out “anti-ter­ror­ist” force of repres­sion, on which the regime relies as much as it does on the courts. Parts of the police con­tin­gents have roots in sup­ple­men­tary forces with poor­ly defined contours.

A State appar­tus frag­ilized and divid­ed by suc­ceed­ing purges thus rests on the pop­ulist doc­trine of “the ene­my with­in and the Nation One and Indi­vis­i­ble” dis­tilled at all lev­els, and on the its hand-outs, as well as on bureau­crat­ic sub­mis­sive­ness, more than on con­trol­lable con­sti­tu­tion­al pow­ers. One need only look at the fate of inves­ti­ga­tions fol­low­ing mis­con­duct and crimes to be con­vinced of this. A sup­ple­men­tary germ of fascism.

Does this mean Erdoğan is a dic­ta­tor with absolute and uncon­trol­lable power? 

His ongo­ing use of the insti­tu­tion­al machin­ery might seem to con­tra­dict such an affir­ma­tion. And an exam­i­na­tion of the rifts with­in the AKP itself would be inter­est­ing, as would a look at the ongo­ing coun­ter­weight exert­ed by the Turk­ish ex-social demo­c­ra­t­ic offi­cial opposition.

The alliance/absorption with the ultra-nation­al­ists, as absolute guar­an­tee of step­ping into Atatürk’s out­fit, even in the uni­form of a new Caliph, requires some respect for conventions.

Erdoğan’s dialec­tic calls for prepar­ing a war in order to win elec­tions he would glad­ly do with­out. Since 2015, we will have under­stood as much. In doing so, he sets the stage for fas­cism as well as for rad­i­cal islamism, nav­i­gat­ing between the two as he does, a sol­id big­ot­ed nation­al­is­tic pop­ulist. So far, this dialec­tic has served him well.

The first snag occurred with the extreme­ly nar­row vic­to­ry of the ref­er­en­dum, soon for­got­ten due to “exter­nal inter­ven­tions” and speech­es about ” med­dling and false accu­sa­tions against democ­ra­cy in Turkey”. But the thought that con­sti­tu­tion­al reform and pres­i­den­tial­iza­tion could be use­ful to oth­ers gains trac­tion, espe­cial­ly since behind the appar­ent eco­nom­ic suc­cess, finan­cial over­heat­ing caused a drop in the Turk­ish lira’s val­ue, and hid­den cor­rup­tion is com­ing to the fore again with the affairs on tri­al in the Unit­ed States.

Enough to give ideas to old warhors­es and inspire oth­ers with thoughts that – should the steer­ing wheel change hands, one should be ready for it, espe­cial­ly since a major­i­ty of the only demo­c­ra­t­ic oppo­si­tion is in prison, and the “tra­di­tion­al” one, tired by its last march.

Yet the fire of resis­tances still burns, despite the fear, the demor­al­iza­tion and the extreme polarization…

Time, there­fore, for the regime to fan the flames in order to real­ize the 2023 prophecy.

Français : Aux armes citoyennEs ! Allu­mons le feu ! Cliquez pour lire

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