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Head­lines are stream­ing, fol­low­ing Erdoğan’s qua­si-anath­e­ma hurled against French Pres­i­dent Macron, after a num­ber of less-than-diplo­mat­ic exchanges over Lybia and the Mediterranean.

Cou­pled with ter­ror­ist assas­si­na­tions on Euro­pean soil, these words and speech­es by Erdoğan, cou­pled with calls to boy­cott French prod­ucts could lead some to believe the cri­sis has reached una­paralled heights.

One occur­rence does not a cus­tom make, so we are shar­ing a video bor­rowed from a tele­vi­sion sta­tion that nev­er backs away from spread­ing Erdoğan’s declarations.

From the Mid­dle East to North­ern Africa, from South­ern Asia to Europe, every­where, not a day goes by when oppres­sions tar­get­ting Mus­lims do not increase. Aus­tri­a’s cur­rent atti­tude toward Mus­lims, mosques and prayer venues is only the vis­i­ble side of the hos­til­i­ty and racism against Islam in Europe. From this loca­tion, I am address­ing myself to Europe and more specif­i­cal­ly to Aus­tria, to Aus­tri­a’s Prime Min­is­ter: Lis­ten, don’t for­get this; you are an appren­tice, your atti­tudes could bring you a lot of prob­lems. Because you have to know that clos­ing down a mosque in Aus­tria, expelling Mus­lims from Aus­tria, will lead men of faith over there to pick up the strug­gle between the cru­saders and the faith­ful, and that you will be respon­si­ble for this. And in telling you this, I am not only address­ing you over there. I am address­ing myself to all the West­ern World. Hey-Ho West­ern World, start­ing with Ger­many! Put your house in order. If you do not put it in order, events will fol­low anoth­er path. Because we also have our own argu­ments and steps we will take. Con­se­quent­ly, we will nev­er allow the per­se­cu­tion over there of my 250 thou­sand broth­ers. We will do what we must do.” 

Well, con­trary to what one might think, these words date back to June 11 2018, more than two years pri­or to the ter­ror­ist action claimed by the Islam­ic State in Vien­na these past few days.

In no way does this exono­rate Erdoğan for cre­at­ing a favor­able cli­mate to such actions in the last few weeks, but this does not des­ig­nate him as the ide­al cul­prit of the moment. And our read­ers know full well how much we detest this individual.

Quite the con­trary. Replac­ing these words from 2018 in con­text, although they were bare­ly men­tioned in an edi­tion of Ouest France on June 10 2018 which was quot­ed in Le Monde as the extreme right did dur­ing the years from 2017 to 2019, strikes us as intrest­ing in more ways than one, in order to clear up some very yel­low-liv­ered com­ments pro­duced by the oh-so-sec­u­lar French right wing and right-lean­ing left­ists now com­pet­ing with the extreme right wing in the down­ward spi­ral. The (Grey) Wolf is not always where one wish­es to find him in order to dis­solve him.

A few structural reminders:

• The Turk­ish pres­i­den­tial elec­tions that allowed Erdoğan to inau­gu­rate his new con­sti­tu­tion­al garb trans­form­ing him into a super-Pres­i­dent took place in July 2018.
• Dur­ing that same year, France played host to Erdoğan twice, once in Jan­u­ary, then in Novem­ber.
In Jan­u­ary, For­eign Affairs Min­is­ter Le Dri­an made the fol­low­ing com­ments: “… In many regards, Turkey remains a strate­gic part­ner in mat­ters per­tain­ing to migra­tions, the fight against ter­ror­ism, resolv­ing region­al crises, even though the dia­logue must be more demand­ing con­cern­ing the com­mit­ments Turkey took upon itself con­cern­ing Human Rights…” In March 2018, while Erdoğan ordered troops to invade Afrin – the Kur­dish ter­ri­to­ry in Syr­ia – this same min­is­ter rec­om­mend­ed “mod­er­a­tion” to the one who, undoubt­ed­ly, would thus resolve “a region­al cri­sis” and “fight against terrorism”. 

In Novem­ber 2018, the Pres­i­dent invit­ed “State lead­ers” to the cer­e­monies mark­ing the Novem­ber 11 Remem­brance Day com­mem­o­ra­tion of the Armistice declared in World War 1. Erdoğan was a par­tic­i­pant. He strolled through Paris and gave the “rabia” sign of “four fin­gers and a fold­ed thumb” (sym­bol­iz­ing sup­port for the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood) to a small crowd greet­ing him with Turk­ish flags. This caused a flur­ry of emo­tion in the Figaro. Erdo­gan fol­lowed up by declar­ing he was salut­ing ‘the broth­ers’ and denounced the “cor­rupt­ing influ­ence of the West”.

• In Decem­ber 2018, Erdoğan spent three days in Ger­many where he inau­gu­rat­ed a mosque and col­lect­ed some cash. As a reminder, the Turk­ish dias­po­ra in Europe had pro­vid­ed him one mil­lion votes, six months earlier.

• Final­ly in March 2018, fol­low­ing sev­er­al instances of black­mail in 2016 and 2017, Erdoğan demand­ed an addi­tion­al 3 bil­lion euros from the EU as part of the March 18 2016 deal over migrants.

And this is but a brief anthol­o­gy of the so-called “strate­gic part­ner­ship”

What could pos­si­bly serve to “rel­a­tivize” the qua­si-fat­wa hurled by Erdoğan against Aus­tria in 2018, as demon­strat­ed in this video? What could pos­si­bly have kept those words, just as vio­lent as the cur­rent ones con­cern­ing Pres­i­dent Macron’s men­tal fac­ul­ties, out of sight, so as to avoid caus­ing so much as a rip­ple in the pho­ny smiles the EU had for the Reis in 2018? What made eyes turn away, to the point of being com­plic­it in the inva­sion of Afrin and the sit­u­a­tion it caused in Syr­ia and in Rojava?

To these ques­tions, one can only answer: for the most part, it was the migrant issue and the accord ini­ti­at­ed by Ger­many and warm­ly sup­port­ed by all.

Thus the agen­das of the xeno­pho­bic and iden­ti­tar­i­an extreme right move­ments in Europe, and their polit­i­cal black­mail, dic­tat­ed the dis­hon­est com­pro­mise with the “big brother”.

This reminder great­ly mod­i­fies the per­spec­tive over the pseu­do ter­mi­nol­o­gy of “islamo left­ism” being trad­ed as an insult these days. As per­tains to bilat­er­al trade with Sau­di Ara­bia and Qatar, we already get the pic­ture, from the right-lean­ing left­ists and right-lean­ing extremists.

If we con­sid­er Erdoğan nowa­days as he attempts to grab the lead­er­ship rel­a­tive to his neo-Ottoman dream, by count­ing on the sup­port of the “Mus­lim Broth­ers” and his rhetoric about “Mus­lims in need of sav­ing because they are under the yoke of non-believ­ers”, and of these same unfor­tu­nate brethen who must be “won over to the cause”, one must admit that a large boule­vard was cleared for his ideas over the pre­vi­ous years. And cer­tain­ly not by those polit­i­cal cur­rents in France that are sup­port­ive of the Kur­dish strug­gle, for instance, with its com­po­nent of fem­i­nist strug­gle.

To speak clear­ly, what is grouped under the des­ig­na­tion of “Mus­lims” is most­ly made up of pop­u­la­tions assigned to a reli­gion and whose “social prob­lems” are well known. This is done for rea­sons of polit­i­cal expe­di­en­cy and devi­ates from the reli­gious plan as per­tains to racism as well as oth­er forms of social dis­crim­i­na­tion, all flow­ing out of State poli­cies con­duct­ed in the last half cen­tu­ry. One need only men­tion the words “decol­o­niza­tion”, “immi­grant labor”, “ghet­tos in hous­ing poli­cies”, and many oth­ers, to get a clear pic­ture of the landscape.

With­in and out­side of this land­scape, rad­i­cal polit­i­cal solu­tions con­front one anoth­er. If one “car­i­ca­tures” slight­ly, they range from rad­i­cal islamism to sov­er­eignist assim­i­la­tion­ists. From the broth­ers, through the right-lean­ing white sec­u­lar­ists, on to the self-declared xeno­phobes and fur­ther on to the pro­po­nents of the the­ses speak­ing of the “Great Replace­ment”. Such an are­na promis­es to fill the tele­vi­sion stu­dios for years. To which should be added the “islamist intel­lec­tu­als” stir­ring up the pot of vic­tim­iz­ing by instru­men­tal­iz­ing obvi­ous real­i­ties – which will in no way pro­tect said “mus­lims” who will become the vic­tims of all the dif­fer­ent camps at once.

Islamist ter­ror­ism is mur­der­ing every­where across the world. Begin­ning in coun­tries where Islam is almost a State reli­gion. Aus­tria and Kab­ul were hit at the same time. In Africa, it is hap­pen­ing every day.

Rad­i­cal polit­i­cal islamism and its ‘soft’ vari­a­tions are a polit­i­cal ide­ol­o­gy, a means of dom­i­na­tion and pow­er. It is per­fect­ly able to adapt to forms of unfet­tered cap­i­tal­ism and to the man­age­ment of total­i­tar­i­an states. And, indeed, Erdoğan who is attempt­ing his takeover bid in com­pe­ti­tion with the “broth­ers”, should, at the very least, have a Secu­ri­ty file opened against him in France.

Yet, this iden­ti­fi­able and iden­ti­fied polit­i­cal islamism finds itself fac­ing lead­ers who do busi­ness with it open­ly, usu­al­ly by sell­ing it weapons, and its lead­ers or Par­ty lead­ers, be they sov­er­eignists, nation­al­ists and xeno­pho­bic, open up roads for them in high-end nego­ti­a­tions with its rep­re­sen­ta­tives. Should we then bland­ly talk about islamo-cap­i­tal­ism, or islamo-nation­al­ism? Turkey and its Bro’ The First, is an inter­est­ing lab­o­ra­to­ry in which to observe the mon­ster. Dig­ging a bit is more effi­cient than show­ing Erdoğan in his under­pants or rant­i­ng in the sec­u­lar mode every morn­ing in the media, don’t you think? Which is not to say that we are ban­ish­ing sec­u­lar­ism, quite the con­trary. But when self-pro­claimed intel­lec­tu­als trail­ing whiffs of neo­colo­nial­ism, cur­rent­ly pre­tend to be its hyp­o­crit­i­cal defendors in the man­ner of the Third French Repub­lic, assail­ing mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism while they’re at it, and mim­ic­k­ing a uni­ver­sal­ism void­ed of all mean­ing, they rein­force the xeno­pho­bic the­ses of the right extremists.

Ever since Kedis­tan’s incep­tion, we have con­stant­ly sound­ed the alarm against the Munichs in EU poli­cies or their silences, because these ques­tions keep crop­ping up when speak­ing of the rela­tion­ships between the Mid­dle East and Europe. And the way lives in North­ern Syr­ia and Roja­va are sac­ri­ficed to ISIS, and aban­doned to the hands of the “broth­ers’ ” god­fa­ther, because they speak of a dif­fer­ent future for humanity.

These poli­cies will give birth to mon­sters and clones of those already at work.


Translation by Renée Lucie Bourges
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Le petit mag­a­zine qui ne se laisse pas caress­er dans le sens du poil.