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Book review: New light on Turkey's dark history

not so long ago, when the US and Western europe writhing in the convulsions after the financial crisis, saw Turkey's forecast to be better than ever. The country seemed on the road to travel out of the ashes, breaking the history's shackles, and take out a completely new course.

the Economy grew during the förnuftige the minister of finance Ali Babacans supervision; relations between small and large neighbours was decent; the negotiations on the accession to the EU, led by the same Pipe, appeared for the first time to be more than an empty ritual. The feared National security (= military) power of veto over the policy was broken, and the press was freer than ever. As in the prophet Isaiah's vision of peace, where the lamb and the wolves walked side by side, so voted in favour of the big cities of western-oriented kulturelit on the conservative islamistregeringen - and defended it before skeptical foreign analysts. And then the startling climax: the secret negotiations in Oslo with the kurdish PKK, which against all the odds, bore fruit. Spring 2013 was proclaimed by the PKK-leader Abdullah Öcalan ceasefire and ordered his men to lay down their weapons or leave the country.

the hurricane passed over this promising landscape. The war against the PKK, with huge civilian devastation in and outside Turkey, is raging for the fourth year. The economy is in rags and the relations with the region's regimes – except Qatar, and Hamas are bad or poor. The EU has always struck again its doors to Turkey and jihadisters terrorbombningar has scared tourists from the country. The judiciary is moving sooner in power, interests, freedom of the press is extinguished, and the innocent detainees can be counted in the tens of thousands – over two hundred new prisons are under construction. The man behind this statement, president Tayyip Erdogan, is the same person as in the beginning of the century seemed to do everything right. Even more strange is it that the devastation has not gone out of his position. He is more popular than any Turkish leader since statsgrundaren Mustafa Kemal Atatürk.

How does this confusing and bewildering course of events in the Turkish history as we know it? We are accustomed to consider modern Turkey as the scene of a culture - and a power struggle between a secular, westernized sinnat establishment, ”kemalisterna”, and a traditionally muslim people. Kemalisterna dominated during the greater part of the republic, until they met his superior in Russia, which is now set tradition and religion in the place of honour.

this is the stencil. But this ingrained system of reference is useless and misleading, and makes us miss the essence of Turkish politics and history, argues Halil Karaveli in his book ”Why Turkey is authoritarian?” (Pluto Press). Karaveli, a Swedish journalist and researcher, partly raised in Turkey, making this a bold and largely very convincing reinterpretation of Turkey's turbulent recent history.

and modernity has certainly played a role in Turkey, as well as everywhere on earth, but it coincides by no means with motsatsparen ”religion–secularism” and ”left–right”. The core theme in the country's modern history, which cries out for an explanation, instead auktoritarismen, the disappointing equilibrium where the country, apparently legally, then go back after every democratic attempt. It is important with the country's rulers are not the variegated differences between their religious inclinations or their view of the west, but their similarities. Ataturk and Erdogan, Menderes and Ozal; Ismet Inönü, general Evren and Süleyman Demirel may have been, how different that time but, shows Karaveli, they all stand with both feet within the same authoritarian tradition. Only one of the republic's leaders have had the courage and the moral rising to turn our backs on the given ledarkonceptet and meet people without the whip in hand: the aristocrat and poet Bülent Ecevit.

Karaveli shows with striking example to the secular power, also when the signpost – home and away – with its secularism, not at all been particularly hostile to islam. Pretty soon after Ataturk's death in 1938, his party CHP soften the anti-religious decrees. In the beginning of the 1930s, there were in the whole country not more than 9 korankurser, where school children received religious instruction in the state house. In 1960, there were 658, and thirty years later 4.420. The many muslim brödraskapen, which have been forced beneath the earth by Atatürk, was not allowed to just come out into the light, they had all the greater influence in the management. Religion and tradition became legitimate antidotes against the far more dreaded communism. The mystic Nakshibendi order's thrived in several statsverk under prime minister Turgut Özals protection. The most notorious and extreme example of the intimate relations between the republic and the religious communities is, of course, Gülensekten, as with several regimes with good memory took control of the judicial apparatus and the police – and since 2013 have been cleared out with great frenzy.

would have been the conservative islamists, in the kemalismen, or the secular under Erdogan, who fared particularly badly in Turkey. The permanent losers, underlines Karaveli, has been in two other groups, the kurds and the left. They have murdered in the hundreds and thousands, often in the open street, not rarely with the political management good memory. A key role in these blodsorgier has been played by the fascist raw the wolves” and its death squads. When Austria recently banned the Grey wolves 'hälsningsgest protested the foreign MINISTRY in Ankara, and went to the wolves' defense. It is difficult to imagine a more striking illustration of Karavelis thesis on auktoritarismen that the political power överideologi.

Karavelis the concepts are surprisingly marxist for a person with a past as a liberal editorial writer. Concepts such as ”bourgeoisie” and ”progressive” are used as if they were crystal-clear and universally embraced. Classes and their mutual relationships are not only analyskategorier without ”forces” in the true 1800-talsanda, which sometimes brings the exciting story in an unnecessarily deterministic tone. ”Neoliberal” is not a good indication of the Turkish state centralist and klientelistiska ways to conduct economy, and even less on Erdogan, a person who believes that high interest rates are a jewish plot and that after almost two decades in power, denies the relationship between interest rates and inflation.

In this political culture, where no leader ever approached voters on a peer and respectful way, is a brilliant exception. Bülent Ecevit took over the statsbärande party CHP in 1972, and brought it firmly to the left. His socialist vision could never be realized, but in a sense he won: He proved that a radical political message, it certainly can gain a hearing among believers and traditional-minded voters. In the 1977 elections, not only he defeated the conservative and religious parties – he won in Konyaprovinsen, then as now, islam's strongest in the country. There existed, therefore, no fated contradiction between the socialist reforms and simple muslims ' belief! Many have tried, and succeeded, suggerera produce such a contradiction, not only among the european spectators, but also of the millions of turks. Ecevit, himself a believing muslim, has revealed that the reality looks different. His saw it as his task to correct the ”kemalismens historic mistake when it put the equal sign between religion and reaction” – and he succeeded.

myths, conspiracy theories and conspiracies! – than Turkey's. One of the most hardy myths, tenderly nurtured in the ruling AKP party's media, is – with Karavelis words – the one that teaches that ”the conservatives have been martyrs, victims of the state and the military which oppressed the civil society and ignored the will of the people, until their power was crushed by Erdogan”. This widespread tankefigur, shows Karaveli with rich examples, turns a blind eye to the conservative party's own authoritarian inclinations and their frequent dealings with the military and the plutokrater.

the Powerful and shadowy forces gaddade together to crush the Bülent Ecevit and his projects. During these horrific events, the USA played a little honorable role, and it is perhaps understandable if Karaveli in their appreciation of Ecevit tempted to the less authoritative anti-american soars. He writes about Chile, that the united states planned a coup against its lawful government in 1973. The coup was an entirely domestic production, the results of the united states in the post accepted. More serious is that Karaveli blames the USA for islamic terrorism's origins. Islamist terror has been spread by many striped reasons, but above all because the region's richest and most brutal regimes, Iran and Saudi, at the same time began to export violence and fanaticism in a large scale and continue with it.

this year, in the novel ”The red-haired woman” (DN 14/5 2017), approached Orhan Pamuk the authoritarian curse from a completely different direction, then he did the gammalpersiska the myth Shahname to a parabola over the Turkish history. The father Rostams the murder of his son Sohrab was in Pamuk's hands, a picture of the Turkish leaders, the eternal, seemingly predestined cruelty against their subjects. It is rewarding to read Karavelis study as an analytical complement to This anthropological-psychological treatment of the subject. Turkey's modern history is a large and unfinished tragedy, standing in the simplifications and the routine repeated assumptions.

Karavelis well-written book makes much of the mysterious comprehensible and sheds new light on what we are most curious about in Turkey.

Read more: Orhan Pamuk's ”The red-haired woman”

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