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AKP and permanent hegemony of Young Turks' chameleon state.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- Regular readers of this column will know I conceptualized the term "Homo LASTus" to denote the best citizen typology that the nation-building Turkish state has endeavored to socially engineer for a long time.

Here, the acronym LAST refers to Laicist, Ataturkist, Sunni and Turk. To be the best citizen, one has to simultaneously be all these four. This is not only a citizen type; it is in fact a human type because the Turkist hegemons do not treat the non-Homo LASTus as humans. Thus, the state has ferociously attempted to assimilate Kurds, practicing Muslims, Alevis, leftists, non-Muslims, etc. into the Homo LASTus identity. Those who resisted have not only been treated as second class by the state, when they demanded their share in the public space and public sphere with their manifest identities, they were treated brutally, imprisoned and even killed.

I had thought the Justice and Development Party (AKP) rule with its pro-EU stance would have stopped the Homo LASTus production process and that the Kemalist state's hegemonic ideological apparatuses would no longer able to function properly. I think I was mistaken. It seems the hegemonic Turkist ideology of the state is so pervasive in the country that it transcends all sorts of ideologies. Put differently, even though we are inclined to believe that the AKP under Recep Tayyip Erdoy-an's helm is now increasingly becoming authoritarian and also Islamist, appearances are in fact deceiving. Erdoy-an's AKP also serves the interests of the permanent state ideology. This ideology is not even the Kemalist ideology. It even transcends the Kemalist ideology. It was there before Mustafa Kemal AtatE-rk. Mustafa Kemal was from the B team of the Young Turks' Committee of Union and Progress (CUP). It was the Young Turks who wanted him to be leader of their organized resistance in Anatolia. They were the ones who helped him to travel from ystanbul to Samsun. It is true Mustafa Kemal had eliminated them and modified their ideology but at the end of the day he inherited the Young Turks' ideology and simply modified it.

This ideology was socially Darwinist, vulgar positivist, modernist, Turkish nationalist, statist, capitalist and laicist. It also believed in social engineering and instrumental use of the law to create a new homogenous Turkish nation. Thus, unlike the Ottomans who were Islamic, multicultural, multi-religious, multilingual and multiethnic, the new state would be purely Turkish, Sunni, secular, statist, modernist, etc. Thus, it would be backward and it would not divided. The Young Turks started this project after 1908, especially after their 1913 coup when they established their one part regime and took Turkey into World War I. Mustafa Kemal simply continued the project.

As a result, non-Muslims, Kurds, Alevis, leftists and religious groups suffered at the hands of the state. What is the current situation at the hands of the AKP after 2011? Again, non-Muslims, Kurds, Alevis, leftists and (some) religious groups are suffering. It is true that since the AKP is ostensibly Islamic or Islamist, not all religious groups are suffering except for those who have not succumbed to the whims and desires of the mighty AKP rulers, such as the Hizmet movement that vehemently opposes the Homo LASTus project, discursively and in practice. Yet, this was also the case during the Kemalist times. Kemalist hegemons did not oppress all religious groups. The ones who meekly obeyed the Kemalists and helped to disseminate their ideology were not harmed. They were even instrumental in marginalizing and demonizing those religious groups who resisted the illegitimate practices of the Kemalists. This is what we are also observing today.

Similar to Mustafa Kemal's modification of the Young Turkish ideology, the AKP has also modified the Kemalist ideology. It is now ostensibly more Islamic, more religious and greener. But the essence of the Turkist state, its fundamentals, its main pillars of statism, capitalism, Turkism, Sunniism, modernism, social Darwinism, its utopia of homogenous nation and its social engineering are all intact. As I said, this ideology's villains and victims are also more or less the same.

The permanent Turkist state is like a chameleon. Seeing that Islam was on the rise after the 1980s, it changed its skin color and co-opted some green guys but it has not changed its ideology and practices.

yHSAN YILMAZ [Cihan/Today's Zaman] CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Feb 7, 2016
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