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Backgammon on a chessboard.

ySTANBUL (CyHAN)- I must note in advance that unlike the men who are familiar with Turkey's tea house culture, I know nothing about backgammon.

I am a bit versed in chess and occasionally play it with my daughter. I should also note that I don't plan to laud chess and revile backgammon. Every game has its specific niceties, unique rules and strategies.

As is the case with many topics, there are certain perceptions about these two table games and their images differ in people's minds. The image of chess as a 4,000-year-old game, in my mind, is that it is more rule-based, more disciplined, more open and more gentlemanly. In my opinion, chess is a game that does not rely on cunning, deception, guile or chance, but on intelligence and strategy. You play it by hinting at your possible moves by looking in the eye of your rival.

On the other hand, backgammon dates back to 3000 B.C. and it has its own rules and strategies that require intelligence. Given that there are 4,500 possible moves in the game, backgammon can hardly be underestimated. Still, the use of wit, experience and mastery to take felicitous advantage of opportunities as well as the dominant factor of luck puts backgammon in another category. Other characteristics aside, backgammon's most salient quality is its being a game of chance.

With this, I don't intend to assert any game being superior to the other. Indeed, they have completely different rules and they are completely different games. Therefore, you cannot play chess the way you play backgammon, and vice versa. If you attempt to do this, you put yourself in a funny situation. You will be ridiculed. Moreover, by performing the stupid act of playing chess as if it were backgammon, you cannot get the desired results. The same applies to those who play backgammon as if it were chess. Those who do this will not only fail to get any results, but will also be disgraced. Moreover, when they want to play the game properly by its rules, they won't find any rival.

"What are you talking about? Which chess or backgammon aficionado would do that?" you may be noting as an objection. You are right. This is pure nonsense. It is unacceptable. In chess or backgammon, as in any other similar game, you cannot ignore the rules of the game or arbitrarily violate or change those rules in order to win all the time. What about real life? Does real life lack any seriousness found in these games -- which are in the final analysis played for fun -- that there is an extreme level of irregularity, unscrupulousness, indiscipline and arbitrariness visible in politics, economy, the judiciary and foreign policy.

More nonsense than the one we would mercilessly ridicule when exhibited in chess or backgammon is rampant in real life and everywhere, isn't it? Aren't there those who undermine all institutions and rules of the democratic state governed by rule of law with ruthlessness coming from their brute force in this country? Aren't those who replaced the Constitution, the law, democratic and diplomatic conventions, fundamental moral rules and court decisions with unscrupulousness, unlawfulness, arbitrariness, opportunism, guile and self-interests doing this publicly? While we cannot tolerate the harmless nonsense by an impertinent person who attempts to play chess with the rules of backgammon, how can society exhibit a widespread conformism and lack of reaction to the efforts to undermine all laws, principles, rules and institutions of the Constitution and parliamentary democracy?

Why do millions of people who cannot tolerate nonsensical moves in a simple game keep silent in the face of a gross vandalism that would put their and their children's lives into an eternal chaos and darkness? Why are the nonsensical and fraudulent moves that evidently drag the country into an inevitable disaster tolerated so easily? What has really happened in this country where people have turned into decaying corpses without souls? What has happened to this country, this nation, intelligence, morality, reasonableness, fairness and conscience?

Wasn't our country a pluralistic and liberal constitutional democratic state based on the rule of law, which we try to improve further? If so, why are these arbitrary pressures and bans poured down on us with uncaring looks from millions? Why are those who say, "Don't let children die" lynched and punished in the full glare of the public? Why don't you show any reaction to it? Why are you so afraid?

In what true and liberal democracy can the leaders who change the rules of democracy and act stupidly because of their failure to introduce new rules threaten more than 1,000 intellectuals and academics just for calling for "peace"? In what state governed by the rule of law are those who demand peace immediately punished while mafia-like gangs, who publicly threaten every dissident with death and even with "taking a shower in their blood," glorified?

What democratic legal system allows those who say, "I have changed the system" and allows for people to act in complete disregard to constitutional and moral boundaries, as if the system had been really changed to govern the country at will? Which honorable people pay respect to those who commit constitutional crimes in their every move by attempting to govern the country as a suis generis despotic president, while the constitutional parliamentary system is intact?

Is unlawfulness, corruption, arbitrariness, oppression or tyranny, at a level unseen in the most ordinary dictatorships, in Turkey -- which is a member of the Council of Europe (CoE), a party to the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), is subordinated to the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) and is in the process of becoming a member of the European Union -- so much less scandalous than the nonsense of playing chess with the rules of backgammon that no one raises any objection to it?

Can't you see that Turkey is currying favor with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) although it is a NATO member? It exhibits Eastern guile by making a bargain with China for missile systems despite the fact that its army is a NATO army. It joins Saudi Arabia's sectarian military pact although it is a secular republic and democracy. It develops shady relations with radical terrorist organizations in Syria and in other parts of the Middle East. Poor Syrian refugees are used in blackmailing the EU countries. Does all this sound so much less nonsensical than playing chess with the rules of backgammon that everyone is so mute?

No one should forget that Turkey cannot attain any positive outcome with its unscrupulous and unprincipled foreign and domestic policy preferences just as one cannot be successful by playing chess with the rules of backgammon. The unpredictable and, as such, unreliable policies and acts of President Recep Tayyip Erdoy-an's regime -- which doesn't feel loyal to any established rule at home or abroad, which is wallowing in a mire of unscrupulousness and which cannot be defined even as revisionist -- will eventually lead to a failed country, I fear. It is inevitable for such a country, maimed by chaos and burdened by colossal and intricate problems, to become isolated in the international arena and turn into a failed state.

Anyone may continue to indulge in nonsense and put themselves in a funny position. But they should restrict their nonsensical moves to chess or backgammon without ruining the future of this nation, country and our children.

BE[pounds sterling]LENT KENEE[currency] [Cihan/Today's Zaman] CyHAN

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Publication:Cihan News Agency (CNA)
Date:Jan 15, 2016
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