The desire of fascism.
According to Reich, people come to desire fascism or their own repression. Mass ceremonies -- including fascism -- allow ordinary people to discharge the irrationality that springs from thousands of years of suppressed biological urges. And thus the masses, when the conditions allow in certain periods of history, find the opportunity to experience the very fascism they desire.
Fascism's instinctive, herdish and liturgical aspects are certainly present here. When one considers the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) rallies filled with screaming and fainting, the applauses offered up to the leader's verbal lynching of others, or the terrifying threats of "a populace that might be difficult to keep at home," Reich's analyses are quite a neat fit with the Turkey of today.
But the phenomenon has local undertones as well. The Turkish nation was invented and based on Sunni Islam as the only binding element that could offer up a sense of nationhood for everyone, although at the same time Islam's public visibility was declared illegitimate by the founding fathers. When political Islam captured power in 2002, the ban on Sunni Islam that formed the basis of the republic was lifted and the artificial nation started to crack.
Some 12 years later, the religious foundation of Turkey is quite apparent. The ruling party today lives for the compelling pleasure of bringing to life the religion and the desires of those masses it alleges to represent. With the secular valve of the republic's Sunni nation tossed out unceremoniously, the essence of the country has emerged! The AKP's so-called "New Turkey" is actually "Sunni Turkey"!
Remember what the ideologist Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoy-lu uttered: "One day, everyone will support the AKP." "For us, Turkish citizens can be divided into two: Those who today vote for the AKP, and those who might do so tomorrow."
But as the national vision of "Old Turkey" fast unravels, there is no room for a pluralistic society to replace it. There is certainly no empathy for those who remain outside the "majority." Yet the old, fascist tendencies that characterized the Young Turk/Kemalist times are making a comeback, and, working in concert with the AKP, are sucking Turkey right in. And this is happening for the first time ever with the support of the masses, contrary to the republic's early years where there was no mass support for the ongoing social engineering. Today's fascism is predisposed to authoritarianism and indebted to authority and these two factors can only exist with masses "prepared to die" in support of them.
So what lies in store from here onwards for Turkey? Well, all sorts of things, such as those inveterate shows of resentment, Salafism, macho posturing against all varieties of dissimilar people... Or extending the pillage, steal and profit system to the masses eager to benefit from the endless vistas that have opened up "thanks" to the elimination of all checks and balances. Oh, and of course, the societal orgy for consumption. Not to mention the ravaging of nature and natural resources and the providing of covers for the countless mass killings that have occurred on these lands but which have never been reckoned with.
But what is truly deadly is this search for sameness, which has found body in the supreme leader's authoritative rhetoric and its demonstration in this herdlike, liturgical way.
Welcome, New Fascist Turkey!
Let us not forget, though, about the "Remaining Turkey," composed of the real majority of the country and which also comprises pious and virtuous citizens. That Turkey holds that "the genie is long out of the bottle, and neither a fascist restoration nor the return of the Old Turkey are any longer possible."
CENGyZ AKTAR (Cihan/Today's Zaman) CyHAN
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