Years ago, it was simple to tell that a person, a group, or indeed a society or a political body is authoritarian. Atatürk for example, was not just an authoritarian ruler – also a self denier of part-taking in murdering Armenians. Or, if we remain in Turkish Anatolia, the arrests and brutality of various military regimes throughout the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s + the fact they didn’t bother attempting to go through even a theatrical electoral process.
The theatre of democratic electoral processes gives an air of legitimacy for various kinds of autocrats, from Thatcher through to Ghandy. From Putin to Obama, Perron, Rafsangani and Erdogan.
Indeed, in the case of the current Turkish rulers, we have a curiosity. It is a curiosity based on the fact that we are talking about a highly religious and autocratic party that attempts – or accused of attempting – to hide its “true nature” in order that it appears palatable and to slowly pass legislation that by stealth brings in a de-facto religious state. These kind of arguments, in my mind, are very weak because they assume a lot and rely on little. Assume there are hidden, untold, perhaps even conspiring, elements, and rely on us – you, me, the speaker, them – to do something we are rarely good at, connecting dot correctly while having flimsy, conjunction-based, and unreliable information.
At times of crisis, like an ocean storm, crap tends to surface. In terms of people, we do stuff, say things, perhaps we don’t normally do. We come up with elements we do not normally bring up because survival, basic question of just Being, is the imperative.
With people in the streets and parks questioning their power, the current Turkish rulers of Anatolia, feel for the 1st time how a political crisis might look like for them. Therefore, feeling a bit shaky, Erdogan came up, in my view, with a show that says more than 100’s x 1000’s of conspiracy assumptions, the kind of approach he – and perhaps his bed fellows to power – have to democracy, and how indeed remote it is from a democratic process.
Erdogan said, in public and without any shame or attempt to hide, that his tolerance is running out, and indeed has run out. For example: http://arty.li/ZpW
For a religious autocrat, the question of accepting the Other, embracing the democratic negotiative process of questioning other approaches and views, of questioning one’s self, and of doubting any out-come through the possibility of evolving it and changing – is not entirely There. Where-as for the democratic process we need a timespace – not a state – of equality, hence questions regarding the Other are around emancipation, for him these questions do not exist. For people like Erdogan, and groups who support and build them, the questions of emancipation, equality and indeed of negotiative processes, are based on tolerance and patience. Patice and tolerance are indeed religious. They come from the perception of the self as right, correct, undersanable, reasonable unflinching and unquestionable. Hence the other is wrong to begin with and has to either be brought down to their knees – via, for example, being powered – or conversion. Either ways require tolerance and patience – not equality…