AKP, the governing fundamentalist Islamic party, has been tightening its autocratic grip in Turkey. The country is slipping day by day into an Islamic dictatorship as dissidents and critics are being subdued with intimidation, arrests or beatings. The latest example: five metal music fans, among them a female, were arrested because they made the “sign of the horns” while Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s motorcade was passing by. (See a picture of Ronnie James Dio throwing the sign at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dio_throwing_Horns.jpg and the full story of the arrests at http://www.cnnturk.com/2009/turkiye/07/25/metalci.selamina.gozalti/536446.0/index.html).
According to the media reports, the fans were waiting to get into a concert hall, while enjoying the music broadcast from loudspeakers and throwing the sign, just like any fans going to a concert would do. Unfortunately, they happened to be just on the route of the Erdoğan’s motorcade and their enthusiasm evidently attracted the attention of the religious zealots in the convoy, who have little sympathy with political opposition and much less understanding of heavy metal music and its subculture. A guy, who appeared to be in the security detail, popped his head out of one of the cars and yelled “what the fuck!” Within minutes, the fans were rounded up by Erdoğan’s thugs, hustled into police cars without being told what they were accused of, and shipped to the police headquarters, where they were held and questioned for 21 hours. Charges: “insulting a statesman!”
This is only one of the countless acts of repression by the security forces of the AKP regime. Turkish police, almost entirely taken over by the members of an extremist Islamic sect (Fetullah Gülen movement), act as AKP’s party militia, brutally beating up peaceful protesters, arbitrarily arresting people, busting through private residences to conduct unwarranted searches, wiretapping almost anyone deemed to be a dissident and releasing private phone conversations to the public, and torturing and killing suspects under arrest. In short, the police have become the SS of Turkey in the 21st century. Below is a picture of the riot police assaulting unarmed students in a peaceful protest against tuition increases, hitting them with steel batons and dragging them by their hair on the streets of Izmir. Similar incidents recently happened also in Istanbul.
In another attempt to suppress government’s critics in the press, AKP administration’s Tax and Revenue Service has issued a half-a-billion US dollar fine against a media conglomerate (Doğan Holding), which owns two major opposition newspapers, Hürriyet and Milliyet. Many other smaller newspapers and TV stations critical of AKP’s policies have been bought out by wealthy supporters of the governing party and have since become propaganda machines for the government in a 180-degree turn from their previous positions. A high profile investigation dubbed “Ergenekon,” purporting to target a secret terror organization which allegedly seeks to topple the government with force, has become a tool in the hands of AKP-appointed, fundamentalist prosecutors to nab dozens of intellectuals, politicians, retired military officers, journalists and academicians who are known to be staunch supporters of the secular democratic regime and opponents of fundamentalist, antidemocratic policies of AKP. The Islamofascist party and its authoritarian leadership are resorting to all kinds of legal and illegal means at their disposal to silence opposition and pave the way to change the constitution which will allow them to abolish secularism and democracy in Turkey.
Turkish democracy is facing the most serious threat to its existence since its inception in 1923. AKP, which bears resemblance to Hamas in its ideology and grassroots organization, is going full steam ahead to strangle the constitutional democracy in which it sprouted, grew and flourished, in a striking similarity to the Nazi Party in the 1930s in Germany. If AKP achieves its objective, the repercussions will be far reaching. Anybody who is interested in keeping the stability in Southeastern Europe and the security of energy routes must pay close attention to the spread of Islamic theocracy in Turkey. AKP must be stopped at any cost. The US, as the leader of the free world, has an obligation to support liberties and freedoms in Turkey and work with seculars to stem off the evil, autocratic AKP rule.