Islamist Turkey: A tale of self-serving secularism and the hypocritical Kemalists
On January 10, Enes Kara, a second-year medical student residing in a dormitory run by a cultish Islamist group in the city of Elâzığ committed suicide, alleging intense pressure by the group members to follow strict religious rules, among other things.
While the news of his death was received with sorrow and anger by people across the political and ideological divide, the Kemalists and secularists were the ones leading the outcry.
They called for a blanket ban on all student dormitories run by each and every religious group citing this incident.
Less than a week later, 16-year-old Bahadır Odabaşı took his own life, depressed due to his father’s unjust and arbitrary incarceration for the past four years.
His father Nureddin Odabaşı was dismissed from his job following the coup attempt against Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on July 15, 2016.
He was later put behind bars for his alleged affiliation to the Gülen Movement, which is also an Islamically inspired group and recognised by the Erdoğan government as a terrorist organisation.
In this case, however, there is a radio silence amongst those who were shouting the most, following the tragic death of Enes Kara.
These two tragedies bring to light the sheer hypocrisy and double standards of the Kemalists and secularists of Turkey.
Enes’ death came in handy to them as it provided them with an opportunity to push forward their long-time agenda of demonising the conservative and religious groups in the country, but Bahadir’s story does not serve such a purpose.
On the contrary, he and his family are innocent victims of such demonisation both by the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) and the Kemalists.
Tens of thousands of innocent Turks have been grossly persecuted as a result of a ferocious vilification campaign unleashed upon the Gülen Movement by the Erdoğan regime with explicit support from a large section of the Kemalists and secularists.
The reason why Nureddin Odabaşı was expelled from his job and incarcerated is that he served in the Gülen Movement-affiliated educational institutions in Turkey and Azerbaijani institutions that were established under the law of the land.
In the wake of the controversial “Coup Attempt” in 2016, the Gülen Movement was declared a “terrorist organisation” in Turkey and every institution affiliated with it was shut overnight.
Not only were those institutions closed, everybody who ever served or enrolled their children there became a target of the spiteful regime.
It is incomprehensible how working in a legally established and government-audited institution can be counted as a crime, but in Turkey under the leadership of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, it has become an appalling widespread practice.
Nureddin Odabaşı is only one of the hundreds of thousands of victims of such a practice.
His 16-year-old son, Bahadir is also only one of the thousands of children who have lost hope for the future due to unbelievable social exclusion and deprivation imposed upon them by the political elite of the country, both ruling and in the opposition.