– Good evening and welcome to the Marian Miner Cook Athenaeum. My name is Sarah Sunbar and I’m one of the Ath fellows here. Last July, a faction of the Turkish Armed Forces organized its Peace at Home Council and attempted to overcome the government of President Erdoğan. The council had cited an alleged erosion of secularism, democratic rule, human rights and Turkish credibility in the internationalist arena as reasons for the coup. Not too long ago though, Turkey was hailed as a model of democratic development and modernism. Few would have expected such a shift and many today are concerned about what recent developments in Turkey mean for the future of its democracy. Birol Yesilada, a professor, Yesilada, sorry, a professor of political science and the chair of contemporary Turkish studies at Portland State University will join us tonight and help explain how such massive shifts have happened and where it might lead. Professor Yesilada is the author of EU Turkey Relations in the 21st Century, the Islamation of Turkey Under the AKP Rule, and the Emerging European Union among others. He is an academic associate of the Atlantic Council and has been an invited policy consultant in various departments of US government, the RAM Corporation, Buzell and Hamilton and the World Bank. In 2003, the White House invited him to take part on a commission that drafted the new constitution of Afghanistan as well. As always, audio and visual recording is strictly prohibited. Please join me in welcoming Professor Yesilada. (applause) – I’m here, I’m delighted to be here. Thank you very much for inviting me to talk about a subject that is really dear to my heart, a research interest that I’ve had since the 70s, observing this country and I was reminded, I wrote my dissertation many, many years ago on the breakdown of democracy in Turkey. In those days, we were looking at Turkey as this faltering democracy that just couldn’t get it right. Multi-party parliamentary system that would go like a rollercoaster. Success and military coup and there was a say in Turkey, when you get used to coups, it’s like habit is worse than being an addict. And every ten years there was a military intervention. Something was wrong. Why? And you had a society that didn’t trust the government, government didn’t trust the society and things just couldn’t get moving, but somehow it was moving forward. Of course, it was the days of the Cold War and Turkey was wrapped up within that all the time. And in the 80s, even after the coup, one thing about the Turkish military, they always came and went back to their barracks, unlike the Latin American examples and we took solace in that saying, you know. These guys are really committed to democracy and Turkish military, not to defend their coups, that’s not my intent. It’s the only case I know where a coup making group of generals actually gave way to a much liberal democracy afterwards. That was the 1961 constitution, the most liberal democratic constitution Turkey ever had. And it was a model and everybody said this is great. They’re getting this right. They have the foundation, they have the modern republic, at the Turks revolution. It’s taking hold, but then there was another coup (laughter) and that coup I went to do my dissertation research at the time was really scary. The officer said this constitution is an oversized shirt, we have to trim it and the gave the country a very authoritarian constitution, thus the breakdown of democracy. But transition took place. Turkey became a star among the emerging markets. Along with economic financial reforms, we started seeing democratic reforms. The 1980 constitution that was just horrible, just absolutely horrible and I’ll put this slide up to give you a picture of the mosaic of Turkish society as I’m giving you the background a little bit. It’s amazing. Such a rich country. It’s product of thousands of years of civilizations crossing over. It’s fascinating. If you haven’t seen Turkey, someday you should before it gets too late. It’s changing fast, really fast. I lived in Turkey for research a couple of years in the 80s. It was a fascinating place at the time. And democratic reforms followed economic reforms and the image, the dream of the generals sort of faded away. And then the EU Persudo EU membership followed. That’s my primary, one of my areas of research and Turkey started following the steps of accession requirements. It looked very, very promising. But something happened along the way and that something was a political crisis that led to financial crisis. And the public just being fed up with the same old, same old. In 19- I mean in 2002, a new group of politicians emerged. They said we are different. We do have Islamic roots, but we are reformed. We are going to form a coalition like a rainbow coalition, we’re going to carry out reforms, et cetera, and I kept thinking, well I know these guys and I don’t think they are sincere. And today we are seeing the fruits of their efforts. In Turkey, which once was our model for the region is faltering on many dimensions. I just want to give you a very quick and dirty background to how we got here and where are we heading. A country that emerged from the ashes of the Ottoman empire, one of the successor states. It’s not a continuation. Ottoman empire didn’t want this to follow. In fact, the sultan was against the nationalists who were fighting the Allies, but the nationalists won and created a new republic. And I’m gonna show you two covers from 1923 and 1927, the founder of the Turkish Republic, Kemal Ataturk. As a soldier, as a statesman and during his presidency, Turkey moved very fast to carry out reforms which are now called westernization. Sort of misleading because what they were doing was catching up with the west. Contemporary laws, contemporary ways, science, republic, democratic rule, et cetera and it include abolishing the Sultanate, abolish the Caliphate, that’s very important to this day. The Muslim world hasn’t forgiven Ataturk for doing that. It’s like getting rid of the pope. Imagine that. No more pope. The Muslim world does have a hadifa who is going to be the next one. Everyone would like to become one, but that’s easier said than done. Language reform, secular education, dress code, moving into the western world, civil code to replace Sharia, very important, alphabet. Now alphabet is important because the Arabic alphabet does not fit the Turkish language. You had to sort of guess. As you’re reading it, vowels aren’t there. My Turkologist friends tell me that actually Cyrillic alphabet is even better for Turkish sounds. Turkish is an Asian language. There’s nothing like it in Europe, grammatically Hungarian and Finnish are, but not words. And nothing in the Middle East. There’s nothing you can grab onto unless it’s a borrowed western word in Turkish. And these ideals, which are known as the six arrows of the foundation of the republic. Republic nationalism, building a state with one nation, committing yourself to revolutionary ideals, populist policies. Why? Very poor nation at the time and the republic was created. Three person of the work was the most trained. Rest unskilled. No capitalist. This is the ashes of the Ottoman empire. And you had to build something new. Etatism is state driven economic development, planning. In the 1920s they tried liberal economic model. They didn’t have capital and they had no capitalists. Didn’t work out and the great depression hit. Then they invited the Soviets to help them with planning and industrialization and by 1938, Turkey, which was nothing in 1923, no work force, by 1928 was manufacturing airplanes and selling them to European countries. And there were factories everywhere in the country and an infrastructure was built. In fact, one German professor from Heidelberg, several years, in the 1990s when I was talking about Turkey once at a conference in DC, stood up and said to me when I was a young man, Turkey was a respected great power in Europe. How did it come to this and in those days, it was even better than where we are today, as you will see. And Laicite, loosely translated into English as secularism. It isn’t. It isn’t the separation of church and state. It is state control of religion. Like in France, you have that, it’s French word and it’s a French model. And I you wonder how the French came up with this, go watch the Three Muskateers, literally. The fight between the king and the bishops, that’s where it comes from. Who is going to be in control and the founders of the republic did not trust the religious leaders to follow them and to have a modern republic. Social reforms followed very quickly, giving women equal rights with men. Can you imagine that in the Muslim world? It was one of the first. They also translated Quran into Turkish so that people would understand what they were reading and printed it in Turkish. Dress code as I mentioned. All the religious shrines were closed. Surname law, family law, establishment abolished their nicknames and all the titles and international calendar, measurements followed. Judicial reforms, Sharia was thrown out. Islamic Canon law was replaced by civil code. Penile code from Europe and commercial law, I think that was commercial law came from Switzerland. Constitution, pretty much established a parliamentary democracy. First presidential and then it became parliamentary very quickly. Then educational reform. Now under the Ottomans you have two sets of reforms, one for minorities, Christians and one for the Muslim population, which was dominated by Islamic teaching, out the door and unified secular education was introduced in 1924. Village institutes were set up because Anatolia, which is the bulk of Turkey as you know it today, was not the center of investment for the Ottomans. That was the bread basket. It was the peasants. The Ottoman territories that were developed and the leading economic activities of the empire were the Balkans. All that was lost. How do you educate ignorant peasants? Set up village institutes to bring education. And I’ve in my time met people who left their cushiony, bureaucratic positions to become teachers to go to village to educate people. This is social planning. This is building a new nation, but it’s coming from above. There’s a problem associated with it. Adoption of the new alphabet, language and historic societies, university system. In fact, in the late 1930s, Turkish, uh, two universities, Ankaran, Istanbul, became world class universities overnight literally as Jewish German professors were leaving and coming to Turkey. Aturkat started that and emphasis on the arts. Economic reforms, mentioned that already, encouraged farms and agricultural development, model farms were set up. Central planning was important and it was development through state funding of investments because there were no private investors in the country and that continued literally until about 19, well, it still continues. They do planning, but nobody obeys it. But in terms of state driven, state centric economy, 1949, 1950 and with the post World War II, IBRD, International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, coming, a lot of things changed in Turkey. Industrialization plans followed with heavy industry. The reason I mentioned IBRD is that when Turkish economy was audited by IBRD, it was to fit the western world’s recovery, postwar recovery, so Turkey had to fit the interest of marshal plan and this plan actually said Turkey is too young to have heavy industrialization. Instead, it should focus on Aquarian reform and Turkey became one of the pilot countries for green revolution in the 1950s to become the food basket, bread basket of Europe with American industrialization coming in to rebuild Europe. It was a perfect match of its sort, but it drive Turkey of its momentum it had for heavy industrialization at the time. Today, it’s a giant. Political developments, I’ll go through it very quickly because it is the ups and downs of Turkish democracy that I mentioned. The multi-party period actually starts here and since then it’s been a coup every 10 years. (audience laughs) Okay, and it’s been very interesting. And post-coup transitions to multi-party system is now being reverting back to authoritarianism. So if you take this, you go from multi-party democracy to a coup, a more open party democracy, some restrictions to individual civil and political rights, coalition governments totally ineffective, a hard military coup and rise of authoritarianism, transition from authoritarianism, aide by pseudo EU membership and things look good until last 10 years. And now full speed ahead, back to authoritarianism. So, why can’t they get it right? Something is really, really wrong. So, if I were giving this lecture 10 years ago, I would say a model in the regions, strong NATO ally, dynamic economy. One of the stars of emerging markets by the way. No question about it. Stable democracy of sort, but this is where we are. Here you have Erdoğan. This was in Le Monde several years ago, using religious people and institutions to destroy Le Cetire, secularism in Turkey and this is recent one, but Erdoğan and a dark tunnel. Where Turkey is heading. You don’t know where you are going when you enter Turkey. And the coup that was mentioned last July, actually was frightening because it paved the way for Erdoğan to carry out a complete purge at all levels, regardless of whether or not an individual is a follower of Fethullah Gülen who lives in Pennsylvania, whose accused of carrying out the coup attempt. Uh, to purge the state institution, so anybody who could be a threat to president Erdoğan. So, what has he done? Over a 130 thousand people have been arrested. From all walks of life. Over 130 journalists are in jail. Turkey if not number one, is number two in the world for having the most journalists in jail. Of course, they will not tell you that. They are simply in jail for what they wrote. It’s for promoting unrest. Belonging to terrorist organizations. Over 50 thousand military, police, and other security personnel were removed from their post and that number is increasing everyday. I saw another thousand plus yesterday. Uhm. Suspension from the military. What is frightening is this one. 1/3 of the general and admiral staff have been sacked. Now, bear in mind, that this is the second largest armed forces in NATO. That we could, in the United States when you looked at NATO, count on, without any question, for being a staunch ally. Powerhouse in NATO. Today, I’m not so sure we can say that. Suspension 143 admirals and generals. Military judges, dismissed. District governors, 1/3 of the provincial governors. Gone. Over three thousand judges. 1,500 plus lawyers. And you know what’s worse? When you receive a jail term, then the next step is they confiscate your personal property and transfer it to the state treasury. Cleaning up in the education. Ministry, schools. The last count of professors sacked, 3,600. 1,500 deans. Some of them have been returned to their office, the deans, but not these professors. Closed over a thousand private schools. About 1,300 charities. Trade unions. 15 universities. Medical institutions and all military schools have been shut down. There is no military high school anymore. And all military academies have been placed under the ministry and led by, not the military personnel, but appointees of Erdoğan. And over a hundred media outlets have been closed. Uhm, you must have seen reports about, uhm, control of Twitter, Facebook, and what not. It’s real. It is no joke. Uhm, there are over 2,000 cases brought against people for insulting the president, okay. What has he done? He has alienated the Turkish public from Europe and the United States. Anything that goes in Turkey wrong, it’s the fault of the United States. After all, the United States is refusing to extradite Gülen to Turkey. Therefore, United States is behind the coup attempt. In fact, there are stories about this, lot of conspiracy theories, no proof, whatsoever. I look for proof, believe me. I been looking for proof. I haven’t seen any. But I also believe that the Turks haven’t seen a conspiracy theory that they haven’t liked yet. (laughter) It’s very real. The strategic partnership with Israel, toss it away, it’s gone. What strategic partnership? The United States worked very hard to build that in the 80s and 1990s, the modernization of the Turkish armed forces and military industry owes a lot to this partnership. Gone. Neo-Ottomanism became this fashionable state ideology , what does it mean? Nobody knows, it’s all images. Dress up like Ottomans, act like Ottomans, but you don’t know what the Ottomans are about. You look at the ministers who drop this neo-Ottomanism here and there all the time, they don’t have the foggiest idea what the Ottomans are like. They supported radical Islamist groups. That’s not secret. I’m not making this up. Turkey became the channel for the radicals to go into Syria. Nevermind that he’s going against ISIS right now, but at the same time, he’s supporting Al-Nusra. And it didn’t start yesterday, it’s been going on. Conservative Islam became the foundation of everything. It’s state policy now. Everywhere you go, there is subtle Islamization. No longer covert, it’s over, it’s in your face. 10, 15 years ago, it was very quiet. Restaurants, their alcohol license not renewed. Why? Well, you’re too close to the mosque. Or, prices go up here, you can’t afford it. Now, it’s more open. Turkish secularism has been under attack violently. Last week, the ministry of education removed evolution from textbooks. Uhm. Don’t tell the education secretary in Kentucky. (laughter) Okay. Purged the once powerful and secular armed forces and he’s becoming the absolute ruler by power grab. In fact, I would say this, and you can quote me. President Erdoğan has been violating the current constitution of Turkey for the last four years. Last three years for sure, he’s behaving, acting totally against the letter and spirit of the constitution, overstepping his limits and nobody has had the guts to stand up and say, “you can’t do this”. When the late president, Turgut Özal, tried to do that in the early 90s, Prime Minister Akbulat, who was a very weak man, stood up and said, “wait a minute, you don’t have these rights. I am the executive, you are the head of state, stay in your palace”. No one, no one. So, it’s very easy for him to manipulate even more and grab more powers, which are happening, I’m gonna show you. This is, I borrow from the Economist. Rise of Islam, political Islam, concentration of power. They call it a la Turca Presidentialism. That’s translation from Turkish. Turkish style presidency. Whatever that means. Judiciary is no longer independent and that’s the fundamental requirement of liberal democracy. Was talking to Bernard Lewis, you know Bernard Lewis. Five years ago, we were at a conference, he was in the audience like you, I gave this kind of lecture, he came over to me and said, “Birol, as you know I was in Turkey in the 1950s, before the first coup. And Prime Minister Menderes was an autocrat, but one thing he could never do was to control the judiciary. Erdoğan has. He succeeded in controlling the judiciary. Sacked all the guys and women in the prosecutor offices, judges and what not. Replaced them with his cronies, and next he went after the high courts, and finally the constitutional court. It’s gone. Judiciary is now an extension of presidential powers. Societal cleavages have been fiercely magnified. Ethnic nationalism, Kurdish, Turkish nationalism threatens to tear this country apart. And everyday it’s getting worse. The second one is secular Islamist divide. And little known in the West unless you are an expert on Turkish politics and society, is the sectarian divide. There’s a growing movement among the Sunni militants in Turkey and by militant I don’t mean just carrying guns, in the ministries and what not. Statements from the religious directory office, identifying as Alevi Turks are not Muslims. If you are an Alevi, Shi’a, not like the Iranian Shi’as, Turkey Shi’as. You are not a real Muslim. It’s frightening. Is Turkey a reliable ally anymore? Not really. What about the other problems? Minorities. Gender equality. What gender equality? Are you kidding me, you should see the pictures of women in Turkey these days, fully covered, follow five steps behind your husband, and so forth. And occasionally they would put a token example of modern looking person in some post, but in state institutions, no. The laws are changing. It’s frightening. They even proposed a law two laws. One was to make adultery illegal and punishable. They withdrew that, it’s coming back, but when they withdrew that there was a societal backlash, and the other one is, uhm, violence against women, it’s like well, she deserved it. And the attitude is changing. If you read the minutes of the court, you can’t believe that this is a modern republic that once, one of the first ones to give women equal rights. Values are changing in Turkey. Constitution is frightening. What emerged last week, it passed. Now it’s gonna go to the public. Citizens will vote on it in April. It makes the president, the sole executive official. Prime ministry will disappear. President will have the power to enact laws by decree. He will have, I’m saying he because this is written for Erdoğan. The idea is that he will become the new president and be elected another term, so until two thousand, 2029, he will be the man. Intervene in the judiciary and appoint them. He can decide whether or not to impose state of emergency and extend them. He can belong to a political party. No longer an independent president. Appoint officials, including cabinet. And you know what they say justified this, by saying, oh United States has one, so that’s it. It’s nothing extraordinary. At least one vice president, maybe more. And every five years, they’ll have elections simultaneously for president and the parliament. What are the implications? First is executive supremacy. Unaccountable president. Okay. Dictate all the legislative majority. President does something, rubber stamp right here. Judiciary oversight. What judiciary oversight? That will no longer exist. Opposition. Go after them. You don’t like the Kurds? Declare them as terrorists, throw them in jail, strip them of their parliamentary immunity. Declare them traitors. It is similar to the old absolutist rule, Abdul Hamid, in the 1870s. Which led to a coup. In those days. I also see some, lot of similarities, parallels here. Between Erdoğan’s attempts and those of Mousseline and Hitler. In terms of promoting this glorious past, flag waving, without really understanding what it means. Hitler with the Reich, Mousseline with Rome. Erdoğan with neo-Ottomanism. Whatever that means. Wave the flag, et cetera. Then, build your own police force. And that he did. It’s called the Özel Harekât. It’s like with Gestapo. Throughout Turkey. It’s very large, extensive and very powerful. And now they are creating a military within the military. It’s like his own SS. Led by a formal general who was expelled from the military for having ties to religious organizations. And came to cult personality. How did we come to this? I call it very gradual and very determined counter Islamic revolution in Turkey. And it is aimed at conquering the state from within by working with religious organizations called brotherhoods, tarikats. Not every tarikat is politically oriented. Some are in there, they have been added, they were rebellions from the get go when the republic was created. They tested the waters in the 50s, didn’t work, but they extended it in this period since the 60s. How does it work? Combine Turkish and Islamic identities. Gülen is doing that. Erdoğan is more emphasis on Islam. Saudi money to help you build an economic power base that started in the 80s. Until you have an economic base, you’re nothing. So, provide support to right wing political parties and return get protection from the state. Then, build an economic base, create your own political party, enter into coalitions, and get concessions. Particularly ministry of education. As you grow, you expand, you become more independent. What is the last institution that stands in your way of turning this state upside down from secular republic to an Islamic republic? The strong secular military. You need to capture it. And they did that. They did that in the last 10 years. This was in way they operated. Education, state institutions, sympathetic actors including our administrations, when these guys would come to Washington and say, “Oh, we are moderate Islamists”. We say, “What the heck is a moderate Islamist”? Islamist means an action. Okay. You’re pious, that’s one thing, but if you are turning this into a political mission, something is wrong. Political parties are, one of the roles of political parties is elite control, competition control, and the last one that’s important is socializing public toward system consensus. And those who work against the state become enemies of the state, of the constitutional system. These parties did that. Erdoğan is on record for saying several time, “Democracy is a vehicle, it’s like a train, we’ll get on it, and we’ll get off when we achieve our goal”. Never define what that goal is. This I put out there to give you a sense of what we are dealing with in terms of religious groups in Turkey. Plenty of them. I’m sure there are more. These are the terrorists. These are radical groups. NGO’s, most of them. National region you gonna see in second. Religious congregations. Here is Gülen. Here are the others. They’ve always been part of Turkish society. Erdoğan is part of this group that build it’s economic empire actually in Germany. West Germany. And then moved to Turkey in the 1970s. This is Fethullah Gülen that you been hearing about in the media a lot. He’s a global empire. Worth about 40 billion dollars. No body knows for sure. And all these pictures are his representatives in charge of his organization in different countries. Like in the United States, there is one person, he’s there and there’s someone else. And each state, there is somebody else, and each city there is somebody else, and it’s a huge network. Business educational. Erdoğan and Gülen were allies today they are enemies. After they got rid of the secular military, they went after each other. Who’s gonna be number one? That’s all it’s about. But why are the Turkish people accepting this? What happened to all that secular education, modernity, republic, democracy, what happened to that? Part of it is found in the values of the society. And we have now data since 1981, world values survey, I invite you to go look at it. It shows how values are changing in these countries. And we can map them. There are two indices developed by professor Engelhardt. One goes from secular to conservative values, let me just jump to that. The idea is economic progress, values change, you have stable democracies, but you gotta be careful. Institutional democracy is different than genuine practiced democracy. Let me explain this. Up here you have post-materialist values. It’s a composite index of based on four questions, and down here you have selfish-materialist values and over here you have traditional values, and secular values. Each dot is an aggregate average of factor loading for each country. Over the years, Greece moved from here to here, became little more conservative to the middle from secular to the middle. And a little more post-materialism. I’m curious what it’s going to be like in the 2019 survey. Germany is here. Nordic countries are here. Post-materialists, meaning you pay attention to clean water, clean air, and so forth. Liberally equal values, paying attention to laws of that sort. Here, it’s me. Humans come first, destroy the environment, destroy the forest, don’t care about all those salmons you carry in Portland. Dump the oil in the gutter. Okay. You come first. And over here we have the secular societies and conservative. Look at Turkey. Turkey used to be right here. From ’91 to about 2006. Poland was here, now Poland is moving up and in this direction. Which is important. This is where Turkey went. In 2011. I wonder where it’s gonna be in 2019. Survey will be carried out in 2018, ’19. It probably be right here if not more here. What do you see here? Pakistan. Egypt. You look at this and you say, “How in the world this country join European Union”? It doesn’t fit. Now does this mean that all the Turks are here? No, Gezi Park demonstrations three years ago. Those values are here. They went to war with the police and the institutions over a park. But they get drowned in the big picture. Okay, when you control for education, yeah you get the more Western and secular et cetera. But the overall public? Huh? Who are coming from the bottom education systems, products of Erdoğan. Far more conservative. This shows the changing ideological orientation of the people. Same surveys from political right, religious, nationalist, to political left communists here. And, Turkey was the perfect model of median voter. Right in the middle. Majority, center. Look at what happened. Collapsed. The block moved to the right. They’re going towards Erdoğan. Now this shift to the right has been happening in Europe, throughout Europe. But it has been far more dramatic in Turkey than anywhere else. I’ve compared it with all the European countries. Why is he so popular? He’s charismatic. He really is. He appeals to Conservative, disenchanted, marginalized people. Sounds familiar? Effective communicator. Ours isn’t. He is. Um, populist to the core. He frames the issue. I wonder if he took lessons from Karl Rove. Um, neo-Ottomanism. Glorious past. You ask them, “what do you mean by that?” They don’t know. What? Neo-Ottomanism, dress up your guard, presidential guard like Ottoman soldiers. Oh, wonderful. Why? Anti-western. Anti-American. By the way, everything is our fault in Turkey. Everything. We’re behind everything that is bad. And we have plans to invade Turkey, beileve it or not. And they believe this and its been promoted by pro-government media since the early 2000s. The idea of United States invading Turkey in the 2000s, a strong NATO ally. Especially when we were in Afghanistan together. Like, you have to be a cuckoo to believe that. Um, power and wealth. He’s very wealthy. And the, this is scary. This scares me a lot. I did an analysis of the appeal of a strong political leader. It was consistent across the board, from right to the left among the people. The only people who were against strong political leaders were the highest educated individuals in Turkey. And that percentage is like, that much. Um, and he manipulates stuff, really effectively. Manipulates the refugee crisis. And then he’ll go and say, “Well, Europeans aren’t doing anything.” But we’re building refugees’ townships. Interesting. Syria. He had been talking about invading Syria for quite some time. This year, they finally did it. Why? Because they want to make sure the Kurds to not establish a stretch from here, Northern Iraq across Northern Syria. He needs to stop that. So he found a reason. This is better. There are the Kurds. Here is the ISIS gap. There are two big anti-government coalitions. One with the Kurds and one with the more religious radical groups in the Free Syrian Army. Erdoğan’s with that group. Turkish forces entered Syria and they moved. They are now in the vicinity of al-Bab and some areas of the town, outskirts, suburbs I guess, are now occupied by Free Syrian Army and the Turkish military and they keep increasing presence. Now, it’s been very costly. What happens when you get rid of all of your officers who are capable? Second, you don’t have air cover. Why? They have a huge air force. Russians are here. They’ll shoot you down. So he’s cutting deals with the Russians and three days ago, I think it was three or four days ago, the Russian and Turkish air force carried a joint operation against ISIS in Syria. It’s a first. I’ve never seen them do anything together before. And, Putin has been asking for some concessions. Come my way. So where it is going to end up? Breakdown of Democracy again. But this time not by a military coup. Through elections; through the democratic process which is frightening. You know, Hitler came to power like that. No longer a model of a stable country. This country is at war with itself. I can’t make it simpler. It’s a country, the society is fighting with itself. Some people call it identity crisis. It’s a lot more than that. Economic challenges are real. I don’t know where the heck they’re going to get up to 400 billion dollars to service al the debt they now cosigned fr the private sector. And, we may lose it. We may lose Turkey as an ally and a member of the Western family of nations. And Turkey is quickly moving in this direction. Erdoğan has asked to join the Shanghai Five Alliance, and he has been hinting at that for quite some time. He asked before. He said, “Why don’t you guys let us join”? You’re a NATO country. Well, the Russians finally said it. “If you come into Shanghai Five, you need to withdraw from NATO.” I wonder wat our reaction would be to that. Now the big unknown for me is the, what’s happening here? How are we going to deal with this? Are we going to let it happen? Are we going to do something we used to do in the old days and carry out a coup in Turkey and say, “okay, that’s it, you’re done”? I don’t think that would fly. There’s so much anti-Americanism that it’s mind-boggling. American image in Turkey is at an all time low. The last survey I checked, only four percent four the public surveyed in Turkey viewed the United States as a friend. That’s it. So, Turkey has gone through a lot of changes. At the heart of it is a rise of Islamic fundamentalism in politics. A determined effort to change the secular republic, and replace it with an Islamic republic. That is no longer a joke. It’s very real, and it’s been happening gradually and we missed it. The second is that served as a catalyst for this momentum to pick up is the horrible way the European Union treated Turkey and closed the door. And that just was amazing opportunity for these closet anti-Europeanists in Turkey to say, “You see, they will never accept us as equals.” And post 2004 Cyprus when negotiations when the peace treaty was rejected by the Greeks and Cyprus still joined the EU. I can tell you stories until tomorrow about them, because I was smack in the middle of it, working on the treaty. And the promises European Union made and never delivered, but in return demanded Turkey to give more concessions and recognize Cyprus and whatnot was simply the last straw. Things got worse and worse and of course the European public opinion changed, local politics in Europe ruled the day, and just like here, you know, you got problems in California, it’s the Mexicans fault. In Germany, you got problems? They’re the Turks. It’s their fault. Xenophobia is rampant, alive and well. And we have entered a road in this relationship that doesn’t look good. And Turkey is changing really fast. And Turkey is changing and heading down this road that threatens to tear it apart. And I fear that the current crisis with the Kurds will blow up into a full-blown civil war, coupled by sectarian wars and Islamist secular clashes. No country can survive that. Now, will Erdoğan be able to pull the rabbit out of the hat and go east, join the Shanghai Five and bring stability to Turkey? I don’t know. It’s possible. But that means overcoming this American NATO obstacle. There is so much invested in Turkey that it’s not that easy. We shall see. Thank you, and I’ll take some questions. (applause) – [Announcer] We will now have time for questions, if you have a question please raise your hand and Michael or I will come to you with the microphone. – [Questioner One] Thank you so much for your talk, it was also a pleasure to speak with you today at lunch. You discussed a lot, the individual qualities of Prime Minister, actually soon to be President Erdoğan, would you say that the movement you’re observing now in Turkey is more a feature of his personal ambitions and movement, or would you say it’s more of a reflection of the values of society underneath him shifting within Turkey? – Very good question. It’s more personal ambitions. Because he has abandoned the pious Islamist values a long time ago. Power corrupts and absolute power I’m afraid is gonna corrupt him even more. He has accumulated immense wealth, I’ve some graphs that show all the business arrangements with Russians, Chinese, Iranians, Guana. Did you know that the Turks were running a phony American Embassy or consulate in Guana for 10 years and issuing American Visas? (laughter) It’s fascinating. I never thought I would see anything like that. It’s actually frightening. The network was aimed at sort of getting around American President executive order of not doing business with Iran. And from that he pocketed unbelievable amount of money. The other is ISIS and Al Nusra support. Money came from Qatar in Saudi Arabia to Turkey, Erdoğan took a cut, purchased weapons from Libya, brought them to Turkey. These guys are trained in camps in Turkey and off they go into Syria. And everybody knew this. I’m not telling you anything that’s not open source here. And a lot of Islamists writers, editorial writers started going after him like, “This isn’t Islam. This is nothing but corrupt political, personal stuff that you have change you no longer the guy we supported”. But he has penetrated the state with his machinery so much that he controls everything. So, we were in Turkey traveling a year and a half ago. And my wife said to me, and she had lived in Turkey in the 80s. All the ghettos, the shanty towns are gone. They’re all apartments. Suburbs, modern. How did this happen? Populism. All of a sudden, the state will make a deal with all these people. We gonna move you, we gonna build apartments, we’ll give you the keys, we’ll bring you water, running water, we’ll bring in natural gas, electricity. And you’re just a very poor worker. You’re gonna get sucked into, of course. He built roads, he did infrastructure, incredible. We’re trying to, city have tried, where I live, two years have been trying to expand the road near my house for the last year and a half. Two city blocks, they’re still working. It’s like a minefield. In that time, he built a totally, total highway structure and a bridge across the both for us. Personal ambitions, yes. Are the public ready to, yes. They’re poor, their materialists. And I should also mention this, Turkey has what, 78 million people. About 10 million live really, really well. And a lot of those people are making, have made a lot of money because of his policies, and they’re gonna support him. They’re secular and like, “No, he’ll never touch us”. Okay? This is what’s going on and very rapidly. – [Questioner Two] Hi, thank you for your talk. Considering the social and cultural reforms that were made after the founding of the Republic, would you consider that as a cause of sort of the backlash of conservative Islamist lifestyle? And would you regard that as the pendulum swing from the very secular and overbearing sort of, almost oppressive government, you know forcing this lifestyle upon a group of people used to live in a very drastically different way is my question. – Yeah, there is some of that. There is. But it isn’t that black and white. The Islamization we are seeing in Turkey, the cultural Islamization, is different now. Some of my colleagues, sociologists, cultural anthropologists are not using the term Islamization of Turkey, they’re calling it Arabization of Turkey. Let me give you an example of this. The headscarf issue, okay, in the public sphere, it was prohibited. But it was not the hijab, hijab is foreign in Turkey society. Hijab comes from the Arab world. It is, it came into Turkish scene through the extension of Ichwan, the political party that Erdoğan emerged from, it was led by the late Necmettin Erbakan who followed this one particular sheik. And in that shaban, the Tarekat order. Had organic ties to Muslim brotherhood. With it, they brought into Turkey their version of this interpretation of headscarf. In the Turkish culture the headscarf has been the, the, like we call, the Yemeni. This tight stuff is fairly new, and it’s tough. Is it religious commitment or is it political statement? You don’t know until there’s an action, right? But the students were prohibited from the university if they covered their head. They couldn’t get jobs in the civil service. Military, forget it. If you had any family members who were like that, you were expelled from the military. Why were they so strong about it? Because Islamist forces from 1920s onward, always tested the secular republic. Always. It’s like I said before, it’s a revolution from above, it’s not grassroots up. That’s not stable. The social engineering that took place under the village institutions stopped in the 1950s. The schools that were present in the old days to education the monks for clergy expanded in the 50s. They were reversal stuff. Okay, what were the people upset about? Your ordinary citizens in Turkey, not in the urban setting. Until about six, seven years ago, ten maybe, Turkey had a 50/50 ratio urban rural, now it’s predominately urban. Overwhelmingly urban. But until 90s it was largely rural. The rural peasants never received the attention they deserved since the, I would say, 50s. And the secular elite always looked down upon the peasants. There is this problem, you know. There is class division. They don’t wanna talk about it, but it’s still there and you feel it. So there is some of that reaction, but a lot of it is also imported. And a deliberate reinterpretation or injection of different interpretation of Islam into Turkish culture. That cannot be stable. I’m not a cultural anthropologist, but some of my friends are very good at this field and they just tell me that Turkey is like a powder cake in this regard. When you talk about neo-Ottomanism, and you talk about Islam under the Ottomans. They always interpreted Islam in their own way. Ottomans issued civil laws. They were ruling an empire of hundred nations. And if there was a place they invaded in the Balkans, their heartland of the empire actually for centuries, the most developed provinces, and you can’t rule the Croats in this region of what is not current Croatia but it was part of Bosnia where there is a saint, it’s very important, that saints all of a sudden became sheik as well. You know, you adapt. It was like that. That mosaic, that mix is not there. The republican elite did something that was also very damaging. In their desire to cut ties to the Ottomans, they eliminated Ottoman studies completely. Replaced it with Celtics in the history departments. Arts, western arts, western music, forget the Ottoman music. To this day, what have, examples of Ottoman, rich Ottoman core music, came to us to our day through efforts of individuals. Like my friend Ard Jumet here. Not through the state. Not at all. They were de-emphasized. That also creates a backlash. In 1980, and I’ll switch gears, I remember the coup very well and I was going into the archives of the state radio and television to record Ottoman music. And a friend of mine sent me there, told me exactly who to see. And I go there and the person working there said, “You can’t access them anymore”. I said, “What do you mean I can’t access them”? He said, “Well, colonel so and so who’s in charge of the state radio decided that these are old stuff, we don’t need them and he sold them”. I said, “Are you kidding me?” And the LP’s they actually dumped them. Frightening when you think about it. Then they realize what they had done and real story, they put out ads in the papers, over radio, over television, “If you bought these things from us, please bring them back, we’re gonna record them and you can have them back”. Okay. Because the officer staunch chemalist and secular and western oriented, felt there was no need for this stuff. Sort of like a culture revolution that had some success and lot of ill feelings as well. – [Third Questioner] Hi, thank you for coming. I wanted to ask about the recent peace talks in Cyprus also happening in Geneva. The last I heard was that on the 13th day it stalled. There seemed to be a lot of momentum about them and so I wanted to ask about your comment on those. – What was the last part? – [Questioner Three] Last I heard they had sold on the 13th and so the parties had left negotiations having not surpassed the deadlock, I wanted to ask your opinion on those. – Which part of the negotiation are you referring to? – [Questioner Three] Well, just in general, I’m not, I don’t know enough to ask about any particular part. – If you knew negotiations came to a halt, because the Greek foreign minister said he needed more time to consult on the guarantorship issue. So now the technical teams met to sort it out and they may be meeting again with the, if the Prime Minister will show up, I don’t know, and President Erdoğan, I don’t know if they’re gonna show up. It’s in a snag. Geneva negotiations are the best hope we have right now. And I am convinced that if we fail, to reach an agreement to bring it to the people, that’s it, it’s the end of the road. The talks have been going on for long time. Since 1969. This is the second time the United Nations brought the parties together to write a treaty. Peace treaty. First one was rejected, now if this is rejected, that’s it. What will happen? Erdoğan is making investments in North Cyrpus. Aimed at annexing it. It will become part of Turkey, I actually believe that. He’s made lot of investments in the North. There is a very open deliberate Islamization campaign going on inside of Cyprus. Turkey Cypriots are probably one of the most secular Muslims in the world who are not viewed to be proper Muslims. Now there are mosques everywhere in North Cyprus. All paid for by Erdoğan. Quran schools are just expanding. We shall see. Erdoğan is flexing Turkey’s muscle in Eastern Mediterranean. You heard about the gas, natural gas issues. It’s not just North Cyprus, protection of Turkey Cypriots, it’s strategic. If Cyprus goes, his access to these pipe, potential pipelines, natural gas, that lie underneath the Israeli waters, et cetera. It will just go by the wayside. But if he annexes North Cypres, I’m afraid to say, but my Greek Cypriot colleagues haven’t seen nothing yet. Because this is a very dangerous man. So, the timeline is this year. Yeah. – [Questioner Four] Hi, what role do you see in sort of Anatolia, in that it’s more of a reversion to traditional Anatolian values as opposed to sort of an Islamist underpinning. That’s more of over to the value side as opposed to the religious side? – I have my doubts about these new imported Islamic values taking complete control of the society. That’s why I mention that I fear for a clash. Society breakdown. Anatolian interpretation of Islam, that’s actually a very good question because it also goes to the divide between Erdoğan and Gülen. Fethullah Gülen emphasizes Islamism that is more Turkish oriented with Turkish nationalism. And that’s why you don’t see a lot of popularity of him among the traditional conservative Arab states. Erdoğan on the other hand is looking south. He wants to be the halifa. He wants to be the leader of the Muslim world. He hasn’t asked him if they want it. But, that’s not important apparently. His view is not Turkish Islamism. It’s Islamism. Period. First and foremost. It’s everywhere in his speeches, his comments, he never mentions Turkish Nationalism. It’s met. That’s it. His definition is nationalism is religion. Fethullah Gülen, and they worked together to go after the military. They were buddies in the same group. They went after the seculars, destroyed the seculars and now they’re fighting each other. Whose vision is Turkish future? Erdoğan or Gülen? And one emphasizes more focus on Turkish interpretation of Islam with some caveats. And the other is the Muslim world. Sunni not Shi’a. In Anatolia, this is gonna create a massive divide. 1/3 of Turkish population is Alevi. And followers of Erdoğan, those who are like him. I’m not saying, I’m not gonna create you know, black and white one divide, but people who go with Erdoğan do not view Alevi population of Turkey as Muslims. And the refuse to accept them as minorities as well. So they can’t win. If they were viewed as minorities, then the minorities law will kick in. But that’s only for Christians and Jews, you see. So recently, there have been incidents where people have gone through the neighborhoods and marked doors of Alevi family houses, this is not the first time we have seen massacre of Alevis in Turkey in modern times. So, it’s a dangerous move. Yeah. Any other questions? – [Announcer] I believe that’s all the time we have left for questions. – Well, thank you. (applause)
I appreciate your invitation. And thank you for coming. (applause)