By Nurettin Bay: –
The interest of Turkish nation towards West, has not occurred after World War I. The interest to West in Ottoman State began in the middle of 19th century. In the last 50 years of Ottomans, many reforms copied from Western world had been realized. But while that big war carried the whole world to a new system, Turkish Republic, which was formed from the ashes of Ottomans, took its references completely from the west.
Europe had been taken as an example in all political, judicial, social and economic reforms. It has always been believed that western world would indigenize Turkey as Turkey had indigenized Europe. This objective had always been taken as a reference while participating to NATO as well as applying for European Union. It is believed that we could also be European unless we have fulfilled the necessary criteria. That was the thing everybody understands when speaking of Modern Civilization Level.
Large populations did not support the claims raised time to time as “European Union is a Christian Community”. Unless the countries of former Eastern Bloc were taken as members of EU without considering fulfilling of standards. Turkish society was shaken by the trauma of being waited almost 50 years at the front door of EU. Larger populations of the society began to question the sincerity of EU. The words of British Prime Minister Cameron as “Turkey will not be a member even in 3 thousand years”, was the last straw. Was the century long dream of Turkish nation a trickery? Can EU be trusted anymore?
Yes, it was certain that there was something wrong between Turkey and the West. Turkish population could not able understand the reasons and did not want to ruin its century long dream. Turkish nation could not also understand the Syrian politics of western alliance including US. US and EU countries opened their arms to Syrian branch of terrorist organization PKK, PYD and took Turkey against them. This was hard to understand.
Furthermore, there were intentional comments in Western media about President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan who came to power by taking more than half of the votes and a perception had been tried to be established. People could not understand the “dictator Erdoğan” comments and were very uncomfortable about such interpretations about the most democratic Islamic state in the world.
This was the opinion of Turkish population about West before 15th of July. But it was clear they would not give up from the western child of democracy and they would always make their choice in favour of democracy.
First of all, I would like to mention that, almost none of the 80 million population was expecting a coup attempt in today’s Turkey. Except from extreme Gulenists, no one would expect that. Thus, coup attempt was a great shock to nation.
A strong reaction was expected from US and EU following unsuccessful coup attempt. But this did not happen at all. Even ten percent of the solidarity against terrorist bombing attacks in a European country was exposed to Turkey. Explanations in favour of democracy and support to Turkish nation were so weak. If you ask what were the expectations of Turkish nation, for instance US and EU presidents could have walked through the 1th of July martyr bridge to give a strong message to the world. But they did not. Even one of them did not come. What is worse to me in name of US and EU, is the criticism of attempt in western public and sayings such as “but Erdoğan is very totalitarian”. These sayings are being pumped. There is a proverb in Turkish as “even the salt smells…”, if Europe which has to protect democracy even starts the sentences with “but…”, unfortunately this means even the salt is about to smell.
Turkey took several lessons from this coup attempt. This is a fact. But I believe there are others to take lessons as well. There is a serious problem if west considers democracy as necessary for itself and luxury to others. Then I am afraid, Turkey’s hundred years of love to western democracy would come to an end. Countries as the cradle of democracy could not only explain Turkish nation as well whole world. There is only one thing left unfortunately. To read a final prayer to the spirit of democracy. I guess Europe would not want this.
(Nurettin Bay is a senior Turkish journalist and also Director General of KONTV – Turkey)