President Erdoğan’s military advisor and the founder of the armed group SADAT, Adnan Tanrıverdi, recently spoke at Üsküdar University. He said, “Will there be Islamic unity? Yes, there will be. When? When Mahdi comes. When is Mahdi going to come? Only Allah knows that. Until he arrives, we have to be ready. This is what ASSAM does.” This was how he explained the function of ASSAM, his own think tank.
Tanrıverdi is not an important figure in Turkish politics. He is now one of the figures who is close to Erdoğan. Tanrıverdi is an ex-soldier. He joined the army in 1980 and just before the 1980 coup, he was appointed as a colonel. In 1992, he was appointed as a brigadier general. He seems to have had a successful career in Turkish army, which is not actually surprising. Starting with the 1980 coup, the Turkish army positioned itself against communism and socialism in Turkey and saw Islamism as a means to fight communism. This was compatible with American National Security Advisor Brezinski’s Green Belt Theory.
After he left the army, he joined the press, and apparently had a nose for influential positions. He coordinated the conservative radio station Üsküdar FM and wrote for the Islamist newspaper Vakit. Now, he is leading the military consultancy group SADAT. Some say that SADAT resembles the American military company Blackwater, and some fear it is going to turn out like the Iranian IRGC, an alternative army loyal to one man and Islam.
It was claimed that SADAT was active on the night of the infamous July 15 coup attempt. It was rumored that SADAT members, behind big trucks with guns on their hands, encouraged people to go out to the street. Now SADAT members are rumored to be in Libya, readying for the fight against Hafter forces. Since transparency is the last thing in Turkey these days, who knows how many of these rumors are true.
Faith in a Mahdi who will come just before the Armageddon exists in both the Shia and Sunni schools of Islam. It is a stronger part of Shia Islam, however. According to the Shia school, Mahdi is the last of the Twelve Imams, Imam Zaman. He is mentioned more frequently in the daily lives of Iranians and in Iranian politics.
Former President of Iran Mahmoud Ahmedinejad gave grave importance to the arrival of Mahdi. Ahmedinejad started his political career as the mayor of the Iranian Turkish city of Ardabil. Then he was elected as the mayor of Tehran. One of the first tasks after he was elected was to prepare a master plan for the city of Tehran for the arrival of Mahdi — which roads will be open, which will be closed, and which roads will be used by security forces as Mahdi arrives were all stated in the master plan.
In 2010, Ahmedinejad’s deputy minister of tourism, Hamid Bagai, surprised journalists in a presser. He claimed Tehran needed new hotels immediately. When one journalist asked what the hotels would be for, since Iran is not receiving many tourists, he answered that Tehran needed new hotels for the arrival of Mahdi, because when he arrives people will be pouring in to see him.
Islamist politicians tend to be seen as pragmatists who use religion to influence people or consolidate their supporters. However, they are not staunch pragmatists most of the time; they sincerely believe in religious orders and fallacies. Islamism is usually not just an element of politics, but the core of it.
When Erdoğan said in November, “We will not place the conditions of today at the center of our lives, but rather the rules of our religion,” he is not just saying it. He sincerely means it.
Erdoğan’s military advisor announcing his mission to prepare for Mahdi’s arrival is definitely not a good sign for Turkey’s near future.
Nobody in their right mind can think that being an opposition party in an autocratic environment is easy. However, one cannot learn how to swim without jumping in the water. Ali Babacan's party DEVA seems to be enjoying the dry land, not taking any risks, at a time when citizens are expecting brave and wise leadership.
At a time when Turkey, just like the rest of the world, is under grave threat from a new, unknown virus, and the state has to indirectly admit that it could soon be unable to pay for the basic needs, it is becoming obvious how costly President Erdoğan's populist megalomania projects are.
The health minister announcing the new numbers every night is creating an illusion of transparency. However, Turkish people are mostly being left in the dark. Little is being shared about the scope of the spread. Meanwhile it seems that President Erdoğan and his son-in-law and the Minister of the Economy see the coronavirus as an opportunity.
Turks on both the left and right of the spectrum have been united by conspiracy theories about the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. After the virus appeared, discourse about the U.S. trying to prevent the development of mighty China spread all over social media. Nationalist, leftist figures writing and speaking about the virus preferred to accuse the West when it came to the outbreak.
It is a fact that the ruling government has an obsession about Taksim square. The square is not only closed to women rallies, but pretty much any rally and gathering. There are though exceptions. One exception had been a group of Syrians celebrating new years with Free Syrian Army flags.
The refugees are not being told the truth by the authorities, Turkish public is not being told the truth either. Everybody is being kept in darkness that leads the way to more resentment and hatred.
Football in Turkey, as in many European countries, is structured around masculinity. Game days are the days when men can act like savages, insult men and women freely, and attack anyone they like — and they don’t face any consequences.
Turkey is still divided by the Gezi protests. Some see the protests as a struggle for freedom that had never happened before in Turkey and remember it with pride, while others detest the memory of the protests. For Erdoğan’s 50 percent, when the state tells you not to do something, you ought not to do it.
In a meeting between Mr Erdoğan and his party’s MPs, some MPs voiced their concerns about Turkish soap operas that they found to be not suitable for Turkish values and culture. According to the reports, Mr. Erdoğan agreed with the MPs and told them he was disturbed as well. When the President voices a concern about a matter, a new decree or law usually follows.
The chaos that occurred after the June 2015 election worked for Erdoğan, but his approval ratings tend to fall when terror attacks or wars halt and people start worrying about the economy. According to Metropoll, the last time Erdoğan’s approval rating was higher than 50 percent was 2018; the economy seems to be taking its toll on Erdoğan.
Up until now, the local businessmen used to support AKP without reservation, and it used to be a win-win situation for both parties. However, this cooperation seems to be fading. When Suriçi Group Platform hosts CHP chair Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu, it is a significant development for Turkish politics.
There is the talk of early elections, both on the street and in back rooms. There is an expectation that some change will occur. The Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) has a more critical part to play in Turkish politics. However, it seems that it won’t be easy for the HDP to keep their traditional voter base satisfied while becoming a more relevant actor in the upcoming political period.
While many of the pro-government figures in Turkey were preaching about what sort of a villain Soleimani was, the Turkish secular left was busy describing him as the “Che Guevara of the Middle East.” Though it depends on how one perceives Che Guevara, the comparison was supposed to be a compliment to Soleimani’s legacy.
Totalitarian systems usually come up with their own ideal man. Tayyip Erdoğan believes the future of his Turkey lies in İmam Hatip school education. He believes the only way to create his “ideal man” is to educate young Turkish people in line with the strict religious education of the imam hatip schools. As Erdoğan became stronger, so did the imam hatip schools.
Horses tumbling down and breathing their last breaths, while still being harnessed to the carriage has also turned into an everyday scene at the Princes’ Islands of Istanbul. Weak, limping horses trying to pull crowded families up the hills, often looks like a horror scene from a dystopian movie.
Led by Erdoğan, the AKP has been reshaping the secular life of Turks for the last 17 years, bit by bit. The latest in the line of religiously-inspired incidents happened in Adana, a southern Turkish city with a unique character whose people are proud of their city, their type of kabab and their Adana ways.
Last Sunday, women gathered in one of the Istanbul’s busy centers, Kadıköy. Their aim was to protest violence against women and the inaction of the state. However, as usual in recent years in Turkey, the police jumped in and dispersed the crowd, detaining some of the women protesters.
Turkey is now being ruled by an exceptional version of a presidential system. Everything is ultimately decided by the President, with ministries and the legislative branch having a marginal influence. But he also wants citizens to be able to reach the Palace directly. And CIMER is the answer!
Imamoğlu ran his election campaign not on a narrative of fighting, but a narrative of peace. He promised to be inclusive, and he was careful not to target Erdoğan in his speeches. He aimed to grab AKP votes by not targeting Erdoğan. However, now it seems that he is shifting gears.
Gas prices have doubled overnight in Iran. Since Nov. 15, street protests and riots have been spreading. The protests started peacefully, but turned violent fairly quickly. The security forces were relentless: they had no intention of tolerating this public objection to the price increase.
One of the heaviest financial crises in Turkey’s history was in 2001. It first became public symbolically when a salesman threw a cash till at then-Prime Minister Bülent Ecevit. The man threw the giant cash box in front of the cameras as Ecevit was walking into his office. As the till hit the floor and shattered into pieces, the salesman yelled, “We are struggling!” The incident symbolically marked the beginning of the end of the Ecevit era.
The Sevres Syndrome has been a factor that impedes rationality for many Turkish citizens trying to make some sense of global dynamics. In recent years, Turkish-American relations have deteriorated at an unprecedented rate. For many Turks, this was simply another example of hatred against the Turks, this time coming from across the ocean. However, even in the more rational circles in Turkey, it is almost impossible to hear critical analysis concerning Turkey’s responsibility in the failing relationship.
After the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, Turks established the Turkish Republic. However, even the issue of what to celebrate proves that Turks have a long road ahead before they feel like a truly united nation that shares similar ideals and prospects for future.
According to Turkish civil law, the party who has the economic advantage in the marriage is to pay for children’s expenses and some expenses of the former spouse. In most cases the economic advantage is with the men, since on the one hand many men do not want their wives to work during the marriage and also social inequalities cause men to be the breadwinners of the families, not the women.