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May 12, 2011, Thursday

What audacity, Mr. Bahçeli

Clearly the extremely tense election atmosphere has taken a toll on Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli, who is the ringleader of a staff that has waged a war on the values of nationalist conservative constituents, who rely on ülkücülük [idealism], the ideology that defines MHP both psychological and politically.

Otherwise, he would not be talking about or targeting a volunteer-based civil society movement that derives its strength and dynamics from the values of the public and that is not a party to politics. Bahçeli is ignoring the sensitivities of his main constituents and by waging a war on the sacred values of his real constituent base he faces the risk of not being able to pass the election threshold. As a result Bahçeli is suffering from psychosis and is confused about where to attack.

Bahçeli is deliberately disconnecting the MHP, which relies on a two-wing traditional idealism that thrives on a synthesis of Turkish and Islamic values, from its religious basin, which is one of the channels the MHP relies on for ideas. He is turning this deeply rooted party, which has developed a racist-neo-nationalist identity, into a political dwarf and is trying to blame his flaws on someone else. Bahçeli could easily understand the real reasons for the profound emotional disconnection with his traditional constituents if only he would look at his immediate surroundings, or just in the mirror. But he does not have the courage to confront the truth. Instead, he is conveniently attributing the flaws stemming from his ineptitude to completely other segments of society as part of a psychological /psychiatric defense reflex.

As a political figure who hasn’t moved a muscle to help the construction of a political and social atmosphere that enables all ideas, faiths and lifestyles to coexist freely in Turkey and has rather built his entire political career on restricting the rights of those who are not of Turkish ethnicity, Bahçeli’s obsession with the respected scholar Fethullah Gülen and his attack on Gülen and the volunteers’ movement that is inspired by Gülen’s ideas may not be interesting for political science but surely it is at a level that concerns the field of psychiatry.

Bahçeli’s hatred towards Mr. Gülen and the Gülen movement, which is known for its efforts to provide educational opportunities, facilitate intercultural dialogue and offer humanitarian aid based, has increased so much that last week he had the audacity to tell the volunteers’ movement to “suspend their activities.” Of course, this Anatolia-origin movement, which has evolved into a source of hope not just for Turkey but the entire world because of everything it has done for regional and global peace and brotherhood, cannot be expected to stop its activities just because a narrow-minded political figure like Bahçeli, whose services, while indiscernible do not help promote Turkish culture and values, said so. One need not be a fortune teller to know that if Bahçeli and his team continue their rude style that disregards and even targets the values of Turkish society, the curtain will fall on their political careers in the end.

Instead of harassing social movements that have nothing to do with politics, Bahçeli, who is demonstrating the profile of a leader that can’t arouse interest and enthusiasm in voters even during the most critical and politically tense days ahead of the elections, should be explaining how he has turned MHP into a party that can’t hold rallies in city squares due to concerns that there will be a low turnout. I think it would be better if Bahçeli and his colleagues, who are the reason MHP can only organize small-scale rallies in villages and not even that in one-third of the country, use whatever wisdom they have to re-examine their own political stances instead of giving advice to others. At this rate I’m afraid Bahçeli and his team, who have made the party unable to organize rallies in many parties of the country, will not have the courage or strength to look at the crowds of people who used to be the party’s constituents.

Before criticizing someone else, Bahçeli, who is basically competing with the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and even the Workers Party (IP) in fighting the nation’s values with a racist form of neo-nationalism by betraying and turning its back on traditional nationalism, which is essentially based on religion and the Turkish culture, should look back and contemplate where he went wrong.

A few days ago, Bahçeli organized election rallies in districts in Tekirdağ. During the meetings, he spoke to the Milliyet daily and out of all the issues facing the country he made strange remarks about the Gülen movement again. Bahçeli, whose political wisdom can be assessed by looking at MHP’s current situation, showed the generosity to use his wisdom, the caliber of which is obvious, to give advice to Gülen. Take a look at what Bahçeli, who hadd the impertinence and madness to compare Gülen to the leader of a terror organization, Abdullah Öcalan, by saying, “Turkey has been imprisoned to the equilateral Erdoğan, Gülen, Öcalan triangle.” He elaborates: “It would be good for Fethullah Gülen to come [back to the country] in order to grasp Turkey’s issues. At this point, I believe it would be better for him to be in Turkey to conduct sound assessments and to provide guidance.”

He then tried, in his opinion, to provoke theologians and religious leaders in Anatolia by talking about the activities of the Gülen Movement and said: “The scholars at theology faculties are quiet. There are venerable religious people in every part of Anatolia. They are qualified people who can assess the benefits and risks of the media-politics-community triangle. They have the ability to assess the extent to which Gülen’s activities are beneficial or not.”

I am making an outright appeal to Mr. Bahçeli. But first Mr. Bahçeli should rest assured that this movement is closely engaged with every segment of society as well with the religious and scholarly dynamics of Anatolia, which he and his team have turned their back on. Bahçeli should have no concerns about that issue. He should know that there is no other way this movement, which is expending immense efforts to make good prevail in the world, could live, let alone grow. My appeal to Bahçeli is that he follow his own valuable advice. He should go and ask the venerable religious people in Anatolia what they think about Bahçeli, the ringleader of a morally corrupt political team that has betrayed its essence politically and his party, the MHP, which has been ripped apart from its roots. Of course, that is if he has the courage to do so.

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