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İHSAN YILMAZ

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İHSAN YILMAZ
May 04, 2012, Friday

Lausannian Turks and their adventures

I remember writing about Lausannian Islam here. It is a form of Turkish Islam devised by Kemalists within the borders of the Turkey set by the Lausanne Treaty of 1923 that ended World War I for Turkey.

Knowing that they would not be able to eradicate Islam totally and that allowing it some autonomy would challenge their hegemony, they decided to totally control and shape Islam in accordance with their Westernistic, modernistic, laicist and nationalist needs.

Even though this Islam was a sort of Turkish Islam, it did not address the Turks living outside the borders of the Lausannian-defined Turkish Republican borders. It did not have any transnational aspirations, claims or even sentiments. The word ummah was almost a taboo. Arabs were traitors. The main texts, call to prayer and worship were all translated into Turkish to jettison Turks’ universal ties with their fellow brethren and the whole ummah. Lausannian Islam would be used as a helping hand in Durkheimian mentality and would be used to build the most perfect citizen, whom I call LAST.

As I have written here before, LAST is an acronym for Laicist, Atatürkist, Sunni, Turk. To be a first-class citizen, one needs to be all of these four simultaneously. Any missing component would qualify one to be an enemy of the state. I also call this perfect citizen the LAST-MAN, and thinking about it again, it appeared to me that it has also a patriarchal dimension: LAST-MAN, but not LAST-WOMAN. There have of course been many first-class LAST women, but they were to a great extent always in supplementary and secondary roles. The Kemalists, being children of these lands, were also patriarchal and never treat women as equal human beings. One may also dub this perfect human type “Homo Lastus.” It is the same with Alevis, who serve the interests of Kemalists, are given some positions, prestige and power to a certain degree but are never fully trusted.

This Homo Lastus is also a Lausannian Turk. A Lausannian Turk does not have to be ethnically Turkish and as long as he is assimilated in Turkishness, has a good İstanbul accent, is a good Atatürkist and a non-practicing Sunni, he is also a first-class citizen. A Lausannian Turk, similar to the Lausannian Muslim, is not supposed to have any transnational links, brotherhoods, affiliations, ideology, claims or aspirations. Kemalists do not like anything they cannot control. That is why Turanist ideology, for instance, was not espoused by officials in the country, and fear of the Soviets is only one of the reasons. If the Lausannian Muslim were the Kemalistly loved practicing Muslim type, the Lausannian Turk is the Kemalistly loved Turkish nationalist type, who is generally a non-practicing Sunni Muslim.

The members of Homo Lastus (Lausannian Muslims and Lausannian Turks) worship the state and they do everything they can to help its ideology and power. The state uses Homo Lastus for surveillance purposes. They ubiquitously check and control other members of the society to see if they are under control and do not do anything wrong.

They also monitor their fellow-traveler Homo Lastus and newcomers who claim to be assimilated. For instance, the old Homo Lastus does not hesitate to check the garbage of the new Homo Lastus to see if there are empty wine or beer bottles in it. Or they invite them to ball parties and observe if the new one is happy when his wife is dancing with someone else. Or they take them to beaches to see if they are comfortable in their bikinis. All these are obviously worse than Daniel Pipes’ notorious Campus Watch. In social gatherings, the old Homo Lastus would closely watch you to see if you enjoy your wine or are just faking it. I call this activity the “Kemalist orgasmic watch.” It is there to see if you are enjoying your new identity or just faking it.

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