Unrest in Turkey, too?

February 17, 2011

“These protests that are spreading throughout the Arab world, will they hit Turkey?” A curious American citizen asks my fake alter ego, a Turkish affairs scholar sought after by the media for quotes.

“No, no. Highly highly unlikely, anyway” my fake alter ego, with a Ph.D. and dozens of published works to his name, replies. “The cultures are quite distinct, and regular folks have seen more fruits of economic growth lately than the masses in countries like Egypt have – though it’s still not enough.”

I am polishing off a yogurtlu fistikli beyti kebap that was frozen and flown directly to me from Gaziantep, looking out the window from my Istanbul penthouse overlooking the Bosphorus. “I suppose it COULD be possible, but in reality Turkey is seen as a role model in terms of democracy, and, scanning the Net, I have yet to see any reports of such activity going on.”

As I take a hit from my cast-silver nargile and exhale fresh wet smoke of apple flavored tobacco, I continue.  “There is little censorship of the Net, except for that silly YouTube business that everyone – from the villager cleaning lady to the five-year-old spoiled kid from Bostanci – knows how to get around. The Turks have taken to social networking like olive oil on eggplant, and surely there would be more buzz on Facebook, etc. to this effect.” I get up and refill my tulip shaped teacup from Pasabahce with steeped tea made from fine Black Sea leaves.

But I pause. This is Turkey, after all, people work ridiculously long hours, minimum wage is roughly 500 a month, the military is highly respected but so is the regime, for now. How long could that last? The garbage is getting picked up more regularly; there are big infrastructure projects underway that the Ak Party rightfully or wrongfully takes credit for. So it’s going to be a while, I think to myself.

“Islam is creeping into daily lives, this could be a balm to soothe the masses so they create more robotic support in the long run and can finally achieve the dream of successfully portraying secularists as ‘aliens’, as Erdogan once called the liberal-minded Izmir populace.” I mumble under my breath as I saunter back into the ‘salon’.

“What?” asks the curious American.

“Oh, Nothing,” I sit back down.

So…will there be mass protests here? “Nah” I say. “Well, this baklava won’t eat itself, my friend. Afiyet olsun.”

A real international affairs scholar said Turkey is actually a model for these newly democratic countries.

And something a tid bit spooky: A Muslim Brotherhood leader visits Turkey.

One Response to “Unrest in Turkey, too?”

  1. dad said

    Hmmm… who’d’ve thought Bahrain would get violent that way, either? In any event, with all the talking heads on Egypt on US TV asking rhetorically,”Where’s the Muslim Brotherhood? Oh, there they are, being curiously calm (even ‘Izmiri’)” the thought crossed my uneducated mind that Turkey might, for all its cultural differences with Araby, be a sort of model. It was a Gamal that threw out King Farouk; might a neo-Kemal be in the offing for Egypt?

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