Is Erdogan Exiting Hitler’s Closet?

At first it was just a reference to governance in Hitler’s Germany as a positive example of the centralized presidential power Erdogan seeks to establish in Turkey. It was reported in the New York Times and elsewhere.

It was easy to disregard it as just another one of Erdogan’s outrageous, outlandish, and outsized remarks, especially in the context of his ever more authoritarian style of rule.

His underlings claimed the media had misrepresented the comments he made. Sound familiar in this time of American presidential primary elections?

But then a few other pieces started falling into place. Please bear with me as the puzzle comes together.

Russia has asserted that Turkey is planning to invade Syria. Lending credence to this is the fact that Turkey denied Russia the right to fly over its territory, which is guaranteed by treaty, suggesting Turkey is trying to hide something. Turkey has also built up its transportation infrastructure starting at the Syrian border, which suggests it’s preparing to mobilize men and munitions.

Aside from its early (and likely ongoing) support from IS/Daesh types, one of the stories Ankara likes to tell about “why” it’s involved in Syria is that Turkmens, ethnic brethren, living in Syria are in danger. Now, the claim has morphed into a more immediate “threat” because of Russian-supported Syrian forces gradually retaking control over areas populated by Turkmens, near Turkey’s border. This progress, when completed, coupled with Kurdish control over the eastern half of the Syria-Turkey frontier, would mean Ankara can no longer maintain the flow of Saudi-supported Muslim radicals into Syria, nor can it continue to supply them.

This Turkmen argument carries significant weight in Turkey. The MHP, the most extreme nationalist parliamentary party in Turkey, has seen some of its members killed in fighting in Syria, with funerals attended by Turkish notables. The MHP has its militant youth organization. Other such youth groups exist. All of this reeks of pan-Turkism. And, since these movements could pose a threat to Erdogan and his AKP, many are convinced that a group called “Ottoman hearths” is a creation of the AKP.

The nomenclature is very worrisome. The notion of “hearth” (“ocag”), which appears in the names of these youth groups, harks back to the “Turk ocagi” set up by Zia Gokalp (one of the pan-Turkist ideologues) a century ago that provided the ideological breeding ground for the murderous elements of the Committee for Union and Progress (Talat Pasha’s party).

Couple all this with the well-known drive by Erdogan to recreate the Ottoman order in some form, and the picture starts to get clear. It even starts to reek of “Hitler Youth” structures in pre-World War II Germany. Is it possible that this brand of youth control was developed by the pan-Turkists, borrowed by the Nazis, and is now being borrowed back by the Turks?

All this fits in with Erdogan’s whipping up of chauvinist fervor against the Kurds, too.

Given his established penchant for political brinkmanship and willingness to use any means to maintain, expand, and deepen his power, it could be that Erdogan is simply using any and all political tools, cynically, to achieve his ends. But, when Pan-Turkism, or any other such racist ideology, is reengaged and reenergized, no one is safe. Armenians (and ever increasingly Kurds) know this.

It’s incumbent on us to start getting the word out on this to media and legislative circles. We have to convey the gravity of the situation and that it is not just Erdogan playing with Islamic or nationalist fire, as usual. This can potentially spiral out of control in the deadliest of ways, and destabilize not only Turkey, nor even just its immediate neighbors, but countries and regions all the way to China.

Get on the phone and computer and get to work getting the word out.

Source: Armenian Weekly
Link: Is Erdogan Exiting Hitler’s Closet?

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