A friend of mine who lived in France for many years finally made the permanent move back to Turkey last year. Since the move, he has not been able to fathom the hatred against Erdoğan, which captivates the country. Every day he asks me whether Erdoğan made a mistake that day. He is always on a knife-edge as he lives in Istanbul's Suadiye district, densely inhabited by secular elites and Kemalists.
Whenever he goes to the mall, he overhears such irrelevant words from passers-by making him believe that the country is on the verge of undergoing a revolution in a matter of days. Then once he sees everyone is occupied with enjoying themselves he becomes relieved.
One of his neighbors seized every opportunity to criticize Erdoğan, so much so that even the recent 6.5 magnitude earthquake that hit the Aegean Sea and also felt in Istanbul was reason to blame the prime minister. Then he could not help but be concerned whether everything is fine or if he is going mad. Finally he was convinced that all of this bluster has nothing to do with Erdoğan's political discourse, the Gezi incidents and political polarization.
When I met him, he got straight to the point and said, "This is a kind of hypnosis. While I was abroad something weird happened and everyone became hypnotized."
Frankly I concur.
Sometimes I cannot help but think, if I was a European watching Turkey from outside, how would I evaluate the phenomenon that sees certain segments of people drift away from the fair political opposition and sink into the psychological obsession of loathing Erdoğan? Perhaps I would first and foremost try to make sense of the hatred as it is key to understanding many things.
There is a profound distinction between abhorring someone to the fullest extent and disliking or withstanding him. This keen sense of hatred leaves no room for "ambiguity" and gives them no respite to awaken to realities. It seems that the easiest way to achieve an objective or deactivate someone is to adopt irreparable hatred.
For many years, the White Turks who regard themselves as the privileged founders of the state have reproached the pietism of the proponents of the AK Party and Erdoğan. They recklessly labeled them as ignorant anti-Westerners and accused them of obscurantism. However, these stigmatizations have faded away and sunk into oblivion in the busy schedule of politics.
Yet, slamming a party based upon a very strong sociology, in such an anti-democratic manner did not go beyond creating the effect of a mosquito sting among the AK Party's huge audience. It is an incredible disgrace to bombard people wherever you find them, although you do not have any particular or personal animosity toward them.
A certain objective, upon which all oppositional powers can be accumulated to alienate the public, was needed. At last, they found it, or rather they had it found. The target was Erdoğan.
The instrument to hit this target was the extreme and prevalent sense of hatred. To me, what has been happening since the spring of 2013
seems like an elaborative operation that came as a result of ardent endeavor and pondering.
I am aware that this is by no means a sociological statement but all the goings-on are occurring in contrast with the country's sociological dynamics and even by pushing them.
In the end, there emerged a picture of a political alliance, which unwillingly gives consent to the AK Party, but is definitely resolved to overthrow Erdoğan. It is not a large alliance with a significant grassroots movement. I am talking about an unruly alliance supported by mainstream media and confuses the minds of Europeans about Turkey.
Well, where do we stand now, after a year that elapsed with undisclosed coup plots and attempts to incite Ukrainian-style chaos?
I must say that the hatred has the effect of a double-ended blade. One stabs both himself and his enemy with it. I am afraid the grudge in which the proponents of Gezi, pro-Gezi, neo-nationalists and pro-Gülenist conservatives nourish themselves, will backlash and devour them in the meantime.
It grabs my attention that they have gradually started to hate the country, the whole world and even themselves. This will not get them anywhere. They should switch from a pathological state of opposition to the more reasonable and political one before it is too late. It will be for the good of us all.