‘It is no secret that a bad chosen one can disgrace the people as much as a good appointed vizier can,’ says Turkish thinker-writer Alev Alatlı in her book 'America the Beautiful: Fesüphanallah.'
It is still a mystery as to whether what happened in the United States in recent days was driven by the elected politicians or appointed bureaucrats. Perhaps this is more systematic – a question of the U.S.' conscience and its stance on humanitarian issues in countries other than itself at historic breaking points.
As Alev Alatlı says in her book, America's Declaration of Independence of July 4, 1776, mentions that the "American Dream" is another derivative of the perception that the American continent is divinely graced.
James Truslow Adams in "The Epic of America" (1931) notes that “the United States is a dream country where the individual lives as he wishes, where his personal goals do not contradict society, where achieving prosperity is a matter of intent, where everyone can turn their talents or skills into a better, richer and more fulfilling life.”
“This ‘dream,' consisting of beliefs, assumptions, behaviors and wishes rather than a fact, is considered a ‘privileged gift as well as unprecedented’ that the U.S. offers to humanity. And the American person believes that every human being who wants to can realize this ideal, as long as the freedom to choose a way of life is not taken away, and equal opportunity (equal opportunity) is not overshadowed. It's such a beautiful ‘dream’ that Green Card demandants are chasing it, while those born in America are afraid to wake up from this dream,” Alatlı says on the perception of the notion.
But Americans woke up from that dream whether they wanted to or not. And the dream almost turned into a nightmare with the bloody Congress raid on Jan. 6.
As many know, the shrine of the American Dream and libertarianism is the Statue of Liberty, while U.S. exceptionalism in world politics is enshrined in the U.S. Congress building.
On Jan. 6, the building was raided by demonstrators who claimed to be supporters of President Donald Trump. As a result of these events, which the whole world watched with astonishment, blood was spilled and four people died.
In light of this event, the whole world is witnessing developments that have not been seen for many years in the written and known history of the U.S. It is difficult to predict where and how this turbulence, which may have been caused by the increasing political and sociological fragmentation and polarization in the country in recent years, will stop.
On the one hand, there are figures, institutions and the mainstream media who represent the U.S. political line, describing Trump’s four-year term as a picture of loss and shame in American history.
This group includes not only Democrats but also a wide alliance of media, progressive, liberal, neoconservative and leftist political and academic influencers, lobbies and think tanks in Hollywood and Washington. This broad alliance calls what is happening in Congress a terror attack and almost a coup set up by Trump.
They also claim that Jan. 6 was a tipping point at which all the moral and traditional pedestals of the U.S. were destroyed by Trump. Above all, they almost named the 45th president as a coup plotter and terror instigator.
On the other hand, 75 million American Republicans who voted for Trump against the Democratic candidate do not give unconditional approval to all of these uprisings and outbreaks.
However, they still believe to an undeniable extent Trump's claims that their votes were stolen in the election. It is also worth noting that, in the U.S. House of Representatives, there was almost no wastage among Republican members in the vote on Trump's impeachment.
The view that the wave created by Trump's politics, also known as “Trumpism,” which has developed as a result of the reaction among Republicans against Democratic institutions and figures, is reflected in American society as well, is also gaining momentum.
Given this picture, four out of every five Americans already believe that the country is moving toward a division.
Along with socioeconomic reasons that outweigh the background of this conflict, additional factors are the rage of the lower-class, the rise of evangelism and far-right movements that seek to break the fault lines of the orthodox establishment and strengthen its power in the Trump era.
It is observed that this newborn lower-class alliance gained confidence against a more protestant belief system fueled by upper-middle-class liberal democratic politics in American society.
So, it is not adequate to reduce this division and polarization to the fight of liberal-capitalists and protectionist capitalists, or Republicans versus Democrats, in the political sphere.
The reasons and consequences of how this process came to be will perhaps be discussed for many years. But these events, unprecedented and unimaginable in U.S. history, and the reaction of American politics and institutions to this is significant from many angles.
In fact, these reactions are more "embarrassing on behalf of America" in its own words. Obviously, this is because the orthodox understanding of the establishment that leads U.S. politics has lost its moral and political superiority as well as the exceptional position it has held in the current global system since World War II.
American academic Francis Fukuyama's claim that the U.S. is the only and irreplaceable leader of the liberal world and his "end of history" thesis have collapsed after the Congress raid.
What happened, on the other hand, has had another litmus effect not just on the U.S. itself but on how it looks at the rest of the world.
The world had become accustomed to the U.S., which remained silent about what it did not want for itself, using its conditions only to its own advantage and self-proclaimed moral superiority.
One of the most recent examples of this happened on July 15, 2016.
On that night, Turkey was attacked by covert members of the military who were loyal to the Gülenist Terror Group (FETÖ), one of the most dangerous examples of modern-day cult terrorism, whose leader and most of its influential members still live in the U.S.
On that night, when more than 251 civilians were killed by FETÖ militants, the Turkish Parliament, the Presidency and security units were bombed and millions of civilians who resisted were fired upon.
This terrorist act, which was launched in Turkey against the democratically elected government with the votes of the people, targeted not only politicians but also directly the nation.
The terrorists did not hesitate to relentlessly use the most obvious methods and goals of terror such as fear, intimidation and violence. Today, they continue to undergo fair and transparent trials before the Turkish judiciary and receive their sentences.
Looking at the reactions from the U.S. at that time, the statements made by the leading figures of the U.S. military and by top politicians, from Joe Biden, the country's elected vice president, to John Kerry, the secretary of state at the time, are still as fresh in the memory of the Turkish nation as on the day they were made.
Some said they assumed this bloody coup attempt was an “internet game,” while others called FETÖ members “friends of the United States in the Turkish army.”
They also argued that there was a “purge" for those who terrorized Turkey and the nation. They went as far as to say that "Turkey's NATO membership is in danger."
Now we hear that the same people are calling for the families of those involved in the U.S. Congress raid to report them and saying that those involved are terrorists and should receive the harshest punishment.
The families of people involved in riots at the government buildings of different states are even being asked to report them to the FBI.
The U.S. mainstream institutions and media, which described what happened at the Capitol a raid and the actions in the U.S. a "coup," "terror" and "insurrection," had not refrained from describing the events in Turkey as a theater, computer game, production or fiction on July 15.
The U.S. administration has now declared those involved in the Congress raid terrorists and has started a witch hunt. It is now considered that the arrests may resemble the McCarthy era in history.
Currently, the FBI continues its operations in every state, and whether this is legal or fair is not even being discussed.
On the other hand, since July 15, 2016, dozens of boxes of files, indictments, documents and findings have been presented, but not even a single case has been filed against the coup fugitives of FETÖ living in the U.S.
When it comes to the coup and terrorism in Turkey, these hypocritical attitudes of the U.S. are widely perceived as a double-standard approach throughout Turkey.
In addition, in the last half-century, the political history has unfortunately been filled with many bitter pages about whether the U.S. will side with the will of the nation or the coup plotters in the democratic processes in Turkey. July 15 is perhaps one of the most memorable among them.
The consequences of a hypocritical attitude in which those who took part in the U.S. Congress raid were considered “terrorists” and those who bombed the Turkish Parliament were considered "friends" will soon not be easy for the U.S.
In June and July 2016, just before the July 15 incident, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan emphasized that states should take a common stance in the fight against terrorism.
Erdoğan, perhaps as if to predict a U.S. Congress raid, said: “Here you have heard what happened in Germany today. You can see the state of France. You saw what happened in America. The world is walking in search of a different future. Is it possible to defend terror? But we have always said that those who remain silent in Turkey, which continues a relentless struggle against terrorism, should know that one day this terror will return like a boomerang and shoot them.”
As a matter of fact, these words of Erdoğan spoken before July 15 became a reality. Since then, he has increased his warnings further. He emphasized that this is not only for Turkey, but also that the understanding of the “your terrorist, my terrorist” discourse and such an attitude will not be in favor of any state or nation, and that this is a great security threat for all states. He mentioned the boomerang effect of terror in almost all his speeches.
He issued these warnings not only for FETÖ but also for the PKK’s offshoot, the YPG, which the U.S. considers a “tactical partner” in Syria and Iraq.
As a matter of fact, he also said this in one of his speeches to a group of journalists, which included me, on the plane after a visit to Hungary on Nov. 8, 2019.
"We've said these things to Trump before. Ferhat Abdi Şahin, also known as Mazloum Kobani, whom the terrorist organization calls the oppressed Kobani, is one of the ringleaders of the terrorist PKK terrorist organization. In our meeting the previous evening, we said to Trump: 'Unfortunately, you meet with such a person. We condemn your meeting with such a person. We know that a man called Şahin has taken part in many terrorist attacks.'"
Now it has emerged that one of the members of the same YPG terrorist group was involved in congressional raids in the U.S.
A Florida man and an ex-member of the PKK terrorist group’s Syrian affiliate, the YPG, was arrested last Friday and charged with trying to organize an armed response to pro-Trump protesters expected at the state capitol last week in Florida, the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced.
The court document described a series of threats of violence and a prediction of civil war. Daniel Alan Baker is described as anti-Trump, anti-government, anti-white supremacist and anti-police.
Baker was kicked out of the army in 2007 after absences without leave before being deployed to Iraq. He joined the YPG in 2017 and fought in Syria against the Daesh terrorist group. He claimed on social media that he was “a trained sniper for the YPG,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
Now, as Erdoğan has stated, terrorist organizations have started to turn around and target countries that support them, even the U.S.
Even though many prominent figures in the U.S. Army, intelligence organizations and the State Department admitted that the YPG was an offshoot of the PKK, the U.S. saw it as its Syria partner, despite the group having massacred tens of thousands of civilians in Turkey. And the U.S. still ignores the fact that the leader of FETÖ and his loyalists are behind the failed coup attempt on July 15 and that it harbors them on U.S. soil.
If the YPG is a threat to the U.S. today, there is no guarantee that threats will not be presented by FETÖ too. Time will tell if Biden and his team are able to tackle the situation.
In the memory of Turkish generations who have stood witness to the history of coups, America's bad report card on this issue is fresh.
It would be appropriate for the “experts” and bureaucrats who advise Biden, who assess the thesis that “anti-Americanism is growing in Turkey” to take into account these historical realities.
*Daily Sabah Ankara representative
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