Fulfilling His Ambition
"The A.K.P. [Justice and Development Party) government had already been searching for new commemorations to mark what they define as the New Turkey."
"President Erdogan expressed how he did not think commemorations of the Turkish Republic reflect the whole Turkish, Ottoman and Muslim history he saw the new Turkey building upon."
"[The coup] seems to be the perfect grand event, complete with martyrs and great popular support."
Esra Ozyurek, chairwoman, Turkish studies, London School of Economics
"We are now the soldiers of this country."
"This was the second war of independence, and we won! We would do it again."
Osman Bozoglu, 34, Erdogan supporter
Turkey, which once ruled the Muslim world, lost its Islamist prestige when it joined Germany during the First World War and the Allies defeated the Ottoman Empire's aspirations to continue to grow its influence toward achieving a universal caliphate. For generations since then, after Mustafa Kemal Ataturk transformed Turkey into a European-modelled quasi democracy with a secular government and a quiescent religious presence to propel the country into the 20th Century and economic and social success, Turkey was an acknowledged bridge between Europe and the Middle East.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who aspires to become greater than the revered Ataturk has been as a Turkish legend of empowerment, has long since rejected the Turkey of Ataturk's invention. It is the Ottoman Empire that Erdogan wants to see as the honoured heritage of Turkey, and a return to those heady days of power and control. With, needless to say, himself as caliph. And his Turkish admirers, grateful for the return of Islam as a controlling religious and lifestyle factor in Turkey, support his aspirations.
Erdogan speaks of himself and his rule as the upholder of democracy. His move from President to Prime Minister, then back to President echoes his rediscovered best friend Vladimir V. Putin's transparent little charade to accustom their populations to viewing them as perpetual rulers and both plan to rewrite their countries' constitution to legalize no term limits for the presidency, leaving them open to permanent occupation. Both are well on their way.
Each has built opulent palaces for themselves to reflect their glorious tenures in perpetuity. The talk of democracy even while building ongoing support for a theistic state is Erdogan's little ploy of success; words that belie his intentions though his intentions are abundantly clear. A supporter of the Muslim Brotherhood, Erdogan's falling-out with Egypt and Saudi Arabia both of which have declared the Brotherhood a terrorist group, speaks volumes about his idea of Islam's future as a democracy.
His favourite phrase is an expression that the Muslim Brotherhood uses as its motto: "Allah is our objective; the Prophet is our leader; the Quran is our law; Jihad is our way; dying in the way of Allah is our greatest hope". Before coming to the ultimate power he now holds, he challenged the secular nature that then prevailed in Turkey by quoting a nationalist poem:
The mosques are our barracks
The domes our helmets
The minarets our bayonets
And the faithful our soldiers
The impression this poem leaves is the reality that Erdogan subscribes to, it expresses his very own personal devotion to Islam and the manner in which he plans to completely transform Turkey. Those who died, identified as coup plotters are buried in "the cemetery for traitors", on a plot of land close to a dog shelter on the far outskirts of Istanbul. Any in the Turkish population who sympathized with the attempted coup are likewise traitors and Erdogan hasn't yet finished his purge of tens of thousands.
Those Turks who defended the bridge over the Bosporus where rebellious military had gathered to close down all egress and ingress are being honoured by the renaming of the bridge to reflect their nationalist courage in confronting the renegades The victims who died defending Erdogan's Turkey have become celebrated national heroes. Statues and monument will be erected to their memory and the greater glory of Turkey. The New Turkey, that is.
The "democracy and martyrs" rally that took place on August 7 in Istanbul saw a massive show of support for Turkey's valorous president the champion of Islam and defender of democracy. In evidence was the unity expressed by the presence of two main opposition parties in a huge display of trust.