people need to know يحتاج الناس إلى معرفته
by Pierre Chiartano. Istanbul. What turkish people think about America? It’s not an easy answer nor an “istant coffee” analisys could help to understand. We have to stress two kinds of issues before try to answer. The first concerns the division of society into power elites and ordinary citizens and then a further distinction between secular and Muslim comunities. The government of Erdogan is an expression of Akp, a party founded on Islamic inspiration in 2001, in a hurry, after the banning of Wp, Erbakan’s party – wich Erdogan was a disciple – considered fundamentalist. The majority upon which the Prime minister has a leg is a network of foundations, social organizations and publications related to Fetullah Gulen, a voluntary exile in the United States for years, waiting to see Turkey become a mature democracy before come back home. It is also a sort of “internal opposition”, because it reminds periodically Erdogan to not abuse the great power which has been able to build around its indisputable leadership at home and abroad. The feeling of the Muslims against the government of America is ambivalent. It was partly inherited from the European (and Turkish) secular left, which saw the Us as the source of “capitalists” plots. Of course these conspiracies have an historical and well known brand: plutocratic-jewish and fremasson origin as all past european dictatorial regimes, from Zars to Hitler, like to immagine and describe the “enemy”, as in a challange between statecraft serfdom and free societies features. There is always the suspicion that behind the openings of Washington there are plans and projects to build some kind of “remote control” on the autonomy of a country. Erdogan and some senior intelligence officers trust in Washington, «even less than they trust in Teheran». Maybe they are affected of a peculiar mindset, not familiar with the Lutheran culture that is the root of American politics and when they perceive values are fast in pigeonholing it in the sector of “anomalies”. Even in France and Italy ideological and postideological radical thinking we can find same kind of cultural attitude.
A recent example is the Erdogan refusal to accept the outstretched hand of Washington to provide technologies to combat terrorism of the Pkk. The turkish prime minister, to justify to the public opinion the «no thank you», said that the country has eliminated Osama bin Laden would not know how to defeat the armed formations «barricaded in the mountains… ». This distrust was mitigated at the time of Obama’s speech at Cairo University, but substantially remains. There is also the belief that there is an «international will» to pull Turkey in an open conflict against Assad’s Syria. We heard, sometime, even “crap” on Us responsibility in the persistence of the Pkk activity, but rather is intended as folkloristic mindset that is going to downgrade with the advent of a global ruling class, educated and Islamic style. Hillary Clinton, a clever diplomatic mind of Us policy, was trying to overcome the last resistances. In August 2012, flew to Istanbul and a few weeks later she sent the Cia chief, general David Petraeus (that resigned for a scandal, few months later) to coordinate efforts in the difficult management of the Syrian crisis, but also to help the government against internal threats. And we have already seen some results: the interception of a passangers flight, over turkish skies, loaded with war equipments for Syria. The Pkk still destroys Erdogan sleep, first of all because it is a historical problem that touches the feelings of turkish nationalism still deeply rooted, and second of all because militaries, after years of confrontation with the Prime minister, even if subdued to political power, still remains an actor Erdogan could not trust 100 percent. It was the army that wave under the nose of the Prime minister, just a couple of years ago, the terrorist activity’s danger of a resurgence Kurdish communist party. And in August 2012 there was the first (flash) kidnapping of a turkish parliament member by a cell of the Communist kurds. Ankara government still fears to fall in a trap placed on by some disgruntled generals. Fears that undermine Erdogan’s political action when it comes to take difficult decisions, such as in foreign policy, where the support and absolute loyalty (that most of militaries swear on public statements) of the Army is essential. The armed forces have been forged in the culture of Atlantic alliance so it is easier to find Us republican party sympathies among men in uniform than elsewhere.
The secular intelligentsia, as the most current modernist Muslim intellectuals are moderately pro-obamiane. Turkish public opinion shows still interest about president Barack Obama. The government was aware that the recent reset of American policy in the region (Obama’s doctrine) is driven more by economic necessity than from an “ideological” change, even if Obama’s “rhetoric” is very envolving. However, Washington has a lot of work to do in the country of Orhan Pamuk, in terms of soft power and communication, to break a veil of distrust that still persists. «Most of the time it’s not the Europeans who belittle us. What happens when we look at them is that we belittle ourselves. When we undertake the pilgrimage, it’s not just to escape the tyranny at home but also to reach to the depths of our souls. The day arrives when the guilty must return to save those who could not find the courage to leave» (Snow).