Wednesday, September 21, 2011


The impression I get from Turkish public is:

“We vote in general elections every 4 years; the elected pro-Islamic government may do whatever they wish as they see fit during their term; including imprisonment of over 80 journalists without trial. Everything goes as they have mandate from the people.”

Turkish public is on the verge of forgetting about what democracy meant and should mean for a civilised society. In essence popular opinion over the last decade or so reflects wide-scale public ignorance on the necessity of executing democratic rights and responsibilities of individuals between elections, not just during elections. Citizens to a large extent lack democratic consciousness regarding fundamental human rights and individual liberties. 

The current AKP (Justice and Development Party) government exploits what has always been lurking in Turkish population like an epidemic, a reminiscent of Ottoman legacy: “do not challenge authority”. 

I am sitting in a pub, listening to rock music, and having a glass of cold dark beer. I see myself sitting before a laboratory. You have an aquarium in front of you and there is a red button with 1984 printed on it. 

True. What I hear are stories. I may not have journalistic wisdom nor hard evidence. I sometimes don’t have patience. But overall I am not too bad in predicting what is about to come.

I left the country I was born 22 years ago. I knew what was coming. I knew what today was going to look like.

There was a guy whom I worked together in TEK some 30+ years ago (a government office I worked once). He was quite intelligent, an engineer, like me he graduated from the same school that captured top 0.01% of high school graduates. 

He was a devout Muslim who knew Shiatsu massage and who also regularly swallowed books in NY libraries during his Master's programme. As an Atheist generally I consider talking to Muslims on divine matters, a hopeless endeavor.  Nevertheless I found him interesting and pleasant to have conversation with. It still puzzles me why and how on earth a person as intelligent as him became a follower of a religion full of Abrahamic bullshit. Surely it appeared he had great deal of grey material. I remember we had a long discussion about whether good art may emerge from Islam. I questioned him about lack of asymmetry in Islamic Art and esthetical problems associated with it. He seemed to be quite convinced that you would not need to go beyond symmetry. You know, all those boring hypnotising Islamic tile designs, carpet designs and so on. That’s what I was talking about. For me asymmetry is a fundamental cognitive element that makes art interesting and pleasant.  

Anyway, he told us (people in the office) at the time we were all missing the point and Turkey would one day become an Islamic Republic. We went outside for lunch, and later I saw him leaning forward in Namaz position prostrating himself against a God he cannot see nor anyone has seen evidence of on a narrow pavement in a busy street near the office at the back of other prayers stretching from a mock Mosque built inside a small shopping centre.

How naïve I was. I laughed about this. But at the same time I had an eerie feeling about it. There were indications already. The military quo of September 1980 largely favoured the Right; during my military service I was ordered to escort one of my former uni classmates, who was a communist, to prison who was later tortured among others in a civil prison. I heard his story later when I met him during a business conference in 1986.

I am now sitting in Kuğulu Park trying to come around.  There we go; we see evidence of Darwinian Evolution here as well. The pigeons grew in number and adapted to grey surroundings of cityscape thanks to men who sell grains to satisfy people who believe they are feeding animals for the good. Most interestingly these pigeons are shameless. They evolved to ignore my attempts to scare them off. I step firmly on the ground; they don’t seem to bother; they take one or two small steps and come back to pick stuff from the gaps of cobblestones. 30 years ago they used to keep away or fly away farther.

85% of Turkish people think that humans have evolved from Adam and Eve. 

Gray pigeons adapted to favourable conditions grain salesmen and park dwellers created. It is so obvious. People would like to feel good about themselves, perhaps a DNA reminiscent of their gatherer ancestors who cultivated land and breed animals. So they are inclined to feed pigeons that are in reality slightly more dignified than rats and only in appearance. Home Sapiens salesmen appeared in the city to exploit such a weakness. They started to sell grain to park-dwellers.  In the end the most aggressive and shameless pigeons evolved to breed in high numbers and managed to disturb my peace. I now escaped to Gloria Jeans across the road.

It is not easy to understand why a larger proportion of a human population cannot see Darwinian evolution in action. The definition of stupid has always been a puzzling concept for me.  Are these people simply stupid not to see vast evidence for Darwinian Evolution that is taking place, or should we blame the education system or powerful memes of Islamic traditions that deluded them?

Anyway I am too little too less to change this. I elect to remain outside the aquarium. 

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