How Turkish political polarizers complain about polarization

It is no longer rare to hear celebrities and supporters of opposition parties insult victims of the devastating Feb. 6 earthquakes.

During the election campaign for the presidential runoff, almost every day, we heard disgraceful words targeting quake victims as they voted for President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. The expectation was that Erdoğan would lose elections due to the earthquake due to the widespread damage the disaster inflicted. Yet, Erdogan and his political alliance did not fall under the rubble of the earthquake and won the elections, particularly with the votes of people living in quake-affected areas.

The opposition refuses to understand why Erdoğan won since they also sent aid and huge amounts of donations. Thus, perhaps to relieve their frustration, they lash out at the quake victims. In response, the pro-government electorate has asked the government to take harsh measures as well as reimburse insulters’ donations.

Unfortunately, punitive measures have not provided a solution to preventing insults as malicious behavior has a deep political and ideological basis. Verbal attacks are just a reflection of political polarization, which was commenced and is still maintained by Türkiye’s self-declared modernists and secularists. Called “White Turks,” this community has not taken power since 1950 except for a few coalition governments. As in every election, they were very confident and ambitious about winning the last parliamentary and presidential elections held in May.

Their aim was to add governmental power to their ideological dominance, but it did not happen. Perhaps, so much fury stems from the defeat but even victory would not stop them from belittling people. Because, according to them, people are “not educated enough” to understand how the opposition is “superior” and more talented than the current government. People also “sell” their votes for a pack of pasta, the opposition has said.

Their hostility toward conservative people continues to grow. The secular regime, regardless of which party governs the country, did not allow veiled women to study at schools or work as public clerks until Erdoğan came to power. Contrary to these prejudiced attitudes, Erdoğan’s government never interfered with people’s lifestyles and did not discriminate against them for their political choices. In other words, Erdoğan, his supporters and a considerable portion of people that did not vote for him did not respond in the same way the secular community did.

Yet, the irony is that while Turkish self-labeled modernists complain about polarization, they are the real polarizers. However, if you ask them, they will call themselves victims of polarization.

This is the tale of today’s Turkish society: a group of people insults, discriminates, humiliates and even curses ordinary people but still claim that they suffer from discrimination.

Source: Daily Sabah

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