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Turkey’s Self-Orientalists vs. Orientalists

Some terms are like souls that never die. Orientalism, best explaining the contempt of the West towards the East, is one of them. In the same vein, self-Orientalism is also an immortal term that was given birth by some Eastern people through an immoral relationship with the West. Needless to say, there is a collaboration between Orientalists and self-Orientalists against Eastern people. Orientalism (father) and self-Orientalism (son) still shapes the relations between the West and the East even today.

The reverberation of such alliance can be seen in any area but as a journalist I can depict it quite well in the media. For example, look at Western media’s attitude towards Turkey. There is almost no single day when prominent TVs and newspapers forget demonizing Turkey. They do it via either news reports or op-eds written by Turkish self-Orientalists. If you make a retro-scan of newspapers like The Guardian, New York Times, Washington Post, Bild, etc., you can see how they are used as the hub of self-proclaimed Turkish intellectuals such as Elif Shafak, Ece Temelkuran, Aslı Aydıntaşbaş, Umut Özkırımlı, Can Dündar, and so on.

The common point for all of them is they are all secular, leftist and have an anti-Western past. However, like their comrades, they became pro-West after becoming wealthy. Yet, they still keep their leftist identity despite living like a capitalist. Regarding topics they write, all complain about Turkey’s eroding democracy and abuse of human rights. None is happy with Erdogan government, thus enjoy insulting him through columns hired them freely by Western media. By the way, note that aforementioned media outlets rarely or never publish pro-Erdogan or unbiased articles as I and some of my friends tested them by sending articles.

I acknowledge that all papers are free to determine their content. They may be even biased, which I do not object. However, they can not claim to be neutral while continuously insulting leaders and countries they hate. If statistics are mirrors of the facts, for sure, NYT, WP, Guardian and other papers are just mouthpieces of the orientalist ideology. On the other hand, granting space to self-Orientalists is a sign that they maintain their cause through non-Western authors. I am sure that Turkish anti-Turkey analysts are happy with such useful idiotism as they think their articles will enable them to find a room among Western people.  They are free to do that but they can not sacrifice their country for their evil careers.

When we look at their arguments, we see that they are mainly wrong, misleading, misinforming, aim to appease Western audience and smear Turkey. For instance, they claim that Turkey is hardly a democratic country, and they try to justify it by underlining Erdogan’s authoritarian policies or fraud in elections. President Erdogan came to power and hold it with free elections. If Turkey was not a democratic country, there would be no elections. If they think elections are unfair, Erdogan would not lose local elections held this year. In addition, they also cry for the failure of Gezi protests. It is true that those taking streets did not want Erdogan but those did not protest, the majority, sided with him. If people were against Erdogan, they would definitely not vote for him in the following elections but Erdogan won that elections, too.

In addition, they complain about jailed people and journalists after the failed coup of July 15. However, they omit culprits’ crime; attempting to overthrow an elected President and government. Moreover, despite that they pretend to support democracy, we all know that the coup attempt was very welcomed by them. Thus, Turkey’s self-Orientalists want democracy only if a secular leader and party take power. Perhaps, the West might not know but Turkey’s seculars do not like democracy as they are minority in society. They can not bear is to be ruled by people, whom they assume as unenlightened, pious, dirty, backward and obstructionist. Yet, Erdogan’s era probably put an end to the “old Turkey”. If my prediction is correct, they will continue to vomit their hatred via their columns.

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About the author

İbrahim Karataş

İbrahim Karataş

İbrahim Karataş is a columnist at Yeni Akit, a daily newspaper based in Istanbul.

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