Jan 04,2017 – JORDAN TIMES – Michael Jansen]
The Daesh-claimed attack on the upmarket nightclub in Istanbul must be counted as a “blowback” to policies adopted by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Having been ready to use takfiris as tools to advance his policies, his government is now regarded as “apostate” and an enemy of the takfiri cause.
At domestic level, Ergodan’s Justice and Development Party (AKP) the Turkish equivalent of the Muslim Brotherhood, has promoted the rise of conservative fundamentalists throughout the country.
Friday mosque sermons have castigated secularism and the adoption of Westernised behaviour and Western holidays like Christmas and New Year.
A sermon promulgated by the government’s Directorate of Religious Affairs castigated New Year’s celebrations as alien to Turkey, belonging to “other cultures and other worlds”, and urged the faithful not to take part in ceremonies that “don’t reflect our values”.
Encouraged by this official anti-foreign attitude, Daesh threatened to strike at such celebrations ahead of New Year’s eve.
An attack on the high-profile Reina nightclub should have been anticipated and security tightened.
One young policeman at the door was hardly a deterrent or protection.
Turkey was established by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk nearly a century ago as a laic or strongly secular state, modelled on France.
Erdogan’s drive to transform Turkey into a conservative Muslim polity, referencing the Ottoman Empire, has appealed to devout Turks who never liked secularism and voted for the AKP.
This policy has, however, involved granting hospitality to radical Daesh takfiris who were allowed to establish not-so-covert cells in Turkey’s cities, towns and villages and who seek to impose their ideology, social mores and cultural norms on the country.
Turkey is hardly an exception.
Radicals have risen in similar fashion in other countries where religion has been politicised.
Indian politicians have exploited Hindusim, Burmese hardcore Buddhism, and Latin American countries Catholicism. (Assaults on young women attending New Year street parties in Bangalore, India’s IT capital, were excused by a state minister by saying the women were to blame because they were behaving “like Westerners”. Hindu fanatics are particularly opposed to sweethearts exchanging greetings on St Valentine’s day.)
At domestic level, Ergodan has also used anti-Kurdish feeling and Turkish nationalism to maintain his party’s hold on parliament, although he pledged to put an end to Turkish-Kurdish ethnic strife when he became prime minister in 2003.