Their country was a strange amalgam of democratic tendencies combined with the usual admixture (for that region) of military rule and fascism. The Grey Wolves, an ultranationalist group, was feared not only inside Turkey but, outside it, by emigre populations as well. Human rights were slender and imprisonment for a range of dubious crimes a constant worry for Turks who had aspirations for freedom that went further than authorities were willing to go.
I long suspected that the Kurds in Turkey served the same purpose as Muslims in America are made to serve: a convenient target, scapegoats and distractions used by the authorities to maintain a hold over the people that was never far from anyone’s mind – or so it seemed.
But still Turkey seemed to be slightly ahead of the curve in its region – an almost-democratic state with an almost-responsive government, a past master at smoke and mirrors both domestically and internationally.
Turkey’s ties to NATO and the EU community lent it a cachet of progressiveness. Its possession of nuclear weapons gave it credibility among states for whom that kind of muscle means something.
But now its population has tired of living under a regime whose repression has become unbearable, even if less than the repression of a Gaddafi or an al Assad. And the spontaneous uprising of the Turkish people is every bit as much of a sign of the times as Arab Spring proper.
Elsewhere, Vatican officials are resigning. Financial structures are collapsing. Rumors fly that North Korea has tired of posturing militarily. Attempts on the life of Ahmadinejad are reported and cabalists in Israel seem to be under seige.
While many people continue to believe that we face Armageddon or that the cabal is much stronger than it is, all around us we see the people tire of living in chains and one by one the countries face the need to pay attention and reform. Not the faux reform of the Right, hijacking genuine reformist measures but real reform that will see the end of political repression and economic banditry.
The wheels of the gods are grinding ever more rapidly and repression is retreating in the world. Today, I hope, is Turkey’s turn. Tomorrow many more countries’.