A Turkish pro-government writer recently threatened the political opposition in the country and her own neighbors with death on national TV.
On May 3, Sevda Noyan said on Ülke TV that in the event of a coup attempt, her family can kill at least fifty people, including some neighbors. She said she made a list of people to kill.
Referring to the events following the coup attempt on July 15, 2016, when many supporters of Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan took to the streets upon the president’s call to defend the government, Noyan said:
“We couldn’t do what we exactly wanted [on July 15, 2016]. We got caught unprepared.
“Do not get it wrong; get it right,” she continued. “My family alone can take down about fifty people. We are very well equipped materially and spiritually. We stand by our leader; we will never let him be thrown to the wolves in this country. Let them watch their steps. There are 3-5 [neighbors] in my gated community; my list is ready.”
The moderator of the show, Esra Elönü, supported Noyan, saying: “They should watch all their steps.”
Following the coup attempt in 2016, many people were arrested and jailed in Turkey for allegedly “helping stage the coup attempt.”
“Many of those people,” reported the Amnesty International, “are being subjected to beatings and torture, including rape, in official and unofficial detention centers in the country.
“Despite chilling images and videos of torture that have been widely broadcast across the country, the government has so far remained silent on the abuse.”
Targeting your fellow citizens, or even neighbors, is a long-held tradition in Turkey. For instance, during the 1914-1923 Christian genocide that targeted Armenians, Assyrians and Greeks in Ottoman Turkey, it was not just the Ottoman soldiers that attacked Christians.
Christians were also targeted by their own Muslim neighbors, largely in response to the jihad (an Islamic holy war) declared in 1914 in Constantinople – first by the Sultan and then the religious leader Sheikh-ul-Islam – on behalf of the Ottoman government.
“These declarations of jihad,” writes Professor Hannibal Travis, “‘incited wrath toward Christian minorities in the Ottoman lands, and … later facilitated the government’s program of Genocide against the Armenians’—and, as it happened, the Assyrians.
“The evidence is overwhelming that Turks and their Kurdish allies massacred tens, and more likely hundreds, of thousands of Assyrians in order to exterminate the Christian population; raped and enslaved hundreds, and more likely thousands, of Assyrian women in a systematic fashion; and deported the Assyrians en masse from their ancestral lands under conditions that led to famine and widespread death.”
All Christians have suffered the same fate without differentiation to race or denomination, notes Professor Travis.
“Greek men became victims of murder, torture, and starvation; Greek women suffered all this and also became slaves in Muslim households; Greek children wandered the streets as orphans ‘half-naked and begging for bread’; and millions of dollars’ worth of Greek property passed into Muslim hands.”
Turkey still aggressively denies this crime. Those who publicly acknowledge it might be prosecuted and jailed.
Since then, what has remained unchanged in Turkey is wanton violence or threats of violence against religious minorities and dissidents. During the 1934 anti-Jewish pogroms in eastern Thrace, the 1955 anti-Greek pogroms in Istanbul, the 1978 Alevi massacres in Maraş, and many other atrocities, non-Muslims were always at the receiving end of severe abuses.
This author wrote in 2017:
“The Turkish Republic, established in 1923, still has not officially recognized, has not apologized for, or made reparations for any of the crimes or wrongdoings at any time in its history.
“And never once in their history have Turkish people taken to the streets en masse in protest as the non-Muslim citizens of the country were (and still are) exposed to persecution such as pogroms, massacres, or confiscations of their properties. The Turkish state has carried out its annihilationist policies either with the active participation or the silent approval of the vast majority of the public.”
Since the founding of the state ninety-seven years ago, Turkey has allowed only two ideologies to grow in the country: Islam and Turkish nationalism. All other religions, cultures, ideas and philosophies have been violently oppressed.
And the state-sanctioned Islamic and Turkist ideologies have created a widespread culture of intolerance and violence.
In order to better understand this culture, one needs to analyze Islam’s view on the kafir, or the “unbeliever.”
Dr. Bill Warner, the founding President of the Center for the Study of Political Islam International (CSPII), explains:
“The language of Islam is dualistic. There is a division of humanity into believer and kafir (unbeliever). Humanity is divided into those who believe Mohammed is the prophet of Allah and those who do not.
“A Muslim is never the true friend of a Kafir. Kafirs can be enslaved, raped, beheaded, plotted against, terrorized, and humiliated. A Kafir is not a full human.
“When you read the complete Islamic doctrine of Koran, Sira (the biography of Mohammed), and the Hadith (the traditions of Mohammed), you will find that Islam is fixated on the Kafir. Over half of the Koran is about the Kafir, not Muslims. It is the stated purpose of the Islamic textual doctrine to annihilate every Kafir by conversion, subjugation or death. Jihad can be waged against the Kafir.”
For decades, the initial target of many Muslims in Turkey was Christians, Jews, Yazidis and other non-Muslims.
Now that there are almost no Christians or Jews left in the country, many Turks are largely targeting their fellow Muslims for having differing political opinions.
And while writers and TV presenters proudly declare on national TV that they are looking forward to killing their own neighbors, many innocent, peace-loving journalists are lingering in jails. This appears to be one of the greatest shames of Turkey.
Uzay Bulut is a Turkish journalist and political analyst formerly based in Ankara.
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