The Western euphemism for Turkey’s supposedly mild, “post-modern” Islamists, who came to power in 2002, was problematic from the beginning. The past five years has seen the Turkish “post-modern” Islamist’s sad funeral — sad because they, in reality, never lived in this universe. They were the brainchild of the optimists sipping their coffee at a Washington café, or a London pub or a Berlin beer house. Now there is just the official funeral service with an empty coffin: there was, in fact, no such a thing as “post-modern” Islamism.
Political Islam, when it wins popular support, tends to adopt direction of the majority rather than the pluralistic route [see Turkey and Egypt]; and when mixed with cultural and religious nationalism in the Orient, it often adopts not just the direction of the majority but also a few militant turns [see Hamas].
It was not even considered shocking when the Turkish man who shot at the journalist Can Dundar outside a courthouse said in his testimony, “I was deeply annoyed by his [Dundar’s] news reporting … I knew he had been to Britain for a while… I thought he was a British spy… I planned this [shooting] in order to teach him a lesson.”
Why did the man think that a Turkish journalist, declared an undesirable by the country’s president, was a British spy? Was it actually because Dundar had been to Britain, like thousands of other Turks do every year? Hardly. It was because the president of the country had loudly labelled him a spy, a traitor, a terrorist — even without a court verdict. Dundar was eventually acquitted of the charges.